What you need to know about Ivy League Universities

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What you need to know about Ivy League Universities

During the seemingly never ending process of comparing universities and search for those offering the highest quality education; you are destined to come across the sought after Ivy League schools. Ivy League schools have become a perpetual cause of ambition and interest for many years among school graduates from all over the world who aim to earn a degree from the most prestigious schools and to study in the United Schools.

We all know that the Ivy league consists of eight different universities located in the Northeastern with an extremely selective and competitive admission process, but what else must you know before considering an Ivy league education?

Why do they call it an Ivy league school?

Nowadays, when we come across the words “Ivy League” we automatically associate it with high academic achievements and reputation but back in the 1930s when the term Ivy League was first coined, this was not its only founding ground. The common ground between these eight schools came into being when a sportswriter named Stanley Woodward referred to the athletic triumphs accomplished by the eight universities and their common athletic programs, in comparison to other universities, as the “Ivy League”.

The term then gained popularity among many and was quickly catching on among football fans and other sports reporters. Fast-forward a couple of years later to the 1950s and the Ivy League alliance is officially formed among eight universities and their athletic programs are no longer the only main focus of the alliance, but their education philosophies are what govern them together today. No matter what, these schools are considered from the top schools for those who want to study in the US.

What is considered an Ivy League School

There are only eight universities who are officially part of the Ivy League, they are the following schools, in order of ranking:

  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • Columbia University
  • Yale
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Cornell University
  • Brown University
  • Dartmouth University

Harvard University

Located three miles north-west of Boston is the oldest and most prestigious university in Massachusetts, in the United States, Harvard University. Being the oldest Ivy League university has bolstered Harvard’s reputation as the best seeing as an older university’s founding date is linked with a greater reputation in people’s mind. Harvard was named after its first benefactor, the Puritan clergyman John Harvard who is now the university’s mascot.

Highly motivated students from all over the world apply annually to study at Harvard which has allowed for the environment there to become extremely diversified; welcoming different cultures, races and languages to connect on one campus over the same sought after dream of many students. This allows the students to connect with different people who embrace different ways of thinking and ideas while becoming a part of a large networking communities which will later result in more opportunities for these students.

The students at Harvard are also guided by the most qualified instructors, seeing as Harvard employs proficient scholars, Nobel Prize winners and associates of the Academy of Sciences. Additionally; the student to teacher ratio is 6:1, meaning that the students are provided with a chance to connect with their instructors easily. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the education at Harvard is of the highest quality. The following school’s at Harvard have been ranked as the number one; economics, biostatics, biological sciences and best medical schools.

This is not accounting for the specializations which are ranked as the number one or courses offered at Harvard as well. The fees if you want to study a bachelor’s degree for the academic year are averaged at $51,143 excluding dorm fees but it has been reported that over 65% of the students are granted a financial aid to make the dream of attending Harvard one for the highly driven students not just the fortunate ones.

Princeton University

The second highest rated, fourth oldest university in the United States and winner of the most Ivy League titles is Princeton university. Princeton was established in 1746 and is located in New Jersey across a campus of 600 acres and 204 buildings. Princeton’s annual acceptance rate is approximately 6%, also creating a highly competitive admission process for students. The university offers its students a chance to pursue their study on interest as it offers 54 undergraduate certificate programs; needless to say, of excellent quality.

The university offers students the chance to find their passion before deciding on a major as it is a liberal arts university, meaning that students get to pick different courses from different fields and not just their area of focus. Which in turn allows the students a strong background relating to different fields and the chance to major in something that they are truly passionate about.

Princeton especially stands out when looking to study at the school of Public and International affairs, where Princeton’s degree in this field is considered as the best in the world. However, the school with most number of graduates from Princeton are Social Sciences, Engineering and Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services making these majors the three most popular at this Ivy League.

Life on Princeton’s campus is a lively and enjoyable one; where the campus is considered among the prettiest university campus, has the third largest university chapel and has several eating clubs which are enjoyed by its students and allows them the chance to know each other. Of course, their outstanding athletic programs which have allowed Princeton the chance to become an Ivy League university to begin with. The university also offers financial aid to its students as the tuition fees alone to study at Princeton are equal to $48,502 annually.

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Columbia University

Columbia university was founded in 1754 by King George II of England and is the fifth oldest university in the United States. It is located in New York and hosts around 40,000 students and faculty members from around the globe with second highest number of Noble Prize affiliates. The university is divided into three undergraduate colleges; the school of General Studies, Columbia college and The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

The university is the administrator of the annual Pulitzer Prize annually and is known for its excellence in its offered engineering programs; where a degree in engineering from Columbia university is considered one of the best in the world. Resultantly, there are around 21% of the undergraduate students pursuing a degree in Engineering at Columbia university.

The university also stands out because of its fencing program which is a part of the offered extracurricular activities at the university but is the best and the oldest in the nation, which is 1 of its 500 offered clubs. Attending Columbia university is expensive as the tuition fees are $63,530 but it offers financial aid which may reach up to 70% of the tuition fees.

Ivy League Universities


Yale university enjoys a strong heritage where it came into existence during 1640 when colonial priests decided to authorize a college to preserve the tradition of European liberal education in the Modern World. Yale university hosts 4664 undergraduate students, out of which 21% are International students from over 100 different countries.

There is an exciting global campus waiting for you at Yale where the connections formed are valuable, an asset to everyone. The Yale library holds the third largest collection in the United States, enhancing students’ independent studies and research and the university stands out most when it comes to its school of science.

The university offers a total of 85 undergraduate degrees and with its liberal arts philosophy encourages all it students to specialize in what they are truly desire. Yale is known for graduating highly driven individuals who impact society, this reputation was gained and strengthened as 5 U.S presidents studied at Yale. Yale is also known for its outstanding degree in econometrics and quantitate economics as well as political science and government with the percentage of graduates from these schools are approximately 12% and 10%, respectively.

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University of Pennsylvania

This liberal arts university was built in 1740 and was founded by Benjamin Franklin, who aimed to provide the urban youth of Pennsylvania with an opportunity to earn a degree and learn at the same high level as the other universities located in cities. The campus now has over 20,000 full time students registered in either one of the university’s four undergraduate and is the largest Ivy League campus and one of the largest in the United States.

At Penn university, The highest number of undergraduates chose to specialize in the following; the college of arts and science, The Wharton school which is the school of business, school of engineering and applied science and the school or nursing. These schools produce the largest number of Pennsylvania graduates and the approximate tuition fees to attend, before financial aid, are roughly $60,000.

The university’s grounding philosophy is built on Benjamin’s thinking of “well done is better than well said” and this is why the university allocates $1.1 billion. This is what distinguishes the education at Pennsylvania university makes its programs stand out, such as its medicine program which is receives the most funding out of all universities.

Cornell University

Another Ivy League university located in New York is Cornell university, which was established in 1868. Cornell university is known for being the first to admit women in their undergraduate programs in 1870 while others were still closing their doors.

Besides receiving a top ranking for the education at their schools of engineering, management, law and medicine, Cornell also stands out as it offers the best veterinary medicine degrees and a very respectful degree in hotel management. Cornell university is always aiming to positively affect the world through discoveries and cultural development theories, but since the 1950s no university finding or creation has topped that of Cornell’s, the creation of the chicken nugget!

Being accepted into Cornell is a competitive procedure, where around 10% of applicants are accepted annually, but getting into Cornell’s school of applied Economics and Management is even more so of a challenge. The university currently has a total of nine undergraduate units and over 15,000 undergraduate students enrolled, out of which 24% are international students. The tuition fees to attend Cornell are similar to that of other Ivy League schools, with an average of $60,000 disregarding any provided aids.

Brown University

Brown University was founded in 1764 in has been demonstrating excellence ever since, it is located in the city. The university takes pride in its philosophy of student-centered teaching and places the highest value on the following; innovation, impact and collaboration. These values all aim to discover the most pioneering ways to solve multifaceted problems the world currently faces through different and creative ways, which is why the caliber of students admitted at Brown remains high as those who are who are willing to go above and beyond could stand a chance at Brown.

Thus, it is quite foreseeable that Brown only accepts 7% of its applicant each year. The university offers a total of 85 specializations, but is the most known for its undergraduate degree in computer science and econometrics, all of which are following the idea of an open curriculum ensuring that their students are exposed to as many ideas as possible and different ways of thinking and tackling problems.

The campus currently has a total of 6 libraries and the student to teacher ratio at Brown is also 6:1 ensuring that the students are able to make the most at their time at Brown. The fees at Brown university are approximately $62,000 but they do offer several means of financial aid to all applicants who would benefit from them.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth college instituted in 1769 and is located in Hanover, a town in New Hampshire, making it the most northern university in the United States. Dartmouth’s acceptance rate is approximately 9.2% annually and currently has a total of 4,000 enrolled students in its undergraduate programs.

The university is known for its flexible academic calendar, where they do not abide by the normal semesters as other universities but rather four 10-week terms for students to enroll 3 classes per term. This allows the students at Dartmouth to complete other extra-curricular activities easily and the chance at completing internships to gain more experiences and apply the skills they learned.

Dartmouth’s undergraduate program is comprised of 40 departments and a total of 60 majors, the majority of the university’s alumni have studied econometrics and qualitative economics or political science and government making these specializations stand out the most. The tuition fees at Dartmouth are no different than other Ivy League school with a total of approximately $60,000 excluding the financial aid which provided.

Common Standards

These eight Ivy League universities were once considered as Ivy League because of their outstanding athletic programs but continue to be Ivy League as a result of their competitive admissions where their average acceptance rate for the year 2022 is only 4.8%. As the number of applications began to increase at these universities so did their standards and requirements where having only a resume of high scores is not enough for you to get in but a basic requirement.

Additionally, these schools have made and continue to make cultural impacts affecting the world; varying from their excelling programs in the fields of medicine and law to their famous leader graduates, counting world presidents. The ultimately high standards of education offered at these eight universities have allowed school graduates to highly perceive these universities but what about other universities who uphold similar standards?

Stanford University and the Ivy League Map

Several factors came into being and have helped Ivy League schools strengthen their reputation, but one university which still stands out almost as much as Ivy League schools and has established itself a strong educational reputation is Stanford university. Despite Stanford being among the top ranked universities, providing topping quality courses, located in the Northeastern and having a low acceptance rate, very much like the Ivy school, it is not and will not be considered among the Ivy League. Why is that?

Simply put, the Ivy league unification came into being on the grounds of the eight schools’ athletic programs in the 1930s and at the time Stanford’s athletic program did not draw much attention as the other eight schools, so when the union happened Stanford was not included! The universities all continue to compete in many different aspects; academia, sports programs, campuses, and much more but there is one university which has managed to continue and standout for its consistent excellence.

Ivy Lead

All Ivy league schools stand out but Harvard in particular has been viewed as the number one Ivy league school, by QS rankings, and has maintained its reputation over the years as such. Harvard is the oldest establishment out of the eight universities founded in 1636. The size of Harvard university has continued to increase since then and is now equal to a total of 5,457 acres of land making it approximately 54 times the Vatican City!

Getting in to Harvard is not for everyone, literally, as they only accept 4.6% of their received applications. Meaning that for every 1000 applications received only 50 have the opportunity to study at one of Harvard’s 60 famed undergraduate programs.

Why you should consider an Ivy League University

The effort required for you to get accepted at an Ivy League is not easy but never impossible but here is why you should aim to go the extra mile and achieve this dream. A degree from any one of these eight universities would surely put you at an advantage, the extracurricular activities provided at the universities are going to enhance your skills and will allow you to connect with people from all over the world which will benefit you and introduce you to a new way of thinking.

The student to teacher ratio at these universities is rarely found at other universities, ensuring that you benefit as much as possible from intellectual faculty members. Needless to mention, the athletic programs which these Ivy League universities were coined upon are a major benefit to attendees of these prepare them better for life after graduation as they enhance their social skills. So, if you are looking for a university where you will be making an actual impact on the world, dealing with highly driven and empowered students, enriching your critical thinking skills and research skills then an Ivy League university is defiantly for you.

The Ivy League schools continue to offer distinguished programs and are associated with excellence and prestige, other schools may also be providing education of the same quality but Ivy League schools will remain to be viewed as “more”, getting into one the eight schools without a doubt requires effort but to say that it is worth it would be an understatement. If you’re still confused about how to apply, Uniapp can help you!

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