Everything You Wanted to Know About Ivy League Universities

By Subhashri Roy Updated On - Dec 01, 2021 06:43 PM

What is the Ivy League really and what GPA do you need to get into an Ivy League school? Find out everything about the Ivy League and what it really takes to get into an Ivy League school.

Well, who does not want to get into an Ivy League school! But, do we really know everything about The Ivy League, how it came about and what makes Ivy League schools so selective and difficult to get into?

Located in the Northeastern United States, Ivy League schools have been known to produce Nobel Prize winners, future presidents, and other high-achieving graduates. The title "Ivy League" itself separates the eight universities from the pack. Top recruiters always target Ivies because they are known to churn out the best in the market. 

Among the many things that Ivy League schools are popular for, one thing that they have been infamous for is their acceptance rates. So, how do you really stand out in an Ivy League application pool, how are Ivy League schools any different from other top-ranked schools and is attending an Ivy League school even worth it? Let’s find right out!

Connect With Ivy League Counsellors to Kickstart Your Ivy Application!

The Ivy League - An Overview

What is the Ivy League exactly? Find answers to all your Ivy League questions here in this table below:

Establishment Year of Ivy League


Number of Ivy Leagues


Average Tuition Fee for International Students


Top Benefits

World-class faculty, Lifelong network, brand recognition

Names of Ivy League Universities

Harvard University

Yale University

Princeton University

Columbia University

Brown University

Dartmouth College

University of Pennsylvania

Cornell University

Oldest Ivy League University

Harvard University (1636)

Newest Ivy League University

Cornell University (1865)

Average Acceptance Rate


Average GPA


Also Read: How to Increase Your Chances of Admission into Popular US Universities

What is The Ivy League?

The term “Ivy League’ was introduced in 1954, when the NCAA athletic conference for Division I was formed. A group of colleges and universities in the northeastern part of the country, Harvard, Yale, Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell are members of an athletic conference for intercollegiate American football and other sports called the Ivy League. The Ivy League schools have been participating in sports as long as intercollegiate sports have existed in the US. 

Seven of the Ivies are older than the American Revolution, Cornell was established after the American Civil War, making it the youngest member of the Ivy League. All of the Ivy League schools are private with undergraduate enrolments ranging from 4,000 to 14,000. Total enrollments range between around 6,100 to more than 20,000 every year. 

List of Ivy League Universities: Tuition Fees, Acceptance Rate, Salary & Graduate Rate

Here is the list of Ivy League schools along with their average annual tuition, acceptance rates, salaries after 10 years of graduation and graduation rates: 

Name of University

Average Tuition Fees

Average Salary after 10 Years of Graduation

Acceptance Rate

Graduation Rate

Harvard University

Undergraduate - $53,968

Graduate - $50,654




Brown University

Undergraduate - $60,584

Graduate - $60,363




Princeton University

Undergraduate - $48,502

Graduate - $56,470




University of Pennsylvania

Undergraduate - $60,042

Graduate - $41,760




Yale University

Undergraduate - $57,700

Graduate- $44,500




Dartmouth College

Undergraduate - $59,458

Graduate - $58,120




Cornell University

Undergraduate - $59,282

Graduate - $30,042




Columbia University

Undergraduate - $60,532

Graduate - $51,194




How to Get into Ivy League Schools?

If you are dreaming of getting into one of the eight elite Ivy League schools, then you must already know that it is not going to be easy. But, it sure is doable. So, here’s what it really takes to get into the Ivy League:

Know the GPA You Need to Impress Ivy League Schools: Quite simply, given that thousands of outstanding students apply to Ivy League schools every year, these schools get the chance the best of the best. Also, their acceptance rates are low. Now, coming to Ivy Schools’ GPAs, many choose not to release their average GPAs. But, if you look at the average GPA required by all of the Ivies, the average stands at around 4.0. That’s what you need to achieve when it comes to getting into an Ivy League school. 

Know What Test Scores are Required for the Ivy League School: Your ACT/SAT scores (for Bachelor’s) or GMAT/GRE (for Master’s) play a crucial role in Ivy League admissions. Make sure to learn about the average test scores required by the school along with their mid-range test scores. Each Ivy League school would have a different cutoff although some schools choose not to release their average standardised test scores. 

On average, students with scores within the 25th to 75th percentile range are considered competitive for admission. However, if you have scores above the 75th percentile, you would have a higher chance of getting into an Ivy. 

You Should Have Taken Advanced Courses: Let’s face it! Even straight A’s are not going to be enough when applying to Ivies. You have got to stand out. Ivy Leagues often look for students who have taken advanced courses, be it in high school or undergraduate studies. They like to admit students who are keen to grow, achieve excellence and pursue intellectual growth through tough course load. 

However, while doing so, you should not forget what you are actually interested in. Always ask yourself what you would eventually like to do or in which field you would like to pursue a career in, or does this course interest you at all. Make sure you are doing courses that will help your journey. 

Apply to Ivies With Higher Acceptance Rates: In other words, apply to Ivy Leagues that are comparatively less-selective. Cornell is the least selective with the highest acceptance rate, at 11%, whereas Harvard has the lowest acceptance rate of around 5%. Although 11% is still quite competitive, there is a slightly higher chance of you getting accepted to Cornell than to Harvard or Yale. 

Invest Your Time in Other Areas of College Application: Grades are only one part of your college application process. Extracurricular activities, your SOP, LORs often play a huge role in your college application. 

  • Extracurricular Activities: If you have extracurricular activities that you are proud of, bring them to the forefront of your applicant. Highlight them specifically. Admissions committees at Ivies are often on the hunt for an “it factor” which could eventually be anything that makes you different. For instance, an entrepreneur, world record winner or a published author. 

  • Letters of Recommendation: A good and positive letter of recommendation is proof for the Ivy League school to know that you could be a valuable addition to their community. So, make sure this task is given you have spent time with or have a good relationship with. Your LOR should have clear and powerful insight into your character and personality. The best way to make your LOR good enough is to ask the recommender to talk about interactions and stories about you instead of just general statements about your grades or achievements. 

  • Statement of Purpose or College Essays: The first rule? Don’t make it another version of your resume. An SOP is your chance to talk about yourself, your life, the challenges you faced, how passionate you are, what kind of efforts you made and even if you failed in something important, how did you take it or what did you learn from it. Your SOP is the best place to show what impact or effect you have made in the field you are in or on society. Try and show instead of telling it directly or it might sound meaningless. When it comes to your career goals and how the university or the program could lead you to them, keep it lucid. Your SOP should be more about your immediate goal of pursuing the degree you have applied to. Make sure you are pointing out your goals directly, which you should have a clear idea about before applying. Lastly, if you deem fit, incorporate an emotional component in your college essay when applying to an Ivy League. This only means talking about the passion you have and your desire to accomplish your goals. 

Also Read: Best Time to Apply for Masters Degree in the US

Are Ivy League Schools Worth it?

Getting into an Ivy League university is not going to be easy but if you do get in, it is certainly going to be worth it. From getting access to various academic and student life advisors to building exclusive Ivy League networks, an Ivy League university can change your life and offer you a wide range of benefits. 

That said, US universities with lower tuition fees also offer almost an equal standard of academic excellence. Let us name some Ivy League equivalents or the Public Ivies right here: William & Mary, UC Berkeley, University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This list was further expanded in the 2001 book “ Greenes’ Guides to Educational Planning” to include universities like Indiana University Bloomington, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Washington and the University of Georgia.

Need Expert Guidance to Write SOP for Your Ivy League Application?

While every Ivy League school charges over $50,000 annually in tuition and fees, many of the Pubic Ivies charge only around $10,000. 

Find out if the Ivies meet your unique requirements and always consider taking an expert opinion on which college and course to apply for. Our Ivy League counsellors are on board to not just find the perfect fit for you but also guide you through the entire admissions process. Get in touch with our counsellors for free at abroad@collegedekho.com.

You can share this post!

Admission 2022

Drew University

Madison, USA

University of Kansas

Lawrence, USA

University of Dayton

Dayton, USA

Related News

Related Institutes

Planning to study abroad?

Contact Us

We’re here to help!

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.

Interested in Studying Overseas?

Connect with us and kickstart your learning journey for a rewarding experience!

  • +971

By proceeding ahead you expressly agree to the CollegeDekho terms of use & privacy policy.