What Are Ivy League Universities and Why Should I Care?

If you’ve watched most movies about American college life, a large majority of them take place a big-name, elite universities. Animal House, Legally Blonde, A Beautiful Mind, Good Will Hunting—all showcase the strange parties and characters that exist within the walls of these highly respected institutions.

These prestigious universities are often grouped under the label 'Ivy League', and their history is quite interesting and important to American higher education. If you are considering an applying to a Master’s in the United states, here are some essential things you need about these Ivy League Schools. 

Which American schools are Ivy League Universities?

Ivy League universities began as a group association of eight highly competitive athletic colleges, namely:

As their athletic teams began to attract more funding and gained popularity, the standards for student performance and admission became increasingly more demanding and rigorous.

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As a result, since the 1960s, these Ivy League Colleges gained a widespread reputation for producing graduates with high academic performances, social prestige, and promising career futures. Even today, these universities maintain their reputation, and they have a large presence among the top-ranked universities in the U.S. 

They are joined in this position by StanfordM.I.T., and Caltech — schools that are not technically Ivy League universities, but tend to enjoy a similar reputation and social status.

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Why Should I Care about the Ivy League Universities?

When you’re beginning your search for undergraduate and graduate degrees, these universities are likely to be the first to attract your attention, for many reasons.

Firstly, they use a lot of resources to attract smart, hard-working, and career-minded students—like you--from all over the world. Secondly, it’s no secret that these schools strongly help students in their professional careers. Looking to several fields, extending from Law and Medicine, to Electrical Engineering and Business, the Ivy League universities truly dominate these categories. Getting a degree from these schools will open a lot of doors for you in the future.

However, these schools also tend to be among the most expensive schools in the U.S., with tuition rates averaging between $55,000 and $60,000 per year. Luckily, they also offer great scholarships to their best of the best students. You might be one of them! 

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3 things to know before you apply to an Ivy League school

  1. Admission to these elite schools is highly competitive; you’ll need to achieve standards that are much higher than the ones at any average public university.
  2. Remember to check the admission requirement carefully,  including test scores (SAT, GRELSATGPA), recommendations, extra-curricular activities, and other academic achievements. They matter!
  3. You should keep in mind, though, that there are thousands of universities in the U.S., and several of them have high rankings and lower tuition costs. This is why, when searching for universities, you should really seek the perfect fit that suits your personal needs.

If you dream of running a major corporation, hold public office in government, or gain a strong advantage in research and innovation, an Ivy League university is probably the best option. These schools have historically been a breeding-ground for high achievers. But it is equally OK to attend another school in the USA – public or private.  Many other schools are recognised worldwide for their quality education. 

If you've already graduated from a university, you can help future students find their perfect studies as well. Give them a hand by writing a short review describing your experience and make their choice easier. Sharing is caring!

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