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Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University
Ivy League universities are regarded as some of the most prestigious in the country. They are popular choices for college applicants looking for the best undergraduate institutions due to their reputation.
Princeton University, Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth College, Brown University, and Cornell University are among the Ivy League institutions.
Even though these schools are regarded as being extremely selective, having the best college application possible will greatly increase your chances of getting accepted. Ivy League acceptance rates, a synopsis of each institution, and practical suggestions for promoting your candidacy are all provided below.
Ivy League Acceptance Rates vs. Other Schools
Although Ivy League schools are renowned for their highly selective admissions procedures, they are not the only selective institutions. After all, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 established the Ivy League in 1954 as an athletic conference, not a designation for academic excellence.
Current Ivy League acceptance rates range from 3.9% to 8.7%. However, other top schools can fall in this range too. For example, MIT reported only 4.1% of applicants were accepted in a recent admissions cycle. Stanford is even more selective: just 3.9% of undergraduate applicants were accepted.
Top-ranked schools, whether or not they are Ivy League schools, typically have lower acceptance rates.
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This list of Ivy League schools will give you a brief description of each school, including their rank and acceptance rates. The list is ordered by U.S News World and Report’s national university ranking.
Princeton University – 4% Acceptance Rate
Princeton University ranks as the No. 1 national university. Recent class profile data reveals that 1,647 out of 37,601 undergraduate applications were admitted to Princeton. According to this data, Princeton’s undergraduate acceptance rate is 4. 4%.
The school was first chartered in 1746, making it the fourth-oldest college in the country. Since its inception, Princeton has become a household name and world-renowned research university with a commitment to undergraduate instruction.
At Princeton, students have the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) degree. In their first two years of study, the school encourages undergraduate students to explore; you can choose from 37 concentrations and over 50 interdepartmental certificate programs within its degree programs.
Harvard University – 0% Acceptance Rate
Harvard University ranks No. 2 in best national universities. In a recent admissions cycle, Harvard College received 57,786 applications and admitted 2,320 students, yielding an acceptance rate of about 4 percent. 0%.
Harvard College’s mission is to “educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society. We do this through our commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education,” beginning in the classroom. The school boasts “an undergraduate experience like no other,” citing its close-knit community, knowledgeable faculty, plentiful research opportunities, and diverse student environment.
At the core of Harvard’s academic experience is its commitment to a liberal arts and science education, offering students a broad intellectual foundation. There are over 3,700 courses in 50 undergraduate fields of study for you to choose from and personalize your undergraduate experience.
Columbia University- 9% Acceptance Rate
Columbia University is tied with Harvard for the No. 2 spot on the list of best national universities. Columbia received a total of 60,551 undergraduate applications and accepted 2,358 students for a 3.9% acceptance rate.
Columbia was chartered in 1754, making it the oldest higher learning institution in New York and the fifth-oldest in the country.
The school is home to one of the world’s most important research centers while offering quality undergraduate education to its students. The University seeks “to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.”
Undergraduate students study at Columbia College, offering more than 100 majors and concentrations. Columbia College’s “Core Curriculum” is the defining element of its academics, designed to transcend disciplines. The purpose is to “help you develop intellectual tools and habits of mind you’ll use long after you leave college, enabling you to solve multidimensional problems and find answers to profound questions that might at times seem unanswerable.”
Yale University – 6% Acceptance Rate
Yale University claims the No. 5 spot in U. S. News World and Report’s Best National Universities ranking. According to recent data, the school received 46,905 undergraduate applications, and 1,789 of them were accepted. Yale reported their acceptance rate for the cycle as 4. 6%.
Founded in 1701, Yale “is committed to improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice.” Its mission statement continues, stating that Yale strives to educate leaders globally to serve society.
Yale College aims to provide students “with an immersive, collaborative, and inspiring environment where they can develop a broadly informed, highly disciplined intellect that will help them be successful in whatever work they finally choose.”
The school offers comprehensive liberal arts and science education and ensures all students take foundational courses to open opportunities after graduation. If you’re interested in studying abroad, Yale College encourages all of its students to consider either a term, semester, or year abroad at any point in their college careers.
The University of Pennsylvania – 9% Acceptance Rate
The University of Pennsylvania takes the No. 8 spot for best national universities. A recent undergraduate admissions cycle at UPenn saw 3,304 students admitted out of 56,332 applications, for an acceptance rate of 5 percent. 9%.
The school was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin and continues to uphold its pragmatic vision through innovative learning, inclusivity, and community engagement.
“To help students become knowledgeable about the world and the complexities of modern society, aware of moral, ethical, and social issues, prepared to exercise intellectual leadership, and enlivened by the use of their minds,” is the mission statement of UPenn’s undergraduate school. Because of this, education in schools is sufficiently comprehensive to lay the groundwork for complex, critical, and creative thinking.
The university has four undergraduate schools to choose from: the College of Arts & Sciences, The Wharton School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Nursing. UPenn encourages interdisciplinary learning, offering nearly 100 majors across the four schools.
Dartmouth College – 2% Acceptance Rate
Dartmouth College is ranked No. 13 in Best National Universities. The college reported a 6.2% acceptance rate, accepting 1,749 applicants out of 28,357 applications.
Founded in 1769, Dartmouth has shaped many generations of leaders and provided them with the tools and skills they needed to succeed in any career path. The college’s powerful sense of community has paved the way for numerous beloved traditions, including the Winter Carnival, presidential debates, and Dartmouth Night and Homecoming.
Dartmouth College is built upon its core values, including the expectation of academic excellence, recruiting and admitting students from diverse backgrounds, forging lifelong bonds among faculty, staff, and students, collaboration, and providing out-of-classroom experiences like service projects and global engagement.
The college offers a flexible study plan. Students decide what they want to do for nearly half of their college career, whether its pursuing internships, studying in multiple disciplines, studying abroad, or conducting research.
Brown University – 5% Acceptance Rate
Brown University claims the No. 14 spot in the Best National Universities ranking. The university reported a 5 acceptance rate for undergraduates in the most recent admissions cycle. 5%, admitting 2,569 students out of 46,568 applicants.
Brown was founded in 1764 and has blossomed into a leading research facility focused on student-centered learning. The school’s mission is “to serve the community, the nation, and the world by discovering, communicating and preserving knowledge and understanding in a spirit of free inquiry, and by educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation.”
The university takes student-centered learning to the next level through its famous Open Curriculum: students develop their own tailored study schedule, unrestricted by most schools’ core courses. With over 2,000 courses and 80 undergraduate concentrations to choose from, Brown has something for everyone.
Cornell University – 7% Acceptance Rate
U. S. News World and Report ranks Cornell University at the No. 17 spot. According to Cornell’s most recent admissions data, 5,852 applicants were accepted out of a total of 67,380, for an acceptance rate of 8. 7%.
Cornell was founded in 1865, identifying as a private university with a public mission: “to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, to educate the next generation of global citizens, and to promote a culture of broad inquiry throughout and beyond the Cornell community.” The school strives to achieve that mission through public service to enhance the lives of students, people in the community, and members of the world.
Academically, Cornell students are encouraged to work together to advance their ideas past what they previously believed they were capable of. Over 4,000 courses, 100 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate majors, and 120 minors are available at the school.
The Ivy League: How to Get Accepted
It’s difficult to be accepted into an Ivy League university. But don’t let the low acceptance rates deter you; a strong college application will greatly increase your chances of getting accepted at any of these institutions. The following are some great suggestions to make sure your application is as strong as it can be:
Strive For a High GPA and Test Scores
Ivy League schools have strict admissions requirements, so establishing a strong foundation with a high GPA and test results can strengthen your application. Your GPA and test results demonstrate your academic prowess and readiness for college; admissions committees want to enroll students who will succeed.
Along with getting top grades and test scores, you should enroll in the most challenging course of study possible. If your school offers AP or IB classes, enrolling in them demonstrates your desire to challenge yourself as well as your mastery of challenging curricula.
Highlight Your Meaningful Extracurricular Activities
Extracurricular activities are essential to Ivy League schools. Admissions committees are interested in learning about your interests outside of the classroom and your willingness to give back to your community. Extracurricular activities and community service initiatives can take many different forms. For example, you might regularly babysit your neighbors’ children, volunteer as a tutor at your neighborhood elementary school, or work at an animal shelter.
Logan Powell, dean of admissions at Brown University, said the type of extracurricular activity you partake in doesn’t necessarily matter. He said, “Have they learned time management skills, leadership, teamwork, discipline? How have they grown as a person and what qualities will they bring to our campus?” If you can answer these questions based on your experiences, you’ve lily engaged in meaningful work outside the class.
Secure Strong Recommendation Letters
Recommendation letters offer an insider third-party perspective on your application. They successfully convey to the admissions committees that you are a top student, have admirable character traits, and possess the abilities necessary to succeed in an Ivy League setting.
Before the application deadline, request letters of recommendation from your recommenders and give them background information, such as your resume and a list of your accomplishments. Instead of choosing the teacher whose class you aced, choose one with whom you have a stronger relationship (although it helps if they are the same).
Don’t Neglect the Supplemental Essays
Even though you’ve already written a personal essay for the Common Application or Coalition Application, supplemental essays serve as the heart and soul of your application, further humanizing it. Supplemental essays usually become more school-specific and discuss your reasons for choosing a particular Ivy League institution.
You’ll need to say much more in your essays than, “I want to attend X because it’s a good school,” “Dig deeper: What courses excite you the most? What programs most interest you? What clubs do you plan to join if admitted?
Consider all the exciting aspects of an Ivy League education and how your experience has helped you prepare for college. If you write down all of these suggestions, you’ll be sure to choose a compelling subject and produce an essay that is well-written.
Consider Seeking an Admissions Consultants Help
Getting into any of the Ivies is tough. You are no longer on your own during the application process if you seek the assistance of an admission consultant. Admissions specialists are knowledgeable about Ivy League schools and know how to tailor applications in a way that will stand out. You’re sure to have a better chance of admission with the assistance of an admission consultant and a masterfully written application!
Ivy League Acceptance Rate FAQs
According to recent data, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate among Ivy League schools.
Is it worth applying to Ivy League schools?
It’s easy to get caught up in the low acceptance rates and feel a little discouraged, but applying is always worthwhile if you want to attend an Ivy League school. However, don’t get too hung up on these statistics. Every year, a large number of students nationwide are accepted into Ivy League institutions. Why can’t you be one of them if your application is excellent and is ready to be submitted?
Should I apply early decision for a better shot at admission?
Historically, students are more likely to get accepted when they apply through the Ivies’ early decision programs. However, that’s not because they applied earlier than other applicants, but because “Early applicants tend to have more competitive credentials than applicants who submit their materials later, according to Ivy League admissions officials.”
Can I afford an Ivy League education?
Tuition can be expensive, especially at top-ranked universities. Ivy League schools understand this and remove some financial barriers for accepted students. For example, Princeton covers 100% of tuition and room and board for students whose families earn up to $65,000 annually.
Check each school’s website to see if you qualify for a reduced cost of education if you need financial aid.
When will I know if I’m accepted?
If you applied via regular decision, you’ll typically hear back from colleges in late March or April. If you submitted an early decision application, you should hear about your admissions status in December or January.
What do I do if I get rejected?
If you are rejected, it hurts and may take some time for you to process. Although there are thousands of applicants each cycle, the Ivy League schools only have a small number of seats available, so being rejected doesn’t necessarily mean your application wasn’t strong enough.
You are free to accept a different offer from a different school if you receive a rejection letter. If you think it would be best for you, you could even attempt to transfer to an Ivy League school midway through your college career.
You always have the option to take a gap year and reapply during subsequent admissions cycles if you don’t want to accept another offer. High school graduates frequently take a gap year to travel abroad, look for internships, get full- or part-time jobs, or engage in more volunteer work.
If you want to continue your education or pursue a career after graduation, an Ivy League education will undoubtedly equip you with the knowledge and abilities you need to be successful. Despite historically low acceptance rates, you can increase your chances of acceptance by creating a strong application.
Before submitting an application to an Ivy League school, make sure you’ve worked hard to raise your GPA, achieve high test scores, obtain stellar recommendations, and commit to telling compelling stories in your supplemental essays. Additionally, an admissions consultant can assist in enhancing your application and instilling in you the self-assurance you need to submit an application to any Ivy League university.
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Ivy League acceptance rates dip to new low for Class of 2026
Which is the easiest Ivy League to get into?
All Ivy League schools are extremely competitive, but Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate of all Ivies, so it would probably be regarded as the easiest to get into. As of fall 2021, Cornell’s acceptance rate for first-year applicants was 9% Most other Ivies have acceptance rates of around 4-6%.
Which Ivy League has highest acceptance rate?
According to recent data, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate among Ivy League schools.
Which Ivy League is the hardest to get into?
Harvard University — 3. 19% With a record-low admission rate of just 3. 19% for the class of 2026, Harvard currently ranks as the most difficult school to get into This rate reflects acceptance to Harvard College, the undergraduate program at an Ivy League university.
Which Ivy League has the lowest acceptance rate?
Harvard is the Ivy League school with the lowest acceptance rate. With an average acceptance rate of around 4. 8% (based on numbers over the last ten years), Harvard is the hardest Ivy League to get into