What Is an Ivy League School?

What terms come to mind when you hear “Ivy League”? Do you think about academics? Sports or enormous cost? Just what is an Ivy League school?

The Ivy League actually refers to an NCAA Division I sports conference comprised of eight schools located in the New England area.

 John Carter Brown Library at Brown University  Credit: chensiyuan under CC 4.0.

John Carter Brown Library at Brown University Credit: chensiyuan under CC 4.0.

Along with their competitive sports programs, the Ivy League schools are also known for their academic excellence. Students wishing to get into one of these prestigious schools must have excellent grades and work hard through the admissions process.

While each of the schools has very low admissions rates, Harvard is the “toughest” Ivy to get into with only a 5.6% acceptance rate. On the other hand, the “easiest” Ivy League to get into would be Cornell with just over a 15% acceptance rate.

The eight Ivy League schools are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University.

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Below is a list of Ivy League schools and a bit of information about each one.

Brown University

Ranked #17 overall at College Factual, Brown University was founded in 1764 in Providence, Rhode Island. Today, Brown has just under 10,000 students. Students typically have a SAT score of 1510 or ACT score of 32.

Columbia University

Columbia University is one of the oldest Ivy League schools having been formed in 1754 as King’s College. Columbia is located in New York City, New York and has a student population of over 27,000 students, making this one of the larger Ivy League schools. Similar to Brown, Columbia students have an average SAT score of 1510 and ACT of 33. Columbia has a 6.6% acceptance rate. College Factual ranks Columbia at #27 in the nation.

Cornell University

Cornell University is located in Ithaca, New York and has a student population of about 23,000 students. Cornell ranks #11 in the nation and #1 in New York according to College Factual. Students must have great SAT and ACT scores, although slightly lower than other Ivy League schools. Average SAT and ACT scores for Cornell are 1480 and 32 respectively.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College ranks high at College Factual coming in at #12 in the nation and #1 in New Hampshire. The average SAT and ACT scores for students entering Dartmouth are 1490 and 32 respectively. Dartmouth is located in the small city of Hanover, New Hampshire.

Harvard University

With the best ranking of all Massachusetts colleges and coming in #2 in the nation, Harvard is a very prestigious school where only the best students can attend. Harvard is one of the most selective universities in the country with a low acceptance rate of just 5.6%. The average SAT score is 1530 and the average ACT score is 34 making this a very difficult university to get in.

Princeton University

Princeton University is ranked top school in New Jersey and #19 nationwide according to College Factual. While not quite as selective as Harvard, students aspiring to be accepted to Princeton must have a high SAT score of 1520 or ACT score of 34 to compete.

The University of Pennsylvania

Located in the heart of historic Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania takes the top spot in best Pennsylvania colleges and comes in at #4 nationwide. The acceptance rate for the University of Pennsylvania is higher than most Ivy League schools coming in at just over 10%. The average SAT and ACT scores for students accepted is 1510 and 32 respectively.

Yale University

Yale is notable for a number of reasons – College Factual ranks it #6 in the country for best colleges, and it is one of the oldest schools in the country having been founded in 1701. Located in New Haven Connecticut, Yale is very selective when it comes to accepting students. Yale only accepted about 6.7% of the applicants in the entering class of 2016. As you’d expect, the average SAT and ACT scores are quite high with the average SAT score of 1540 and average ACT score of 33.

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