What are the 12 Ivy League schools that many dream to attend? What makes them so prestigious, and how do you know whether it’s worth pursuing an Ivy League education despite their selective acceptance rates?
In this article, we’ll go over the list of Ivy League schools (both the original eight schools and the ones commonly mistaken for Ivy Leagues), and lay out the important considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right school for you.
What Is An Ivy League School?
The Ivy League schools are the eight selective private institutions in the Northeast that make up the Ivy League Athletic Conference. Over time, the term “Ivy League” became synonymous with prestigious colleges.
Though there are many prestigious colleges across the United States which are mistaken for Ivy League schools, the eight original schools which make up the Ivy Leagues are: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.
The 8 Ivy League Schools
1. Brown University
Brown University is a research university located in Providence, Rhode Island and is known for its rigorous and flexible open curriculum which allows students to choose a personalized course of study. The institution is very selective, with only an 8% acceptance rate, and the average student has a 1440-1520 SAT score or 32-35 ACT score.
2. Columbia University
Columbia University is located in New York City. According to Niche’s 2020 Best Colleges, Columbia University ranked #1 in the Best Colleges for Philosophy in America, #2 in Best Colleges for English in America, and #2 in Best Colleges for Performing Arts in America. The institution offers hundreds of areas of study and more than 200 research centers and institutes. Columbia is even more selective than Brown University, with a 6% acceptance rate and average students have a 1450-1560 SAT range, or a 33-35 ACT range.
3. Cornell University
Cornell University is located in Ithaca, New York, and has a large enrollment of over 15,000 undergraduate students. Its popular majors include biology, business, and computer science. According to Niche’s 2020 Best Colleges, it ranked #1 in Best Colleges for Agricultural Sciences in America, and #3 in Best Colleges for Architecture in America. Cornell University has an 11% acceptance rate, with the average student ranging in SAT scores between 1390-1540 and 32-34 in ACT scores.
4. Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is located in Hanover, New Hampshire, and is rated the #1 school in New Hampshire. It is a fairly small school considered to some other Ivy League schools, with a little over 4,000 undergrad students. With a 9% acceptance rate, Dartmouth is quite selective, and accepts students within the range of 1420 to 1560 SAT grades and 31-35 ACT grades.
5. Harvard University
Harvard University is probably the most well-known Ivy League school. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is a medium-sized school with around 7,000 undergrad enrollments. Harvard is also a very competitive school as the acceptance rate is only 5%. Accepted students’ SAT grades typically range from 1460 to 1580, and their ACT grades range between 33 and 35. Harvard is rated #1 for biology studies and political science studies according to Niche’s 2020 Best Colleges.
6. Princeton University
Princeton University is located in Princeton, New Jersey. The institution was founded in 1746, making it the fourth oldest university in the United States. It is a medium-sized institution with around 5,000 undergraduate enrollments, and like Harvard, has an extremely competitive acceptance rate of only 5%. Some of its most popular degrees include computer engineering, public policy analysis, and economics. It is rated #2 of the best colleges in America to study political science and public policy analysis. SAT grades range from 1440 to 1570 and ACT grades range between 32 and 35.
7. University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania, also known as “Penn,” is located in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. It is quite a large school, with an average of 10,000 undergrad enrollments, and competitive with an 8% acceptance rate. Popular degrees at Penn include nursing, economics, and finance, and it is rated the #1 college in America for business. The average SAT range is 1420-1550, and the ACT range is 32-35.
8. Yale University
Yale University is a research and liberal arts college located in New Haven, Connecticut. It is rated #1 out of colleges with best professors in America, and #1 for best colleges to study history. It has a highly competitive acceptance rate of only 6%, and accepts students with an average of 1460-1570 SAT range and 33-35 ACT range.
4 More Universities To Pay Attention To
There are many prestigious and selective schools which are mistaken for Ivy Leagues. This is due to their high reputation, selective acceptance rates, and sometimes, their location near the Ivy Leagues in the Northeast.
Here are four more prestigious schools that are commonly mistaken for Ivy Leagues.
1. Stanford University
Stanford is probably the most commonly mistaken for one of the Ivy League institutions. According to the U.S. News National Rankings, it ties #6 with Penn. Its renown may stem from its highly competitive acceptance rate of only 4%.
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is a prestigious and selective school with an acceptance rate of 7%. It is ranked #3 in the U.S. News National Rankings, right alongside Yale and Columbia.
3. Northwestern University
Northwestern is commonly mistaken for an Ivy League school due to its high rankings and selective acceptance. It is ranked #9 in the U.S. News National Rankings, and has an acceptance rate of only 8%.
4. University of Chicago
University of Chicago ranks #6 right alongside Stanford and Penn. It’s acceptance rate is only 7%, putting it in the same playing field with many of the Ivy Leagues.
Is An Ivy League School Right For You?
Because the acceptance rates of Ivy League schools are extremely low, you will need a lot of dedication and foresight in order to get in. In the case of Ivy League schools, academic resumes may not be enough to make the cut.
This means that if getting into one of the Ivy League schools is a priority or goal for you, you will need to begin many years in advance to work toward that goal. This may include attending AP classes in high school, working very hard for a specific SAT grade, and sacrificing social time.
It’s important to remember that a successful career can be achieved with hard work no matter which college you attend, and Ivy League schools take a lot of work and dedication in order to be accepted.
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4 Ways To Decide Which School Is Right For You
If you do decide that one of the Ivy Leagues is right for you, the next step is deciding which institution best matches your needs and goals.
1. Location Of The School
The first thing to consider when choosing between Ivy League schools (or really any school), is the school’s location. Consider whether you want to go to school in an urban, rural, or suburban setting.
If you’re looking for a rural setting, surrounded by nature and a small tight-knit college community, Dartmouth and Cornell may be good choices for you. Meanwhile, if you need the hustle and bustle of cities and many job opportunities, Columbia or Penn may be a better choice for you. Brown, Harvard, and Yale are located in smaller cities, so they may be good choices for those who like a quieter city life.
Lastly, Princeton is the only school which is located in a suburban area, for those who want a more self-contained and quiet college experience, but the option to drive an hour and be in New York City or Philadelphia.
2. Academic Programs And Majors
Each Ivy League school offers unique degrees and programs, as well as different academic requirements.
For example, if you’re interested in business management with a focus on hospitality, Cornell offers a program just for you. Different schools have strengths in different topics and majors, so be sure to check that the school you have your eye on is right for your interests and academic or career goals.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some schools require an extensive core curriculum while others are more lax on their general education requirements. Though this may not be a deal-breaker for some, it is worth checking the requirements for each school so that you know what you are committing yourself to.
3. Size Of The School
Similar to location, the size of the school may be an important factor to consider. If you’re the kind of person who is looking for a vibrant and busy college atmosphere, it will make sense to look at the bigger institutions. On the other hand, if you’d prefer a smaller-knit community and less distractions, a smaller institution would fit your needs.
4. Culture On Campus
Last but not least, each school and campus has a different culture and attracts different kinds of students. The best way to determine if you’ll mesh well with the campus culture is to visit the campus, meet students, and look around. Alternatively, you can check school forums and reviews to see what the alumni have to say about their school and campus experience.
To wrap up, the list of Ivy League schools will hopefully give you a good overview of the different institutions, their highlights, and their competitive nature.
The competitive nature of Ivy Leagues will be a big consideration when deciding whether an Ivy League school is right for you.
Lastly, when choosing between the Ivy League schools, it’s important to take your own needs and academic goals into consideration.