So, you say you want to go to an ivy league college? Well, you're going to need great grades. Heck, you might need perfect grades unless you have a good excuse like advanced placement (AP) and honors courses as well as a full list of extra-curricular activities.
Some good ideas are habitat for humanity, church and religious community organizations, and other groups with a charitable focus. Not only does working with and leading within these groups provide some functional real-world experience, it shows that the student (applicant) is interested in doing good for the society. Its not like that is a requirement, but it definitely helps!
How can I afford it? College Tuition is Expensive
Many Ivy league schools have significant scholarship funds set up for bright and ambitious students. Harvard and Yale recently updated their financial aid systems to be more generous to lower-income students. Unless your parents can afford the ivy league to begin with, you'll probably find a lot of tuition assistance from these schools. That is, if you can get in!
What are the most important ivy league admission factors?
Well, all of them! No two students have the same exact application and the top variables can change. Maybe MIT is more focused on academic scores in math and science classes, and Yale is probably more interested in seeing how you've gotten experience leading people and organizing projects.
Work on your weaknesses and take your strengths to the next level.