The Best Ivy League Schools for Engineering

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Two robotics engineering students working on their project.

The Best Ivy League Schools for Engineering

For high school students from all over the world who want to pursue a degree – and later a career – in engineering, there is no doubt that the Ivy League schools are at the top of the list. After all, the Ivy League schools offer some of the most advanced, competitive and prestigious schools in not only the United States, but also the entire world.

However, even if a high school student knows they want to go to an Ivy League school for engineering, they may still be wondering what the best Ivy League school for engineering is. Luckily, here at AdmissionSight, we’ve taken the time to break down which Ivy League schools are the best for students that are committed to engineering as a degree and career path.

On lab, two female students are working on their project.

Moreover, we have also broken down what high school students can do in order to improve their chances of getting accepted to a top engineering school. So, without further delay, let’s get started on the best Ivy League schools for engineering.

Ivy Leagues and Engineering

In case you do not already know, the official members of the Ivy League are Yale University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Cornell University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University and Dartmouth University.

These eight schools are amongst the most prestigious and competitive in the entire world and also have some of the largest endowments in the country.

What this high level of prestige and large amount of money on hand means is that the schools can offer their students some of the most cutting-edge resources that are available in the world of engineering.

Two engineering students working in the lab using a 3D printer.

Beyond that, these schools have alumni bases that are passionate, committed to the school that they come from, and some of the most accomplished engineers working today. These are just some of the reasons why students who are interested in pursuing a career in engineering flock to the Ivy League schools every year.

But what are the best schools in the Ivy League when it comes to engineering? While all of their different schools and departments are exceptional, there is no doubt that some schools are simply better options for others when it comes to engineering.

So, let’s break down the hierarchy that exists within what is without a doubt the most prestigious cluster of higher learning institutions in the world.

Cornell University

This may come as something as a surprise for some people, as Cornell is typically considered one of the lesser Ivy League schools. One reason why is because the acceptance rate for high school students that are applying to Cornell does tend to be quite a bit higher than the acceptance rate of some of the other Ivy League schools.

However, when it comes to engineering, there is little doubt that Cornell reigns supreme in the Ivies. It is widely regarded as the best Ivy League school for engineering and is ranked seventh for engineering in the United States according to the QS World University Rankings. It is ranked as the 14th best school for engineering in the world.

Overall, Cornell has the largest engineering department in the Ivy League – including 14 total majors and 20 minors. At Cornell, the acceptance rate tends to hover around 11 percent, with the typical tuition after financial aid often coming out to about $30,000 per year.

While some people may think that the higher acceptance rate of Cornell compared to other Ivies like Harvard and Yale could be seen as a bad thing, students who are interested in pursuing engineering should see this as a major positive. After all, all it really manes is that you have a higher chance of getting into one of the best engineering undergraduate programs in the world!

Princeton University

Coming up after Cornell is Princeton. Princeton’s acceptance rate is less than half of that of Cornell, hovering around five percent each year. That restrictive acceptance rate is one of the many reasons why Princeton is considered to be part of the Ivy League’s “Big Three.”

The incredible history (nearly 200 years old) of Princeton, brings a lot of weight and prestige to the engineering degree, which makes Princeton engineering grads highly employable as well as highly attractive to graduate programs at many of the most impressive engineering grad programs in the United States and abroad.

Another fantastic feature that often makes Princeton very attractive to students who are looking to attend there for undergrad is there very generous financial aid package.

In fact, the average tuition for students at Princeton following financial aid is just $9,000 per year! That means that if you are a student who has excelled in high school and wants to commit your further education to engineering but lack the family money to attend a more expensive school, Princeton could be the perfect option!

Columbia University

Coming in at the No. 3 spot is the by far the most urban university in the Ivy League. Columbia – of course – exists on a beautiful campus that is right in the middle of Manhattan, New York. As for Columbia’s engineering department, it was founded all the way back in 1864, making it one of the oldest applied science programs in the entire country.

At Columbia, the engineering program strives to mix both the practical and creative aspects of engineering to encourage students to think outside of the box and learn with enthusiasm. Columbia is not only a top 15 school when it comes to engineering, but also considered to be a top 10 school when it comes to biomedical engineering specifically.

The acceptance rate at Columbia tends to sit around six percent per year and the average cost of tuition following financial aid sits at about $23,000. However, students should keep in mind the exceptionally high cost of living in New York City as well.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania – or UPenn as it is very often called – is probably best known for its incredible medical program, but that does not mean that its engineering school is not amongst the best in the entire world. In fact, UPenn is widely considered to be among the top 20 when it comes to its engineering program.

One important thing that students who are thinking about attending UPenn should know is that it has one of the largest endowments in the entire country. With tons of money at its disposal, students who are looking to really work and learn on the cutting edge of engineering will be hard pressed to find a much better option.

UPenn’s acceptance rate typically hovers around eight percent, with tuition after financial aid costing around $25,000.

Harvard University

If you know anything about the Ivy League schools, you might be surprised to see Harvard end up so relatively low on this list. After all, Harvard is likely the most well-known school in the ivy league and is truly one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the western world. Its history dates back to well before the forming of the United States.

Without a doubt, thanks to its incredible reputation all over the world, engineering students who attend Harvard are likely to have a pretty positive experience when it comes to applying for jobs or graduate programs in the field.

Beyond that, the John A. Paulson School of Engineering is famous for providing students that are incredibly detail-oriented. Overall, Harvard has six undergraduate programs and seven programs for graduate programs. On top of this, Harvard also offers two professional engineering programs: one is in business analytics and one is focused on artificial intelligence.

Its engineering programs are incredibly well-funded, which offers students the chance to learn about and utilize tools related to the most groundbreaking technology and science.

Harvard’s acceptance rate tends to sit around four percent and the cost of admission following financial aid averages out to around $16,000.

Yale University

After Harvard, Yale is probably the most famous and highly regarded university in the Ivy League. It is really considered to be one of the best schools that a student can go to for any type of degree, including engineering.

In fact, engineering is one of the most popular degrees for students who are applying to Yale. While that is a good thing in many ways – such as the program does get a lot of funding and attention – it also makes it a very hard program to get accepted to.

Beyond that, the program’s goal of meeting “critical societal needs” helps instill engineering students with an important sense of responsibility to use their passions and talents to help improve the lives of the people around them and all over the world.

Overall, the acceptance rate to Yale tends to sit at around six percent and the average cost of tuition following financial aid comes out to around $19,000.

Brown University

Brown is one of the best research universities in the world and offers a wide variety of degree options. One of its most popular and most prestigious degrees is that of the computer science program.

One thing that sets Brown apart in a pretty substantial way is that it has a more creative and fluid approach to learning. That is rare for schools in the Ivy League, as many of the schools are quite committed to a more rigid and traditional educational style.

That approach to learning has made Brown pretty popular for engineering students who are looking for interdisciplinary thought and learning. With that being said, Brown is thought to be one of the least popular schools for students who are interested in attending an Ivy League school and pursuing engineering.

At Brown, the acceptance rate sits at around eight percent with the average tuition coming in at around $32,000 per year after financial aid.

Dartmouth College

Finally, we have Dartmouth College. It is the smallest school that is a part of the Ivy League, but just because it is smaller does not mean that it is any less impressive. Dartmouth proudly boasts a tight-knit community of students and faculty and is definitely a great option for students who are looking to earn an Ivy League education at a school that has something closer to a liberal arts college feel.

At Dartmouth, the Thayer School of Engineering is considered to be in the top 100 engineering schools. Due to the fact that Dartmouth does tend to focus more on liberal arts focuses, the engineering school also tends to focus more on creative problem solving and creating engineers that are well-equipped to think outside the box to solve unique challenges.

At Dartmouth, the acceptance rate sits at about nine percent, with the average tuition after financial aid coming at around $31,000 per year.

How to improve chances of getting into an Ivy League engineering program

Now that you know the basic facts about the engineering programs at the Ivy League schools, you may be wondering about what it takes to actually get into one of these incredible programs. Without a doubt, the students who attend Ivy League schools and pursue their education with a focus on engineering have to be amongst the most committed, passionate, and intelligent students in the world. The curriculum – no matter which school you go to – is incredibly difficult and demands a lot of commitment and care.

Close up of a female engineer looking at the camera in a sunset background.

For high schoolers looking to get a chance for that kind of experience, there are a few things that they can do during their time in high school to make it clear that they are worthy of such an experience.

Challenge yourself in science, math, and computer classes

One of the biggest things Ivy League schools look out for in students that they are thinking about accepting is whether or not they will be able to keep up with the rigors and challenges of an Ivy League curriculum. After all, these are some of the best schools in the world and offer some of the most challenging classes.

One great way to prove that you as a student are ready for that challenge is to challenge yourself when it comes to your classes in high school. This not only means taking math, science, and computer science courses that are Honors and AP classes but also seeing if you can take classes at your local community college or four-year college.

This will signal to any top schools that you apply to that you are ready – and more importantly, hungry – for a tough academic challenge.

Commit to extracurriculars related to your engineering interest

Extracurriculars are incredible for students to impress college admission officers at the top schools in the world. There are a lot of incredible extracurricular programs that take place during the school year and during the summer months that high school students can take advantage of.

Teacher with female pupils building robotic vehicle in class.

In fact, there are even a number of really fantastic engineering extracurriculars that are sponsored by and take place on Ivy League campuses. This is a fantastic way for students to not only expand their knowledge, skills, and interests related to engineering but also allows students to get a taste of what it’s like to live and learn on an Ivy League campus well before they even apply there for school.

Earn great standardized tests scores

This should be a pretty obvious one, but it is really important for students who want to attend an Ivy League school for engineering to earn great grades on either the SAT or ACT. In the end, the application process to Ivy League schools – no matter your specific academic focus – is about as hard as it gets.

Student filling out answers to a test using a pencil.

For that reason making sure that you are earning nearly perfect standardized test grades will likely prove to be pretty crucial if you want to make sure that you are setting yourself apart from the pack. It may seem like an impossible goal, but there is no doubt that any student can master either the SAT or ACT if they are willing to put in the time and energy necessary to do so!

Need more help getting into an Ivy League to study engineering and an undergraduate student?

Don’t get us wrong, if you are interested in attending an Ivy League school for engineering, you have hard work ahead of you. Going to any of these eight schools takes total dedication, but that hard work is well worth it when you get to end up studying at one of the best schools in the world.

Here are AdmissionSight, we are proud of our success rate of getting out students into Ivy League schools. If you are interested in learning about how a top admissions consultant can help you get into a school like Harvard, Yale or Princeton, contact us at AdmissionSight today!

College Admissions

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up now to receive insights on
how to navigate the college admissions process.