All of Your Ivy League Questions Answered

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Students in a group activity

All of Your Ivy League Questions Answered

The Ivy Leagues have the reputation for being selective and exclusive, which shrouds the schools in a bit of mystery. Yet every year, hundreds of students manage to demystify the process and earn admissions into the prestigious programs. Here’s everything you’ve wanted to know about the Ivies.

What schools are the Ivy League?

The Ivy Leagues consist of 8 different schools that joined as The Ivy League in 1954. The schools are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

Each school was established at a different time, by a different person, so they were not all created on the same day. Collectively, the schools are known for being selective, exclusive, rigorous, and productive, producing high-achieving graduates who go on to be presidents, vice presidents, Supreme Court judges, Congressional members, and many other prestigious positions. The schools are held as the pinnacle of post-secondary education. This is just part of everything you’ve wanted to know about the Ivies.

How are the Ivy League schools determined?

Incidentally, the Ivy League was actually formed alongside the NCAA as a way to categorize the schools who competed against each other in football in their region. The schools had already established a reputation for themselves that showed off their exceptionalism and recognition as having powerful sports teams.

Group of students walking while holding her books.

In fact, the League actually started as four schools, also a play on the Roman Numeral representing the number four. The four schools were originally Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and University of Pennsylvania. When the term was used in news media, it also referred to the eight schools. This is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how the Ivies got started.

Are the Ivy Leagues expensive?

Depending on your family’s income and socioeconomic status, the price tag on an Ivy League education may be considered expensive. If your family has educational savings and disposable income, they may have the funds to pay for your tuition and expected expenses for a year to four years of an Ivy League education.

In that scenario, the tuition costs ranging from 50 to 60 thousand with an average estimated cost of attendance around $80,000, might be reasonably managed. For many others though, the Ivies are expensive. Paying the cost of a luxury vehicle or two per year would be quite expensive for any family. The Ivy Leagues offer generous financial aid packages to allay many of the costs, so even if a student thinks the Ivies are expensive, then they should consider these alternative routes for funding.

What programs do they offer?

Each college has its own exhaustive list of majors and programming. There are certain majors that are more popular at each of the Ivy leagues.

  • At Brown University, Economics, Computer Science, and Biology are the top three majors.
  • At Columbia University, Economics, Political Science, and Psychology were the most popular majors.
  • Most popular majors at Cornell University are Engineering, Business Management and Marketing, and Biological and Biomedical Science.
  • At Dartmouth University, Economics, Government, and History have the top enrollments.
  • At Harvard University, Economics, Government, and Computer Science are the most popular majors.
  • Princeton University has Economics, Policy Making Analysis and Evaluation, and Computer Science as the most popular.
  • With the University of Pennsylvania, Finance, Economics, and Nursing are in the top three.
  • At Yale University, Economics, Political Science, and History are top choices for majors.

It is interesting the number of Ivy League schools with economics as their top major. That is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how the Ivies measure up in terms of their most popular majors.

When can I apply?

The Ivy League agreement means that the Ivy Leagues all have the same admissions deadlines, even for early applications, and they release admissions letters at the same times as well. A student applying for early action or early decision can only apply to one school in the Ivy League at a time.

A professor talking to a group of students.

The deadline for early action is November 1st or November 15th. The deadline for early decision is different for many schools, ranging from January 1st to January 15th. Students can apply at anytime before that deadline. You should arrange your application materials submissions so that everything is submitted by the deadlines.

How do I get into the Ivy League?

You get into the Ivy League by standing out from other applicants, having a strong and rigorous academic record with college credits and high test scores, and a demonstrated passion for the subject or major you intend to study. Ivy Leagues want to see students that have already started to change the world and make an impact on society who just need a little more time and a lot more study to reach their lofty goals.

Getting into the Ivy leagues is highly selective, so you’ll want to put forth an image of yourself that shows your accomplishments and achievements. You can research each of the school’s admissions pages to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how to get into the Ivies.

What Ivy League school is best for STEM?

Some of the best Ivy League schools for STEM include Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Cornell. Harvard has an advanced department and well-funded research labs with award winning faculty, including seven Nobel laureates. Yale has faculty who’ve won Nobel prizes for their work on ribosomes.

Princeton has a highly regarded chemistry program with specializations in catalysis and synthesis,  chemical biology, inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, spectroscopy and physical chemistry, and theoretical chemistry.

Cornell University produces the peer-reviewed Journal of Physical Chemistry and the campus has world-renowned facilities including The Advanced Center fora group student standing against a wall and looking at the camera Electron Spin Resonance Technology, The Center for Materials Research, The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source, and The Cornell Nanofabrication Center.

Which Ivy League school is best for English?

The English subject is a top choice for students at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and UPenn. Students at Yale can take introductory courses in the English and Arts and Humanities program. The school has a department of comparative literature and is one of the best schools to get a degree in this subject from.

Harvard has a three year English program for ambitious scholars with intense preparation to pursue a master’s degree after finishing undergrad. Princeton’s English program is also three years, and students take at least 10 courses, including a required Literary and Cultural History course. Students at UPenn can choose between many different English concentrations including standard, creative writing, cinema studies,and historical.

Where would you have to live if you attended each of the Ivy League schools?

All eight of the Ivy Leagues are located in the northeast of the United States. F. Scott Fitzgerald once referred to New England as the “land of schools.” Depending on how close or far you are from this region, you may have a short or longer relocation distance to travel.

Princeton is located in Princeton, NJ. The school was founded as the College of New Jersey in 1746. The school also once served as the capital of the United States with Congress convening at Nassau Hall on Princeton’s college campus.

Columbia is located in New York, NY. New York City is known for the Statue of Liberty, Broadway, and Times Square. Founded in 1754, Columbia University is also the home of the Pulitzer Prize.

Harvard is located in Cambridge, MA. Established in 1636, Harvard is also located near MIT. The school consists of 13 different colleges and schools with world recognized programs and majors.

Yale is located in New Haven, CT. The city is called Elm City due to its being the first site of a public tree planting program. Yale was founded in 1701 as the Collegiate School.

UPenn is located in Philadelphia, PA. The “City of Brotherly Love” houses the Liberty Bell and is known for its cheesesteaks. UPenn was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740 as the College of Philadelphia.

Dartmouth is located in Hanover, NH. Hanover is a college town on the Connecticut River. Dartmouth is the Ivy League that is the furthest north in the country.

Brown is located in Providence, RI. Providence, Rhode Island is an ocean state often called the Renaissance City. Brown was founded in 1764 and has never had a religious requirement for its students.

Cornell is located in Ithaca, NY. Ithaca is known for its waterfalls and location south of the Cayuga Lake. Cornell was founded in 1865 and awarded the world’s first degree in journalism and the nation’s first degree in veterinary medicine.

What are the net costs of attending the Ivy Leagues?

The net costs are different from the total estimated expenses that schools calculate. The total expected expenses include tuition, housing/room and board, textbooks, transportation, and personal expenses.

View of Berkeley campus from afar.

These costs are subtracted from the total financial aid award, including scholarships, grants, and loans. This is the net cost, the leftover expenses not covered by the funding. These are the net costs your family will be responsible for, and they are not as transparent as the expected expenses often are. The net costs at the Ivy Leagues range from around $18,000 at Harvard to almost $30,000 at Dartmouth and Cornell.

When do students receive admissions offers from the Ivy Leagues?

The Ivy League agreements determine when Ivy league schools send out admissions offer letters. Early action admission letters are released in December. Early decision admission letters are released in February.

Regular decision admissions letters go out in late-March and April. Students can expect to get admissions decisions letters back within one to three months after their submit their applications, depending on whether they submit early or not. If you want to get admissions decisions back sooner, apply early, but you will only be able to apply to one Ivy League per early admission round.

How much do parents typically spend on an Ivy League degree?

Parents typically end up spending between 80,000 to 120,000 for a four year Ivy League degree. On average, expenses for families range from $20,000 to $30,000 per year. That means that over four years, a family could expect to spend as much $120,000. This is also only true if the family receives a substantial amount of financial aid.

If the family is outside the income limits for financial aid, then they may end up paying as much as 78,000 a year, and as much as $320,000. That sticker price is very shocking, and always gets compared to the price of a new house in the suburbs. This is why it’s important to hink of an Ivy league education as an investment into the future.

What can you do with an Ivy League degree?

An Ivy league degree comes with the prestige of having graduated from a school that is known for being challenging, with world-class programs, faculty, and facilities, and top rankings on every list of schools.

A man looking at a monitor while writing.

An Ivy League degree gives you access to a network of graduates and alumni, along with job searches that draw on this network for career advancement and promotions. Just listing Ivy League on your resume can say alot about your educational background and your professional potential.

Where do Ivy League graduates work?

Ivy League graduates obtain jobs in a variety of industries with high-level positions in a diverse range of departments and roles. Learn everything you’ve wanted to know about the Ivies and more. The majority of Harvard graduates live in Boston, New York City, San Francisco, D.C., and Los Angeles. They work for Google, McKinsey, Goldman and Sachs, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, and MIT.

They are in business, education, entrepreneurship, research, media communication, and finance. Roughly 40 percent of Ivy League graduates obtain jobs in consulting and finance. Many find careers in the public sector, including public health and government. Penn graduates receive a third more callbacks for job interviews. Ivy League graduates can expect to make an average of $70,000 or more.

What are the benefits of attending the Ivies?

People who attend the Ivies and graduate are given the option to utilize the Ivy Leagues impressive network. That network includes former alumni, affiliated businesses and organizations, and sponsors and donors. Many industries dedicate significant resources to woo and hire Ivy League graduates, from Wall Street to Congress.

The benefits of attending the Ivies lie in the prestigious reputation of the schools, their propensity for producing top talent who go on to work all over the world, and the history tied to the school’s founding. Knowing everything you’ve wanted to know about the Ivies will require a significant amount of research into all the schools have to offer.

Are there any disadvantages to attending the Ivies?

There are some drawbacks to attending the Ivy Leagues, including the expensive costs that are always seeming to increase every year. Besides the costs associated with completing a four year degree from an Ivy League, there are not many other disadvantages.

The school has top-rated programs in many different subjects with alumni who go on to obtain high-paying, rewarding jobs in a variety of desired fields. At least the Ivy Leagues are producing success stories as testimonials for future students.

What is the hardest Ivy League school to get into?

All of the Ivy Leagues are selective and exclusive with high standards and rigorous programming. Nevertheless, three schools are regularly listed as the top schools with the hardest enrollment. Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are considered the hardest schools to get into.

These schools also have very talented and accomplished students already enrolled, so each new class is competing with students who are achieving great feats. However, in recent years, Columbia has risen the top as the hardest Ivy League school to be admitted into with an acceptance rate of less than four percent.

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into?

When comparing the school’s acceptance rates, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate of all the Ivy Leagues. Cornell accepts an average of 14 to 15 percent of applicants. In comparison, Harvard admits around four to five percent of applications. Cornell also has the largest student population with over 25,000 students currently in attendance.

That doesn’t mean that Cornell is less rigorous, has a poorer reputation, or produces less successful graduates. Cornell should not be seen as an easy school, just a school with a very high acceptance rate compared to other Ivy Leagues, which does improve your chances of admission.

Is the Ivy League worth it?

Attending the Ivies is absolutely worth it. You can take classes in almost any subject you desire. You’ll have access to professional researchers who’ve won awards and provide guidance for your own studies. You’ll get to walk around top-notch facilities and get to spend time in historic cities. The experience students have at the Ivy leagues are memorable and successful preparation for a lifelong commitment to learning.

AdmissionSight Experts Answer Questions

Whatever you’re wondering about, an AdmissionSight college admissions expert can answer them. We have meticulous training on the Ivy League college admissions processes, so we can help you navigate the process. Our experts can help you find out everything you’ve wanted to know about the Ivies.





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