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Ivy League Universities

There are 8 Ivy League universities in America, all based on the East coast and they are globally recognised with top-notch international reputations.

If you are considering applying to any of these highly regarded universities, bear in mind the following:

The cost: their course fees are quite expensive when compared to others and the East coast is not a cheap place to live, eat and sleep

The grades, qualifications and extra curriculum requirements you will need: to say they are over-subscribed is an under-statement. This means they can pick and choose the best applicants only

Their admission acceptances are on average under 10%. This means 90% of students who apply don’t get a place, so make sure you choose other universities as well in your ‘apply list’.  

You can apply to any of the 8 ivy league institutions with the Common Application but only Cornell, Harvard and Princeton Universities accept the Universal College Application.  If you’re still committed and passionate about applying let’s look at each one in detail. 

Brown University

This is one of the smaller Ivy League universities with only 6,580 undergraduates, 2,255 graduate students and 545 medical school students.

It is primarily a humanities and sciences institution with the majority of class sizes being 20 students or less. Tuition fees for 18/19 are currently $54,320 and academic scholarships are available. 

Columbia University

Columbia is the most selective college in front of Stanford and Harvard for application rates with only 6% of admissions accepted.

It offers a wide range of college undergraduate majors from physics, medicine and law to arts, social work and journalism.

In 2019 its student numbers were 25, 968 but only 6,162 of these were undergraduates; the majority being graduate and professional students.

Their tuition fees differ depending on courses; ranging from $26,090 for Columbia College undergraduate courses to $76,788 for dentistry undergraduate study. 

Cornell University

There are 15,182 undergraduates with 7 different colleges within the university ranging from Agriculture and Life Sciences through Arts and Sciences to Engineering and Human Ecology.

When applying you will need to submit an additional essay as well as your Universal College Application or Common Application essay

The tuition fees alone for non-NY state residents are $54, 818 and scholarships are awarded on need only and not for sport or academic achievements.  

Dartmouth College

This is a liberal arts college with 57 different majors and 1,000 independent study courses to choose from. This is the smallest of the Ivy League Universities with only 4, 410 undergraduates. Its tuition fees last year were $55,035 but it heavily promotes its student debt to be one of the lowest in the country due its financial aid package offers.

Harvard University

Harvard is a very research focused university and 20,604 students are annually enrolled at Harvard in Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Continuing Education.

Although the tuition fees for non-NY state residents are set at $50,420 and $67,580 if you include room, board and other fees as well, Harvard is very forthright at promoting the fact that 70% of their students receive some form of financial aid to support these fees.

When applying there is a significant emphasis placed on extra curriculum activities, skills and talents as well as top academic achievement grades. 

Princeton University

Princeton’s 5,394 undergraduates study mainly courses on humanities, social and natural sciences, and engineering across its 6 colleges.

Its admission rate of 7.4% is about average for these universities. It is a very community focused, close-knit university with more than 98% of students living on campus.

Although its course tuition fees are set at $47,140, around 60% of undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. 

University of Pennsylvania

Their current acceptance rate for admissions at 10.4% is one of the highest for these Ivy League universities.

It has 12 Penn schools with a student population of 21,907 of which 10,033 are undergraduates. It offers hundreds of degree programmes across nearly every arts and sciences you can name, along with significant sports investment.

Tuition fees for 18/19 are $55, 584 for undergraduate students but it is the largest university in the country to offer an all grant (not loan) financial aid program.

Yale University

Yale comprises of 5,746 undergraduates across 12 schools with over 2,000 undergraduate majors offered across all arts and sciences.

Yale is classified as the most selective of the Ivy League universities with an admission acceptance rate of 6.7% last year.

The undergraduate fees differ across the 12 schools but on average are $53, 430.  

Other league tables

There are numerous US and world university league tables out there which include the rankings for Ivy Leaguers.  

US News and World Report rank the top two as Princeton and Harvard, but the 8 Ivy League universities are not always the top 8 of all US universities.

Yale and University of Chicago come joint third alongside MIT. The lowest ranked is Cornell at number 16. However in the QS World University Rankings other US non Ivy League universities e.g. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, out rank them and Stanford University is also at a very similar level.

These rankings are an average based on several factors; student retention, graduation rates and quality of teaching. There are separate rankings available just for admission rates which puts Cornell at the top with an admission rate of 13% in 2018.

Business Insider, another league table ranks them according to 6 different criteria including student life, affordability and job prospects. It puts Harvard at the top and Brown at the bottom.

In a nutshell it means that the Ivy League universities, whichever ranking you check, are all top US universities, have very low admission acceptance rates, high tuition fees and will offer an exceptional quality education which is internationally renowned. For more information, please take a look at our College Rankings section, as well as our U.S.A Studying Abroad guide.