When applying for your undergraduate or graduate, you'll probably come across the term Ivy League. Ivy League schools are some of the oldest and most prestigious colleges in the United States. They are also incredibly selective, and only the best of the best get in. If you want to apply to one of them, having a list of Ivy League schools will help.
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Ivy League colleges began as a group association of eight highly athletic colleges that existed at the time. Since their athletic teams were so good, the popularity of these schools grew. This increased student performance standards, and getting admission to these schools became more competitive. Consequently, many prospective students have been searching for a list and locations of Ivy League schools.
What are Ivy League schools?
Ivy League schools are considered the most prestigious of all colleges in the US. They are located in Northeastern, with eight colleges making up the Ivy League. Among all institutions of higher learning, these elite schools are considered the most outstanding.
Interestingly, these institutions have some of the most generous financial aid packages, so your financial background does not influence your admission.
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Although the schools have been ranked over the years, these rankings don't mean that one institution is better than another. Each school has different strengths, and all of the schools on this list are great institutions. Being an alumnus of any of them opens doors for you in your career.
Why are they called Ivy League schools?
There are several theories about how the term came to be, but the most official is their efforts at grooming the finest sportsmen among their students in the 1950s. Another story regarding the origin of the term is that most schools are known for cultivating the ivy plant, a type of climbing vine distinguishable by its evergreen leaves and woody stems.
The term's first known use dates back to 1933 when Stanley Woodward (1895-1965) wrote about the football season. He was quoted as saying the following in his column for the New York Tribune on the 14th of October, 1933:
A proportion of our eastern ivy colleges are meeting little fellows another Saturday before plunging into the strife and the turmoil.
What are the 12 Ivy League schools?
How many Ivy League schools are there? Although there are only eight official Ivy League colleges, the association of the term to academic excellence has made it such that some schools are misconstrued as part of the settings. Nevertheless, the following is a list of Ivy League schools and their rankings and locations.
1. Harvard University
- Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 1
Harvard is the oldest higher institution of learning in the United States of America. It was established in 1636 and was initially named Harvard College after its founding patron, John Harvard. The school is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious Ivy League universities, and its law faculty is almost untouchable.
Why is Harvard so famous?
The institution is dedicated to excellence in teaching, learning, and research. It is also committed to developing leaders who make a difference in their disciplines globally. It has also continuously ranked high in Ivy League rankings leading many to believe it is the best Ivy League school. The student experience at Harvard is unparalleled, and the financial aid program is very generous.
What is the hardest Ivy to get into?
Harvard is undoubtedly one of them, considering its low admission rate of just 3.19% for the class of 2026.
2. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 2
Is MIT an Ivy League? Massachusetts Institute of Technology is not officially an Ivy League school. Nevertheless, its consistent excellence in academic standards has made it synonymous with what those actual schools are known for. The institution was founded in 1861 and has played a major role in advancing modern science and technology.
3. Stanford University
- Location: Stanford, California, United States
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 3
Stanford University is a private tertiary learning institution established in 1885 by Jane and Leland Stanford. Its establishment was in memory of their child Leland Stanford Jr., who died from typhoid in 1884.
4. Columbia University
- Location: New York, New York, United States
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 7
Columbia University was founded in 1754, making it number five on the list of the oldest higher institutions in the USA. It was initially known as King's College and is a distinguished learning institution mostly known for its role as a research centre. As one of the top Ivy League schools, it is renowned for its academic standards, with an admission rate of 6.1%.
The institution has grown to include three undergraduate schools, thirteen graduate schools, a medical centre, and four affiliated colleges and seminaries. Also, it has around two hundred research centres and institutes. Access to all of these facilities guarantees that any student who studies at Princeton graduates is a better and more informed person.
5. Yale University
- Location: New Haven, Connecticut, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 11
The institution is one of the most prestigious in the United States of America, as well as the third oldest. Yale was founded in 1701 and has been a big name in the academic world since then. The school is dedicated to expanding and sharing knowledge, inspiring innovation, and preserving cultural and scientific information for future generations.
The institution also offers non-degree programs for students who prefer that option. It only admits the best students. For instance, its admission rate as of 2022 is around 6.3%, so its admission requirements are hard to meet.
6. University of Pennsylvania
- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 15
Nicknamed Quakers, UPenn, or simply Penn, this tertiary institution of learning was established in 1740 by one of the most famous individuals in America’s history, Benjamin Franklin.
The University of Pennsylvania was built solely on the concept of innovation. Everything that is new and holds promise to change the world can be found at UPenn. It has four undergraduate and twelve graduate schools and, through them, offers unparalleled education. More so, its admission requirements are stringent, and, as of 2021, it had an admission rate of 9.2%.
7. Princeton University
- Location: Princeton, New Jersey, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 16
Princeton is a private university located in Princeton, New Jersey. It was chartered in 1746, but it moved to Princeton in 1756. The school has state-of-the-art facilities that every student has access to.
Princeton provides housing, a library, and ICT services, which have greatly improved the quality of life for the students. It also provides medical services to its students, faculty, and staff, ensuring the school has a healthy learning and working environment.
8. Cornell University
- Location: Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 21
Andrew Dickson White and Ezra Cornell founded Cornell University in 1865. Historically, the institution was established to make acquiring classical and scientific knowledge easy for anyone searching.
Which Ivy League is easiest to get into?
Cornell University has the highest acceptance rates. At the same time, it reportedly has a 94 per cent graduation rate. This means that the school does everything possible to ensure that students succeed.
9. University of Chicago
- Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 22
Popularly known as Maroons, this higher learning institution sets high academic standards for its students, evident in its stringent admission requirements. Some of its graduates have become successful entrepreneurs worth billions of dollars.
10. Northwestern University
- Location: Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 24
Northwestern University was founded in 1851, and its students are popularly referred to as the Wildcats. Its most recent acceptance rate for the class of 2026 is 7%, as only 3608 were offered admission out of 51,554 applicants.
11. Brown University
- Location: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 129
Brown University is a private Ivy League research institution established in 1764, making it number seven in the list of oldest higher institutions in the USA. It was originally known as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
Brown University offers over 2000 undergraduate programs, 30 master’s degrees, and more than 50 doctoral programs. The student life is also amazing since the campus has great facilities and services for every student's needs.
12. Dartmouth College
- Location: Hanover, New Hampshire, United States
- US News & World Report (USNWR) 2022 ranking: 261
Nicknamed the Big Green, this Ivy college is privately owned and was founded by Eleazar Wheelock in 1769. It was initially focused on teaching Christian theology and the English culture but has metamorphosed to include other fields of studies in its curriculum.
It is also very famous for its four leading graduate schools: the Geisel School of Medicine, the School of Graduate and Advanced Studies, the Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business.
Based on the list of Ivy League schools, these institutions have gained the overall status of cultivating graduates with elevated educational performances. But then, although some have existed for over a hundred years, their performances have been the case of the proverbial wine that tastes better with time.
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