Ivy League Colleges
Ivy League schools or colleges are known as the most prestigious schools in the United States. In fact, these schools have a reputation, not just within the US but also around the world, as the most competitive educational institutions, accepting only elite students. First of all, I would like to specify that I have spoken with international students from many different countries, and almost none of them have had more than peripheral knowledge of these schools. I usually get only short answers stating that they are successful schools, and they are very difficult to get into. I may then get hesitant expressions, such as “I think the schools are in the top fifty, or is it the top twenty”. In this article, I would like to briefly examine the Ivy League schools in the US and focus on misinformation about these schools.
First of all, let us state that the school rankings in the US are made by independent organizations. Harvard University usually stands out as the best school, but actually the rankings of academic majors are much more realistic. For example, Harvard University’s medical school has a lower ranking compared to Johns Hopkins University’s medical school. But in general, Johns Hopkins is ranked as the thirteenth best university. While Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology have the best-ranked engineering departments, the University of Chicago is far ahead in the social sciences. Incidentally, the most popular rankings for schools are prepared by US News & World Report. Since 1983, it has been known primarily for its influential ranking and annual reports of colleges and graduate schools, spanning across most fields and subjects.
Let’s get to the Ivy League schools. “Ivy” refers to the climbing plant, and “league” refers to the league in which sports competitions are organized. Universities naturally have sports teams in different athletic divisions, and these teams compete with the teams of other universities at certain periods. Of course, when the number of schools in the US was high, hundreds of leagues were established. The Ivy League was officially established in 1954. This league’s schools included (1) Harvard University, (2) Princeton University, (3) Yale University, (4) Cornell University, (5) University of Pennsylvania, (6) Dartmouth University, (7) Brown University, (8) Columbia University. The reason this league is called the Ivy League is simple: the name refers to the ivy covering old stone buildings. We should note that there are 33 different divisions in the league.
The prestige of these schools is global, and all of these schools are in the top fifteen in the rankings in the US. Harvard usually comes first, followed by Princeton University. Yale is right behind them. Brown University is the last among these schools, which, as noted, does not fall below fifteenth. The budgets of these schools are as impressive as their reputations. The smallest budget belongs to Brown, at $4.2 billion. Harvard University’s annual budget is around $41 billion. The total annual budget of these eight schools exceeds 125 billion dollars. Acceptance rates range from 5% to 14%.
With the exception of Cornell, all of the Ivy League schools were opened in colonial times. If we consider that Cornell University was founded in 1865, you can understand how long the history of these schools is. Ivy League schools do not actually have very large student populations. There are between 6,400 and 20,000 students in these eight schools. The average international student population at Ivy League schools is around 13%.
Let’s end our blog with some interesting statistics. Both Columbia University and Yale University only grant admissions to students who reach the 3% tier at their high schools. Strangely, the school with the lowest acceptance rate in the US is not one of these schools. With an acceptance rate of 4%, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia is in first place among the most selective schools. Dartmouth University is the only Ivy League school that did not discontinue classes during the American Civil War. Princeton University’s 2015 alumni include students from 138 different nationalities. Rhode Island University was renamed Brown University after a donation of $5,000 by Nicolas Brown in 1804. At that time, the tuition fee was $5 a year. Columbia University is situated on an area of six blocks in Manhattan. Therefore, Columbia University is by far the largest landowner in New York City, owning 209 properties.
Remember, with a good preparation and consultancy process, you can get accepted at, and receive substantial scholarships from, multiple universities—including Ivy League schools.
Erkan Acar, PhD
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