IvyMaven LLC

Pittsburgh, PA

Overview

With individualized support and guidance, the college admissions process can be a manageable, even exciting journey. My purpose is to streamline this process, to make it more directed, to give realistic feedback, and to encourage you to identify and pursue your college dreams.

The college planning process involves searching yourself for your essence. It also requires pinpointing the particular colleges whose culture, resources and mission fit you best in the ways you value most. Then you must persuasively present who you are and what you have to offer those institutions. I can assist you in designing a portrait of yourself to capture your growing identity--your gifts and influences, strong-suits and passions, values and aspirations--the unique package that is you--all conveyed with savvy, but in your natural voice.

Iview college admissions as a task that lies at the core of a self-discovery process for the student and a transition for the family. Let me guide you and your family through any or all steps along the way.

9 Participant Reviews

Write a Review
A Life Changer -- let us all praise Helane Linzer and Ivy Maven

A Life Changer -- let us all praise Helane Linzer and Ivy Maven

5
Reviewed on 1/10/2018 by

A few years back, I wrote a movie script for a studio about a father and his offspring looking at colleges and in researching the subject matter, got a peak at the madness of this process. I thought that might help me deal with this easier in real life when it was my daughter's turn. But frankly, the process has gotten even more insane, and the stress-level in our house was threatening to do us all in. We had visited so many schools over the years, thinking we were ahead of the game as we had gone to NYU, Vassar, Princeton, Swarthmore, Duke, Yale, Sarah Lawrence, Harvard, Barnard, and Stanford over the years. Looking back, it was a little like rounding up the usual suspects (where were the so-called safety schools?) and frankly, our daughter was not "in love" with any of them. She thought she wanted to go to a big school in the city, but was not sure. And despite her good grades and extra-curriculars, she was skeptical about getting in anywhere. Besides, she had done her extra curricular activities to be a good person and because she was interested, not to pander to any college. It was us who began to pander and prod and drive our daughter crazy. My wife and I just couldn't seem to get out of our daughter's way, and the pressure about where she should or should not go, grades and scores and extra-curriculars, had turned us from the "we're cool" parents to the hovercraft people we had always made fun of. Just as all our nerves were about to break, I googled Ivy Maven. It was a total shot in the dark-- though I would later found out friends had used the amazing Helane Linzer. We literally had our daughter go meet Helane before we did-- figuring this really should be our daughter's decision. So what if it might determine her life's course and the decision would cost more than the average American home. And that I could not even decide what to wear when I was 17, much less what school to go to. So, our daughter comes back, visibly relieved. She had always loved psychology and perhaps it was that Helane had that as part of her background that helped. We tried not to pry too much, but our daughter eventually described sitting on the floor with some cards and Helane and talking about what she loved and what she was passionate about and also what she was afraid of. My daughter knew she wanted a liberal arts education, and though she had had some success as a performer in high school, wanted to have a sold degree to be able to go to graduate school as a psychologist or a psychiatrist-- fully aware that any of this could change. After another session with Helane, our daughter confidently told us she was thinking of taking a gap year to pursue acting in New York, but going to apply to a couple of colleges early decision which Helane had recommended would be a good fit. She applied to Wesleyan and Bard. (It was the year of "Hamilton" and Wesleyan was the only college tour which didn't let parents go with their child.) Frankly, the only thing I knew about Bard was that Steely Dan song "My Old School" with the chorus, "I'm never going back to my old school." Helane masterfully guided our daughter through the application process, giving her great feedback on her essays, recommendations, and how to present herself. Helane was also realistic about how competitive and unpredictable the process can be. Our heart sank a bit when our didn't get in ED to Wesleyan. Rejection is hard and we were looking into other options when an admission came into Bard. Frankly, the Bard application was more under the radar from us, and Helane had literally worked with our daughter until the last moment on getting that submitted on time. We didn't even know much about the school and so when the admission letter came, we started reading the Bard website, and soon realized what a wonderful fit it was-- learning for learning's sake. Students spend weeks before school starts reading and thinking. It was small school with a great teacher/student ratio, and students their sophomore year had to defend their majors to faculty instead of blindly choosing one. Helane knew our daughter better than we did in some ways. We eventually did get up to Bard on an afternoon where it was pouring rain. We tried to give our daughter her space. She seemed to really like the kids and the stories of how even registering for classes was more human there as you had to go to the professor's offices to sign up, and it was done in "hunger games" style, the student tour guide with a faint grin. On the tour was a psychology major who was taking along with her younger sister who was considering going. She talked to my daughter honestly about the pros and cons of the school and her senior thesis which our daughter really appreciated. . We went to a classroom and talked with the student guide around a table with the other parents and she took us through what her classes were like and how the teachers challenged the students in a good way. By the end of the day, it felt like a place our daughter wanted to be. It wasn't a big school or in a big city like she first envisioned-- but it was a 2 hour train ride to NYC and she liked the feel of it for many of the reasons she and Helane had talked about. Our daughter is now in the middle of her gap year, which she did in part, buoyed by her sessions with Helane. And as she predicted, Bard was very accommodating about that. Our daughter is living in NYC, taking some classes, and was recently cast in a musical workshop with a bunch of alum from NYU and Wesleyan. She is also volunteering for a hospital and looking forward to going to Bard in the Fall which will be all the more appreciated we hope from having had some real world experience she was looking for. So thank you, Helane. I have only hesitated posting this because I didn't want to jinx anything. But we so appreciate you making one of the most difficult decisions for a family manageable, and putting the joy back into it. You work wonders, and we would unabashedly recommend you to anyone going through this decision making process. Helane knows her stuff and uses her psychology background to provide guidance far beyond what others might offer. And these days, we think that is so worthwhile and important. We couldn't recommend Helane more strongly.

PhD knows how to work with bright teens on admissions

PhD knows how to work with bright teens on admissions

5
Reviewed on 5/20/2017 by

Helene Linzer has a vast, up to date knowledge of colleges and universities. She combines that with a professional understanding of young people and real and personal drive to help them succeed. Finally, she knows the admissions game and guides you through it in a detailed and ethical way. Great resource - highest recommendation.

Though the name "IvyMaven" sounds ...

Though the name "IvyMaven" sounds ...

5
Reviewed on 5/16/2017 by

Though the name "IvyMaven" sounds a bit intimidating, Helane's practice encompasses so much more than those eight schools. If that is your interest, she certainly knows the elite admissions process in and out. But she is primarily interested in matching clients with their "fit." And she is very very good at it. I knew absolutely nothing about what I wanted when we started. Helene made the search process a lot easier. After I knew what I wanted, she helped me craft an excellent application that was successful beyond my expectations. I ended up with excellent choices at the end of the admissions process and I am very pleased with my final decision. I could not recommend her services enough!

Helane provides a stress-free environment ...

Helane provides a stress-free environment ...

5
Reviewed on 5/1/2017 by

Helane provides a stress-free environment for students to think and make decisions during what can be an extremely stressful time during their life. Not only did she consider my aspirations and concerns as the applicant, but she sought out answers to my questions and made me feel comfortable knowing everyone goes through this process and comes out happily on the other side. Working with your parents during the college search/application process can be frustrating. Therefore, I strongly suggest you do your child a favor and connect them with someone that knows the process and will be as helpful as well as Helane is.

College Admissions Help in the Way You Need

College Admissions Help in the Way You Need

5
Reviewed on 4/16/2017 by

If you have the time and resources for this, IvyMaven is a great service to take advantage of. Helane really knows what she is talking about and she takes the time and makes sure she is up to date on all the information. She also takes the time to get to know you as a student and as a person. She will make sure the essays you are writing are the best for you and the school you are applying to. Overall she and IvyMaven in general are a great resource to use to apply and get into the college you want to.

Insightful Counseling, Highly Experienced with Great Track Record

Insightful Counseling, Highly Experienced with Great Track Record

5
Reviewed on 4/16/2017 by

Having 2 children benefit from Helane's counseling has been a true blessing to our family. Helane took away the stress of making sure that our kids were doing everything to optimize their college application while providing sound advice from her years of experience in the field. Helane was incredibly knowledgeable of the standards, requirements and unique traits of a tremendous breadth of colleges from the Ivy's to small private colleges in California. Given her prior professional background, Helane was able to quickly assess our children's strengths and personalities. Due to her guidance, both of our children were very successful in their college applications with my son attending his ED top choice. He will graduate having spent 4 years at the perfect school for him while my daughter is thriving and enjoying her generous scholarship at her top choice as well. Helane's recommendation and advice were very personal and specific to our children and not generic in nature. Rather than directing our children, she helped lead them to make a well informed decision on where to apply and eventually attend. We are so fortunate to have found Helane, and we are grateful for her guidance and support through this exciting and somewhat stressful time.

Great College Information & Rapport With Students!

Great College Information & Rapport With Students!

5
Reviewed on 4/10/2017 by

We did an initial consult with Helane for our daughter who was considering art school. We were having trouble getting our daughter to listen to us about college selection and costs. Helane took the time to get to know our daughter and gave her a lot of really good things to consider and think about. Sometimes, it takes a 3rd party to get the communication rolling! Helane is very knowledgeable and professional in what she does. Even though she doesn't specialize in art schools, she had contacts with whom she spoke to give our daughter direction. I feel like Helane really got our daughter thinking about a lot of things that she hadn't previously considered. It was a great experience that helped to move our daughter forward in a process that can often be very overwhelming. I definitely recommend Ivy Maven!

The Best Knowledge and the Most Intuitive Advice!!!

The Best Knowledge and the Most Intuitive Advice!!!

5
Reviewed on 4/4/2017 by

We had the pleasure of working with Ivy Maven the past 3 years for our daughter. Helane is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met on College admissions. She knows how to engage your child and find out what is the best for him or her. She knows what is required for essays and the common app. However, more importantly she is a so knowledgeable about the colleges and learns to know your child so well, that she is an expert on the right fit. She has so much helpful advice. She also engages your child to take control of the process. We could not have been more pleased with Ivy Maven. I would recommend her to anyone looking for the Best advice for your child.

The Best College Advice!!

The Best College Advice!!

5
Reviewed on 4/1/2017 by

We worked with Ivy Mavens for each of our three kids. Helane provide phenomenal advice -- honest and spot-on -- in terms of identifying schools that would be good fits for our kids and their likelihood of getting in, and in writing essays. Helane knows the applications inside and out -- what the colleges are really asking in the essays, and what a proper tone is, for example, on the main Common App essay. Subtleties matter, and Helane understands the nuances that are so critical to drafting a solid application. We are so fortunate that Helane worked with each of our kids. She is second to none!

9 Participant Reviews

Write a Review
A Life Changer -- let us all praise Helane Linzer and Ivy Maven

A Life Changer -- let us all praise Helane Linzer and Ivy Maven

5
Reviewed on 1/10/2018 by

A few years back, I wrote a movie script for a studio about a father and his offspring looking at colleges and in researching the subject matter, got a peak at the madness of this process. I thought that might help me deal with this easier in real life when it was my daughter's turn. But frankly, the process has gotten even more insane, and the stress-level in our house was threatening to do us all in. We had visited so many schools over the years, thinking we were ahead of the game as we had gone to NYU, Vassar, Princeton, Swarthmore, Duke, Yale, Sarah Lawrence, Harvard, Barnard, and Stanford over the years. Looking back, it was a little like rounding up the usual suspects (where were the so-called safety schools?) and frankly, our daughter was not "in love" with any of them. She thought she wanted to go to a big school in the city, but was not sure. And despite her good grades and extra-curriculars, she was skeptical about getting in anywhere. Besides, she had done her extra curricular activities to be a good person and because she was interested, not to pander to any college. It was us who began to pander and prod and drive our daughter crazy. My wife and I just couldn't seem to get out of our daughter's way, and the pressure about where she should or should not go, grades and scores and extra-curriculars, had turned us from the "we're cool" parents to the hovercraft people we had always made fun of. Just as all our nerves were about to break, I googled Ivy Maven. It was a total shot in the dark-- though I would later found out friends had used the amazing Helane Linzer. We literally had our daughter go meet Helane before we did-- figuring this really should be our daughter's decision. So what if it might determine her life's course and the decision would cost more than the average American home. And that I could not even decide what to wear when I was 17, much less what school to go to. So, our daughter comes back, visibly relieved. She had always loved psychology and perhaps it was that Helane had that as part of her background that helped. We tried not to pry too much, but our daughter eventually described sitting on the floor with some cards and Helane and talking about what she loved and what she was passionate about and also what she was afraid of. My daughter knew she wanted a liberal arts education, and though she had had some success as a performer in high school, wanted to have a sold degree to be able to go to graduate school as a psychologist or a psychiatrist-- fully aware that any of this could change. After another session with Helane, our daughter confidently told us she was thinking of taking a gap year to pursue acting in New York, but going to apply to a couple of colleges early decision which Helane had recommended would be a good fit. She applied to Wesleyan and Bard. (It was the year of "Hamilton" and Wesleyan was the only college tour which didn't let parents go with their child.) Frankly, the only thing I knew about Bard was that Steely Dan song "My Old School" with the chorus, "I'm never going back to my old school." Helane masterfully guided our daughter through the application process, giving her great feedback on her essays, recommendations, and how to present herself. Helane was also realistic about how competitive and unpredictable the process can be. Our heart sank a bit when our didn't get in ED to Wesleyan. Rejection is hard and we were looking into other options when an admission came into Bard. Frankly, the Bard application was more under the radar from us, and Helane had literally worked with our daughter until the last moment on getting that submitted on time. We didn't even know much about the school and so when the admission letter came, we started reading the Bard website, and soon realized what a wonderful fit it was-- learning for learning's sake. Students spend weeks before school starts reading and thinking. It was small school with a great teacher/student ratio, and students their sophomore year had to defend their majors to faculty instead of blindly choosing one. Helane knew our daughter better than we did in some ways. We eventually did get up to Bard on an afternoon where it was pouring rain. We tried to give our daughter her space. She seemed to really like the kids and the stories of how even registering for classes was more human there as you had to go to the professor's offices to sign up, and it was done in "hunger games" style, the student tour guide with a faint grin. On the tour was a psychology major who was taking along with her younger sister who was considering going. She talked to my daughter honestly about the pros and cons of the school and her senior thesis which our daughter really appreciated. . We went to a classroom and talked with the student guide around a table with the other parents and she took us through what her classes were like and how the teachers challenged the students in a good way. By the end of the day, it felt like a place our daughter wanted to be. It wasn't a big school or in a big city like she first envisioned-- but it was a 2 hour train ride to NYC and she liked the feel of it for many of the reasons she and Helane had talked about. Our daughter is now in the middle of her gap year, which she did in part, buoyed by her sessions with Helane. And as she predicted, Bard was very accommodating about that. Our daughter is living in NYC, taking some classes, and was recently cast in a musical workshop with a bunch of alum from NYU and Wesleyan. She is also volunteering for a hospital and looking forward to going to Bard in the Fall which will be all the more appreciated we hope from having had some real world experience she was looking for. So thank you, Helane. I have only hesitated posting this because I didn't want to jinx anything. But we so appreciate you making one of the most difficult decisions for a family manageable, and putting the joy back into it. You work wonders, and we would unabashedly recommend you to anyone going through this decision making process. Helane knows her stuff and uses her psychology background to provide guidance far beyond what others might offer. And these days, we think that is so worthwhile and important. We couldn't recommend Helane more strongly.

PhD knows how to work with bright teens on admissions

PhD knows how to work with bright teens on admissions

5
Reviewed on 5/20/2017 by

Helene Linzer has a vast, up to date knowledge of colleges and universities. She combines that with a professional understanding of young people and real and personal drive to help them succeed. Finally, she knows the admissions game and guides you through it in a detailed and ethical way. Great resource - highest recommendation.

Though the name "IvyMaven" sounds ...

Though the name "IvyMaven" sounds ...

5
Reviewed on 5/16/2017 by

Though the name "IvyMaven" sounds a bit intimidating, Helane's practice encompasses so much more than those eight schools. If that is your interest, she certainly knows the elite admissions process in and out. But she is primarily interested in matching clients with their "fit." And she is very very good at it. I knew absolutely nothing about what I wanted when we started. Helene made the search process a lot easier. After I knew what I wanted, she helped me craft an excellent application that was successful beyond my expectations. I ended up with excellent choices at the end of the admissions process and I am very pleased with my final decision. I could not recommend her services enough!

Helane provides a stress-free environment ...

Helane provides a stress-free environment ...

5
Reviewed on 5/1/2017 by

Helane provides a stress-free environment for students to think and make decisions during what can be an extremely stressful time during their life. Not only did she consider my aspirations and concerns as the applicant, but she sought out answers to my questions and made me feel comfortable knowing everyone goes through this process and comes out happily on the other side. Working with your parents during the college search/application process can be frustrating. Therefore, I strongly suggest you do your child a favor and connect them with someone that knows the process and will be as helpful as well as Helane is.

College Admissions Help in the Way You Need

College Admissions Help in the Way You Need

5
Reviewed on 4/16/2017 by

If you have the time and resources for this, IvyMaven is a great service to take advantage of. Helane really knows what she is talking about and she takes the time and makes sure she is up to date on all the information. She also takes the time to get to know you as a student and as a person. She will make sure the essays you are writing are the best for you and the school you are applying to. Overall she and IvyMaven in general are a great resource to use to apply and get into the college you want to.

Insightful Counseling, Highly Experienced with Great Track Record

Insightful Counseling, Highly Experienced with Great Track Record

5
Reviewed on 4/16/2017 by

Having 2 children benefit from Helane's counseling has been a true blessing to our family. Helane took away the stress of making sure that our kids were doing everything to optimize their college application while providing sound advice from her years of experience in the field. Helane was incredibly knowledgeable of the standards, requirements and unique traits of a tremendous breadth of colleges from the Ivy's to small private colleges in California. Given her prior professional background, Helane was able to quickly assess our children's strengths and personalities. Due to her guidance, both of our children were very successful in their college applications with my son attending his ED top choice. He will graduate having spent 4 years at the perfect school for him while my daughter is thriving and enjoying her generous scholarship at her top choice as well. Helane's recommendation and advice were very personal and specific to our children and not generic in nature. Rather than directing our children, she helped lead them to make a well informed decision on where to apply and eventually attend. We are so fortunate to have found Helane, and we are grateful for her guidance and support through this exciting and somewhat stressful time.

Great College Information & Rapport With Students!

Great College Information & Rapport With Students!

5
Reviewed on 4/10/2017 by

We did an initial consult with Helane for our daughter who was considering art school. We were having trouble getting our daughter to listen to us about college selection and costs. Helane took the time to get to know our daughter and gave her a lot of really good things to consider and think about. Sometimes, it takes a 3rd party to get the communication rolling! Helane is very knowledgeable and professional in what she does. Even though she doesn't specialize in art schools, she had contacts with whom she spoke to give our daughter direction. I feel like Helane really got our daughter thinking about a lot of things that she hadn't previously considered. It was a great experience that helped to move our daughter forward in a process that can often be very overwhelming. I definitely recommend Ivy Maven!

The Best Knowledge and the Most Intuitive Advice!!!

The Best Knowledge and the Most Intuitive Advice!!!

5
Reviewed on 4/4/2017 by

We had the pleasure of working with Ivy Maven the past 3 years for our daughter. Helane is one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met on College admissions. She knows how to engage your child and find out what is the best for him or her. She knows what is required for essays and the common app. However, more importantly she is a so knowledgeable about the colleges and learns to know your child so well, that she is an expert on the right fit. She has so much helpful advice. She also engages your child to take control of the process. We could not have been more pleased with Ivy Maven. I would recommend her to anyone looking for the Best advice for your child.

The Best College Advice!!

The Best College Advice!!

5
Reviewed on 4/1/2017 by

We worked with Ivy Mavens for each of our three kids. Helane provide phenomenal advice -- honest and spot-on -- in terms of identifying schools that would be good fits for our kids and their likelihood of getting in, and in writing essays. Helane knows the applications inside and out -- what the colleges are really asking in the essays, and what a proper tone is, for example, on the main Common App essay. Subtleties matter, and Helane understands the nuances that are so critical to drafting a solid application. We are so fortunate that Helane worked with each of our kids. She is second to none!

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