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Ivy League

The Ivy League comprises 8 private research universities in the United States. In this blog post, we’re going to look at the history of the Ivy League schools, each one of them and the difference between them and other American universities.


Origin of the name Ivy League 

In the 1950s, the Ivy League was first founded for university football. The presidents of those 8 universities signed the Ivy Green Agreements that set standards for college football teams. As time went by, the Ivy League became synonymous with top universities as it attracted more and more funds and attention.


How to apply to Ivy League school 

The competition for a spot in any of the Ivy League schools is tense, but Ivy League universities all have different criteria for prospective students. In general, to apply to an Ivy League school, you need to have:

  • An excellent GPA and great SAT score
  • Passion for extracurricular activities
  • Volunteer experience
  • Reference letter(s)

After you submit your application, you might be invited for an interview.


Most of the students applying for Ivy League have GPAs range from 3.85 to 4.18. However, academic performance is not the only element the admission board take into consideration. They also look at many other areas, such as extracurricular activities and fulfilment of social responsibilities.


Ivy League universities: tuition fees and scholarships 

Ivy League schools are private universities. Students, both domestic and international, need to pay a higher tuition fee, compared to those who attend public schools. Typically, studying at an Ivy League school costs approximately 56,000 USD a year. The living cost, on the other hand, depends on the location of the school. The living costs in Boston and New York are relatively higher.

But Ivy League universities offer merit-based scholarships that can help you further your education at the best school. There are many different types of scholarships and they all differ, depending on the school, the department and the degree type. To learn more about Ivy League scholarships, book a one-on-one session with our advisors.


Difference between Ivy League schools and other universities

Because of their history, impressive lists of alumni and reputation, many people think of the Ivy League schools as the best of the best universities in the United States. In fact, they are not much different from other top American universities.

There are many other universities in the United States that are performing exceptionally: Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, MIT, etc.


When you are choosing which American university to go to, consider what you need instead of the reputation of the school. Take a look at our other blog articles on studying abroad in the US and the best American cities for international students. You can also book an one-on-one session with our advisors for free. Let us help you find the program that meets your needs.


What are Ivy League schools

The 8 Ivy League universities are:

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

Brown University

2022 US News ranking #14

2023 QS World university ranking #63


Brown University was first founded in 1764 in Rhode Island, one of the oldest research universities in the United States. It is about a 1.5-hour drive from Harvard University.


Brown University has a liberal campus and encourages creativity and innovation. It allows students considerable freedom to take courses. Students can explore different areas of learning and decide their majors with the help of school advisors and earn their degrees after acquiring enough credits.


Princeton University

2022 US News ranking #1

2023 QS World university ranking #16


Founded in 1746, Princeton University is one of the best research American universities and one of the most difficult to get into. In 2021, only 6.1% of the applicants were admitted to undergraduate programs at Princeton University. Princeton University, Harvard University, and Yale University are dubbed the Big Three, enjoying an unparalleled reputation.


At Princeton University, 98% of the students live in dorms on campus. Freshmen don’t need to choose a major but have to complete the required courses. Students decide their majors in their sophomore year. Princeton University provides extensive resources for individual students. There are only more than 1,000 students in each year. Every student receives plenty of attention from professors.


Columbia University

2023 QS World university ranking #22


Columbia University was established in 1754 and is one of the five oldest American universities. It has produced many Nobel prize winners and politicians. Located in Manhattan, New York City, Columbia University is a top research university with the third largest library among universities in the United States.


Columbia University allows students great flexibility. New students can choose to enroll in any of the three semesters of the school year. They can also pass exams for course exemptions instead of taking other electives.


Cornell University 

2022 US News ranking #17

2023 QS World university ranking #20


Cornell University is the only school in the Ivy League that was founded after American Revolutionary War. It was established in 1865. Cornell University has three campuses: the main one in Ithaca, New York State and two satellite campuses in New York City and Qatar. Cornell University is home to the largest Southeast Asia Program in the United States.


Cornell University also has one of the most diverse campuses with hundreds of student groups. To protect students, Cornell University campus police work 24/7 and have almost the same right as Ithaca Police Department.


Dartmouth College

2022 US News ranking #13

2023 QS World university ranking #205


Based in New Hampshire, Dartmouth College was established in 1769. The admission competition to undergraduate programs at Dartmouth College was more than intense. Only 10.4% of the applicants were accepted in 2021.


Like Brown University, Dartmouth College features small classes. Roughly one teacher accompanies seven students on their journeys to learn. Dartmouth College is a liberal arts institution; students typically excel in Politics and Economics.


Harvard University

2022 US News ranking #2

2023 QS World university ranking #5


Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest university in the United States and one of the most renowned in the world. It is located in Boston and has the oldest library in America.


Apart from their majors, students also have to complete general education in eight different areas. When students graduate from Harvard University, they are given different distinctions depending on their academic performance: summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude.


University of Pennsylvania

2022 US News ranking #8

2023 QS World university ranking #13


University of Pennsylvania was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1740. University of Pennsylvania is the fourth oldest university in the United States. It is extremely difficult to enroll in University of Pennsylvania. In 2022, only 8.39% of the applicants to undergraduate programs at University of Pennsylvania were admitted. The admission competitions to University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Perelman School of Medicine, and Wharton Business School are among the toughest.


University of Pennsylvania is committed to developing students with cross-disciplinary skills and, thus, allows undergraduates to take courses from other departs and graduate courses.


Yale University

2022 US News ranking #5

2023 QS World university ranking #18


Established in 1701 in Connecticut, Yale University is the third oldest university in America. There is a collection of 12.5 million books in its library, the second largest in the United States. Only Harvard has more books than Yale. Undergraduate programs at Yale had an acceptance rate of 4.46% in 2022, lowest in recent years.


Yale University takes up traditions from Oxford University and Cambridge University. In the freshman year, students enroll in general education courses at Yale University. They only decide their majors in the second year.


Study in the US with Intake

Over the past 30 years, we’ve helped countless students find the program that suited them best and plan their studying abroad journey. If you still have questions about American universities, whether it’s an Ivy League school or not, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Let our experienced advisors be there with you every step of your plan to study in the United States.


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