Ivy League Schools

College Admissions Information for Some of the Most Elite U.S. Universities

Harvard.jpg
Harvard University. Getty Images | Paul Manilou

The eight Ivy League schools are some of the most selective colleges in the United States, and they also rank among the country's top private universities. Each one of these universities has top-ranked academics and an award-winning faculty. The members of the Ivy League can also boast of beautiful and historic campuses.

If you're planning to apply to any of the Ivy League schools, be realistic about your chances of being admitted. Any university with single-digit acceptance rates should be considered a reach school, even if your grades and standardized test scores are on target for admission.​ SAT scores and ACT scores for the Ivy League tend to be in the top percentile or two. Using a free tool at Cappex, you can calculate your chances of being admitted.

Brown University

Brown University
Brown University. Barry Winiker / Photolibrary / Getty Images

With a rich history dating to 1764, Brown University is the second smallest of the Ivies, and the school has more of an undergraduate focus than universities such as Harvard and Yale. The university's urban campus sits adjacent to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), one of the nation's top art schools, and students can easily cross-register between the two institutions. The Brown admissions process can be a bit daunting with the school's single-digit acceptance rate.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location Providence, Rhode Island
Enrollment 10,257 (7,043 undergraduates)
Acceptance Rate 8%
Student / Faculty Ratio  6 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Columbia University

Columbia University
.Martin. / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Located in Upper Manhattan, Columbia can be an excellent choice for students looking for a top-ranked university in an urban environment. Columbia is one of the largest of the Ivies, and it has a close relationship with neighboring Barnard College, one of the nation's top women's colleges. Columbia admissions are among the most selective in the country, and straight "A"s and near perfect SAT scores are not always enough to get an acceptance letter. Many graduate programs are also highly selective, and the university is home to an excellent medical school, law school, business school, engineering school, and numerous other programs.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location New York, New York
Enrollment 31,077 (8,216 undergraduates)
Acceptance Rate 6%
Student / Faculty Ratio  6 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Cornell University

Cornell University Sage Hall
Upsilon Andromedae / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cornell's hillside location in Ithaca, New York, (one of the best college towns) gives it stunning views of Cayuga Lake. The university has one of the top engineering schools and top hotel management programs in the country. It also has the largest undergraduate population of all the Ivy League schools. Cornell University admissions may appear slightly less selective than the other Ivies, but don't be fooled. You're still going to need an exceptional academic record, high standardized test scores, and impressive extracurricular activities to be admitted.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location Ithaca, New York
Enrollment 23,600 (15,182 undergraduates)
Acceptance Rate 11%
Student / Faculty Ratio  9 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College
Eli Burakian / Dartmouth College

If you want a quintessential college town with its central green and charming restaurants, cafés, and bookstores, Dartmouth's home of Hanover, New Hampshire, should be appealing. Dartmouth is the smallest of the Ivies, but don't be fooled by its name: It is a comprehensive university, not a "college." The attractive Dartmouth campus is home to a business school, medical school, and engineering school. Dartmouth admissions, like most of the Ivies, has a single-digit acceptance rate.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location Amherst, Massachusetts
Enrollment 1,191 (all undergraduate)
Acceptance Rate 63%
Student / Faculty Ratio  10 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Harvard University

Harvard Square
Chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The second most selective and arguably the most prestigious university in the country, Harvard University has been around for longer than the United States has been a country. Since its founding in 1636, the school has grown into a world center for research supported by a $40 billion endowment. Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with dozens of other colleges and universities in the Boston area, Harvard University is home to numerous highly ranked graduate schools in areas such as medicine, government, engineering, business, dentistry, and religion. The selectivity of Harvard admissions is topped only by Stanford University with its 4% acceptance rate.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts
Enrollment 31,566 (9,950 undergraduates)
Acceptance Rate 5%
Student / Faculty Ratio  7 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Princeton University

Princeton University
Princeton University, Office of Communications, Brian Wilson

Princeton's New Jersey location makes both New York City and Philadelphia an easy day trip, and rail access makes internships in either city a possibility for students. Like Dartmouth, Princeton is on the smaller side and has more of an undergraduate focus than many of the Ivies. Princeton admissions gets more and more selective every year, and the school's acceptance rate currently matches Harvard's. The school's 500-acre campus with its stone towers and Gothic arches frequently ranks as one of the most beautiful campuses in the country. Sitting on the edge of Lake Carnegie, Princeton is home to numerous flower gardens and tree-lined walks.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location Princeton, New Jersey
Enrollment 8.374 (5,428 undergraduates)
Acceptance Rate 5%
Student / Faculty Ratio  5 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania
InSapphoWeTrust / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Penn is one of the larger Ivy League schools, and it has a roughly equal population of undergraduate and graduate students. Its campus in West Philadelphia is just a short walk to Center City. Penn's Wharton School is one of the top business schools in the country, and the university is also home to one of the nation's top medical schools. If you look a UPenn admissions statistics, you'll see that the school's relatively large undergraduate population doesn't make it any less selective than other Ivy League schools.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Enrollment 25,860 (11,851 undergraduate)
Acceptance Rate 8%
Student / Faculty Ratio  6 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Yale University

Yale University
Yale University / Michael Marsland

A quick glance at Yale admissions statistics reveals that it is close to Harvard and Stanford with its painfully low acceptance rate. Yale also has an even larger endowment than Harvard when measured in relation to enrollment numbers. The university's strengths are many, and it is home to top schools in art, medicine, business, and law. Yale's system of residential colleges is modeled after Oxford and Cambridge, and nestled among the campus's stunning architecture is the unique and windowless Beinecke Library.

Fast Facts (2018)
Location New Haven, Connecticut
Enrollment 13,433 (5,964 undergraduates)
Acceptance Rate 6%
Student / Faculty Ratio  6 to 1
Source: National Center for Education Statistics