Ivy League Universities: List of Universities, Rankings, Admission Tips

The term “Ivy League” is often used in movies, news, networking circles, and would certainly have cropped up in your USA university search.  Ivy League refers to a group of eight elite academic institutions situated in the North-east of USA. What makes these educational institutions elite is their academic excellence and selectivity in admissions.

What is Ivy League?

Originally, Ivy League was the name given to the American collegiate athletic conference that comprised of sports teams of eight private educational institutions of the USA. However, with time, the term ‘Ivy League’ began to be associated with these eight universities even outside the sports context. The term has been around since 1933 but it became official with the formation of National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1954. All these eight universities receive millions of dollars in research grants from federal and state governments, thus enabling them to provide many resources and facilities to their academic programs and research endeavours.

Ivy League Colleges

In alphabetical order, the eight schools in the Ivy League with their locations are:

  • Brown University – Providence, Rhode Island
  • Columbia University – New York City, New York
  • Cornell University – Ithaca, New York
  • Dartmouth College – Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Princeton University – Princeton, New Jersey
  • University of Pennsylvania – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Yale University – New Haven, Connecticut


UniversityQS World University Ranking 2019
Brown University56
Columbia University16
Cornell University14
Dartmouth College183
Harvard University3
Princeton University13
University of Pennsylvania19
Yale University15

What makes Ivy League schools different from other colleges in the USA?

Firstly, it’s the reputation that separates Ivy League from the rest of the universities in the USA. Employers worldwide recognize these prestigious colleges, thus leading to higher employment rates, higher starting salaries, and more networking opportunities for students who graduate from Ivy League institutions.

The elite reputation also means that the schools are extremely tough to get in. Acceptance rates are barely in the tens of percentages. While Cornell has the highest acceptance rate of 10%, Harvard and Columbia sit at 4.6 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

In comparison, other highly reputed private and public universities in the USA have acceptance rates at around 20 – 30%.

Admission tips for international student planning to study abroad in the US

  • Start your preparation well in advance. Know the admission requirements, entrance preparation schedule, and work towards reaching your full potential as a prospective student at your dream Ivy League school.
  • Get all your documents ready – student visa for USA, GMAT/GRE scores, recommendations, application essays, resume
  • In your application, discuss your extra-curricular activities, your passions, and your reasons to enroll in the university for MS or MBA in the USA.

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