T. Sis (Student) – Stanford, Class of 2026

Growing up surrounded by smart STEM kids I was always a bit down on myself. IvyZen was the first academy I went to that made me feel like I was smart enough. I admit I’m very stubborn too, but I always appreciated their patience with me and how they explained why all the extracurriculars I had to do was so important.


Working w/ Kevin Ham on my AMC was so hard, but when I finally got USAMO qualification I finally felt a bit of validation in my abilities. But Mark told me that it was because of my hard work and conscientiousness rather than talent. That gave me a lot of motivation and I needed that to get all the other activities, such as research, clubs and the college essays. I’ve never written so many pages about myself in my life! It was an interesting experience. When I thought we were done with an essay, Dave would tell me to take a break and then we would write another essay on a slightly different topic. After 4 months of brainstorming and writing about all the stuff I had done with IvyZen, we had some really nice drafts and I started to feel some confidence about college acceptances.


When I got rejected at my first choice, MIT, early app, I was really shaken. Mark reassured me and told me not to worry. And he was right, I was accepted to Stanford and Princeton and chose to go to Stanford. Thank you IvyZen!