All you need to know about Ivy League Universities

All you need to know about Ivy League Universities

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By Prabhadri Suman|Updated On - 2024-02-13 06:27:40

Ivy League colleges are the most sought-after institutions of higher learning in the country and worldwide. Let's explore every detail about Ivy League colleges in this blog.

All you need to know about Ivy League Universities

Topics Covered:

  • What is the Ivy League?
  • How many universities are Ivy League?
  • What Makes Ivy League Schools Renowned?
  • What Ivy League Universities are looking for in Students?
  • Ivy League Universities in the US
  • Average Annual Tuition Fee
  • Steps Required to Get Admission to Ivy League Universities
  • Admission Requirements for Ivy League Universities
  • Factors to consider when applying to Ivy League universities
  • Scholarships offered by Ivy League universities
  • Is it beneficial to attend an Ivy League institution?
  • Conclusion

The Ivy League is a group of prestigious American universities that students prefer to study in the United States. When it comes to the Ivy League, a few questions need to be answered.  What are the Ivy League universities  and their fees? Ivy League universities have always been a source of fascination and inspiration for students wanting to pursue higher education in the United States.  In the blog, let's learn more about Ivy universities, their ranking, popular courses, and fees.

What is the Ivy League?

When someone hears about the Ivy League, they first ask, “ What is an Ivy League university  and Why are they called Ivy League?”  

Understanding what the Ivy League means requires a bit of history. It refers to the Ivy plant planted on Ivy Day at the University of Pennsylvania and other Ivy League schools. This custom was already being observed at Brown University, Harvard University, and Yale University, among other institutions.

In 1933, Stanley Woodward, a sportswriter, coined the phrase "ivy schools." On February 7, 1935, the phrase "Ivy League" was first used in the Christian Science Monitor. Several sportswriters and other journalists used the expression in the years that followed. They used it to describe the older colleges in the Northeastern United States, the United States Military Academy (West Point), the United States Naval Academy, and a few other schools.

Ivy League schools are part of an association of eight top United States universities, all of which are both prestigious and old. The group was established in 1954 to promote sports relations between the institutions. Moreover, these universities now stand for academic achievement and social status.

  • The official Ivy League was established in 1954 at an NCAA athletic conference, although some institutions predated the term's usage. These schools' long-standing traditions in intercollegiate athletics, frequently being the first to participate in such activities, have been a part of their history for a long time.
  • The IV in "Ivy" might stand for the Roman numeral IV, indicating that four members were originally in the league.
  • In the beginning, the Ivy League universities rose far above sports and are now among the most prestigious institutions in the United States.

How many universities are Ivy League?

Around 8 Ivy League colleges are listed in the QS World University Ranking 2024. Ivy League universities have a global status that few other universities can match. The top 10 Ivy League schools comprise the following universities, all of which are located in the North-eastern part of the country:

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

What Makes Ivy League Schools Renowned?

There are three main reasons why Ivy League universities are so popular:


Good reputation:  Having existed for over two hundred years, the Ivy League is the oldest institution in the United States. Therefore, they have developed a reputation over time as the slowest of any university in the country.

Academic excellence:  There is no argument about it; Ivy League universities provide the finest academic guidance. These universities have some of the finest professors, research scholars, and students working together on the same course.

A significant number of alumni: Having the oldest Ivy League university, they can provide excellent mentors and employment if needed.

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What Ivy League Universities are looking for in Students?

Annually, a large number of high-achieving students put in applications to the Ivy League, and the figure is increasing! For the 2024 class, the Ivy League received 311,948 applications, and an all-time high of 400,750 applications for the 2025 class. 

It is anticipated that the incoming class of 2026 will surpass that record with around 414,000 applications! While good credentials won't hurt your application, it may come as a surprise that Ivy League universities do not want perfect students. 

They don't look for students who are good at a bit of everything but stand out in none of them. Ivy League universities are on the lookout for people who can make a difference and bring a good name to the school, plus individuals who are enthusiastic to pass on their knowledge to help other students accomplish their goals.

Ivy League Universities in the US

Below is an Ivy League universities list, including a short description. This list helps students learn more about these colleges.

Columbia University

Columbia is one of the major Ivy League universities/institutions for research and teaching. It was also one of the first universities in the US to welcome international students. With over 30,000 students, Columbia offers courses in liberal arts and science.

The ratio of students to faculty members is 6 to 1 at QS World University Ranking 2024. The acceptance rate is 6%, and the top courses include Biology, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Science, Civil Engineering, Economics, English, History, Neuroscience, Nursing, Operations Research, Political Science, and Psychology.  

The University of Pennsylvania

Wharton School, Penn Engineering and Applied Science, Perelman of Medicine as well the education and law schools at Penn are some of its flagship programs. UPenn has international representation of over 13% with students from more than 100 different nations.

According to the QS World University Ranking, at this university, a student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1; its acceptance rate stands at 10%, whereas program classes include medicines, dentistry, design business alike law and communication nursing veterinary medicine social sciences and humanities.

Yale University

Yale is amongst the most oldest Ivy League universities in America, containing more than 1200 students. It concentrates in drama and musical productions. The needed clarification is the application of a fact means Yale law program can be regarded as one of New York’s best.

As per the QS World University Ranking for 2024, it has a student-to-Faculty Ratio of 6 to 1, an Acceptance Rate of 7%, and courses in Social Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, History, Mathematics and Statistics, and Engineering.

Harvard University

Harvard stands as one of the top universities in both the United States and the world. The University boasts an exceptional faculty, cutting-edge facilities, and outstanding research contributions. Harvard's programs cater to over 20,000 students, encompassing a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies.

The 2024 QS World University Rank is a student-faculty rate of seven – to -1, an acceptance ratio of six percent and biology economics English history political science psychology social sciences as the offered courses.

Princeton University

Princeton University is a prestigious American university that belongs to the Ivy League. It has gained global recognition for its exceptional academic facilities, including extensive libraries, advanced laboratories, and an art museum located on the campus grounds. Even though Princeton offers courses in many subjects, it does not have schools of medicine, law, education, or business.

The college has a student-to-faculty ratio of 5 to 1, an acceptance rate of 7%. It offers courses in economics, English, history, molecular biology, political science, psychology, and public policy, among others.

Cornell University

Among the Ivy League colleges, Cornell is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Veterinary medicine, engineering, and hotel management programs are just a few of the University's distinguished programs.

Student to faculty ratio at this University is 9 to 1, the acceptance rate is 15%, and top courses include agricultural business, animal science, biology, economics, hotel management, human development, industrial and labor relations, mechanical engineering, and political science.

Dartmouth College 

Dartmouth College is a private institution and one of the Ivy League colleges. Its inter-college athletics and Native American presence are synonymous with the college. The arts, humanities, social sciences, and engineering are among the subjects taught in this college. The Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and Geisel School of Medicine are the three best-known institutions at this University.

The ratio of students to faculty is 7 to 1, and 11% of applicants are accepted. Some top subjects are biology, economics, engineering, English, history, political science, and psychology.

Brown University


Brown University is one of the most liberal of the Ivy League schools. The amazing thing about this institution is that students can design their own course of study.

The QS World University Ranking for 2024 has a student-to-faculty ratio of 6 to 1 and an acceptance rate of 9%. Biology, Economics, Engineering, English, Entrepreneurship, History, Human Biology, International Relations, Neuroscience, and Political Science are among the top courses offered at this University.

Check out the Ivy League universities ranking with top courses listed here: 

University QS World University Ranking 2024 Student to Faculty Ratio Acceptance Rate Top Courses
Harvard University  4 7 to 1 4.9%
  • Biology
  • Economics 
  • English
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
The University of Pennsylvania 12 6 to 1 8.1%
  • Medicine
  • Dentistry
  • Design
  • Business
  • Law
  • Communications
  • Nursing
  • Veterinary
  • Social sciences
  • Humanities
Brown University =73 6 to 1
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • English
  • Entrepreneurship
  • History
  • Human Biology
  • International Relations
  • Neuroscience 
  • Political Science
Cornell University  13

9 to 1


  • Agricultural Business 
  • Animal Science
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Hotel Management
  • Human Development
  • Industrial and Labour Relations
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Political Science
Yale University 16 6 to 1 6.6%
  • Social Sciences
  • Biological and Biomedical Science
  • History
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Engineering.
Dartmouth College =237

7 to 1


  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • English
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
Columbia University  23 6 to 1 5.3%
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomedical Science
  • Civil Engineering
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Neuroscience
  • Nursing
  • Operations Research
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
Princeton University  =17 5 to 1 5.6%
  • Economics
  • English
  • History
  • Molecular Biology
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Public Policy.

Average Annual Tuition Fee

An Ivy League is one of the most expensive universities in the United States. The final results are equally massive packages at leading US firms. It is crucial to have a list of Ivy League schools tuition fees to make an overall comparison. 

University Tuition per year (in USD)
Yale University

Bachelors - 57,700

Masters - 44,500

Brown University

Bachelors - 60,584

Masters - 60,363

University of Pennsylvania

Bachelors - 60,042

Masters - 41,763

Columbia University

Bachelors - 60,532

Masters - 51,194

Princeton University

Bachelors - 48,502

Masters - 56,470

Cornell University

Bachelors - 59,282

Masters - 30,042

Harvard University

Bachelors - 53,968

Masters - 50,654

Dartmouth College

Bachelors - 59,458

Masters - 58,120

Steps Required to Get Admission to Ivy League Universities

It is not easy to get admission to one of the eight prestigious Ivy League universities, yet it is achievable. To make it happen, you will need the following:

Identify the GPA Required to Impress the Top-Tier Universities

Each year, thousands of academically gifted students apply to Ivy League universities, making them highly competitive and having low acceptance rates. The average GPA for these schools is about 4.0, which is what is needed for admission. However, some of these schools do not make their average GPA public.

Ivy League Institutions Test Scores Requirements

When applying for a Bachelor's program at an Ivy League college, your ACT/SAT results are very significant. Make sure to be aware of the general test scores required by the school, as well as their mid-range results. Every Ivy League school has its own cutoff grade, although some may not reveal their average standardized test scores. Generally, applicants with scores that fall between the 25th and 75th percentile are thought of as competitive. But, if your scores are over the 75th percentile, you will have a greater chance of getting into an Ivy League college.

Take more advanced classes

It's essential to recognize that a perfect academic record isn't enough when applying to Ivy League universities. You need to stand apart from other applicants. Ivy League institutions often seek out students who have engaged in advanced courses, either in high school or college. They prefer to accept applicants who are determined to stretch themselves, reach for excellence, and expand their knowledge through a rigorous course load. Nevertheless, remember to ask yourself what your ultimate goals are and what you are passionate about. Make sure that whatever courses you take are helping you to reach your objectives.

Apply to universities with higher rates of admission.

To put it differently, submit applications to Ivy League colleges that are not as picky about their applicants. Among them, Cornell has the highest admission rate of 8%, contrasting with Harvard's rate of 3.19%, the least welcoming. Even though 8% is still quite competitive, there is a slightly better opportunity of being accepted into Cornell than into Harvard or Yale.


Allocate Your Time to Other Sections of the Ivy College Admission Process

When you are making an application to an Ivy League school, grades are only a part of the process. Extracurricular activities, your Statement of Purpose (SOP), and Letters of Recommendation (LORs) are also important.

  • If you have impressive extracurriculars, make sure to emphasize them; admissions committees are often looking for something unique like being an entrepreneur, breaking a world record, or being a published author.
  • A good LOR is evidence that you could be an asset to the university, so it must come from someone who knows you well and provides stories that illustrate your character and personality. 
  • Your SOP should not just be an extended version of your resume, but rather a chance to express your life, challenges, and successes. When discussing your goals, be direct and clear. Additionally, you could include an emotional element in your essay if you wish, like discussing your passion and desire to reach your objectives.

Admission Requirements for Ivy League Universities


Next, you should know about Ivy League admissions. As some of the world's top universities, Ivy League colleges are extremely competitive.

You need help finding a single approach to developing an Ivy League application since several postgraduate and doctoral programs are available. The requirements vary with the program and university. In addition, you may use College Finder to find USA universities and decide based on them.

The basic Ivy League admission requirements, however, remain the same. Here is a list of documents you would need to get into one of the Ivy League Colleges:

  • All classes from grade 9 and above require excellent academic transcripts.
  • Exceptional standardized test scores in GMAT/GRE or ACT/SAT.
  • TOEFL/ IELTS scores provide conclusive evidence of a proficient grasp of the English language
  • A recommendation letters 
  • Impactful essays
  • Proof of finance.
  • International students must have a valid passport and visa.

Before being admitted to one of the Ivy League schools and universities, you may be required to undergo an interview.

Factors to consider when applying to Ivy League universities

You must consider several things before beginning the Ivy League admission process.

Ivy League colleges, including Harvard, have higher tuition and fees than UT Austin, TAMU, and NEU. This is a very important issue.

  • Few colleges have as low an acceptance rate as Ivy League schools.
  • Universities look for students who have proven themselves outside the classroom and are excellent students – volunteering, sports, etc. Having excellent transcripts and test scores might not be enough, as these universities desire students who have demonstrated their excellence in more than just academics.
  • Check if the school fits your field of interest, as they are renowned for their academic excellence. For example, an MIT graduate in engineering will likely be a better bargain than an MBA from Harvard.
  • Ivy League schools, such as UT Austin, TAMU, and NEU, have higher tuition fees than comparable institutions. 

Scholarships offered by Ivy League universities 

The Ivy League institutions are committed to providing financial aid to make their education more accessible to all. Many admitted students can complete their studies without having to take out loans. Most Ivy League colleges do not expect their pupils to be borrowing, instead, they offer grants and scholarships that do not have to be repaid. 

Sr.No. University Scholarship Reward
1 Harvard University Reward ranges from USD $1,500 to $10,000
2 Cornell University
  • First-year undergraduate student: USD 43,250-72,800.
  • Graduate:  Up to USD 60,000
3 Princeton University Grants up to USD 77,240 
4 Columbia University The average award is $79,375.
5 Yale University The average need-based scholarship is over $50,000. 
6 Brown University Scholarships range from $1,250 – $10,000
7 University of Pennsylvania Covers 100% of tuition costs through grants, parental support, and student contributions.
8 Dartmouth College up to $500,000.

Is it beneficial to attend an Ivy League institution?

Entering an Ivy League school isn't going to be simple, yet on the off chance that you do make it, it will be justified, despite all the trouble. From getting to numerous scholarly and understudy life mentors to building selective Ivy League systems, Ivy League Universities can change your life and give you a variety of advantages.

Before you choose which school, discover if the Ivies address your uncommon necessities and think about taking an expert conclusion on which school and course to apply for. Get in touch with our experts for free at [email protected].


Ivy League Universities are highly popular among many students. When it comes to providing the world’s best education in various subjects, these colleges have consistently ranked among the best in the world. Ivy League schools excel in sports in addition to academics. They have maintained a higher education history with an exceptional track record and reputation.

There are a lot of people who want to study at an Ivy League college, but only a few are accepted. It's always worth a try if you think that's where you belong. With Edmissions help, you can finish the process easily. You can get in contact with our Edmissions specialists at  edmissions.com  for assistance!

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