Everything you need to know about the Ivy League

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There are universities, and then there is the Ivy League. A family of eight universities, the Ivy Leagues are academically demanding and rigorous, yet lead to the most fruitful careers and an elite social standing. But what is it about these universities that make it a prestige to even get admission, let alone graduate from them? Find out more –

What is an Ivy League?                             

The ‘Ivy League’ is a collegiate athletic conference made up of eight of the most prestigious private universities in the United States – Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth University, Yale University, Brown University, and Cornell University. However, the term ‘Ivy League’ has significance beyond sports, in academic brilliance, faculty par excellence and social elitism. The word ‘ivy’ is used in reference to the group of colleges part of this league. As their athletic teams began to generate more endowments, funding, and popularity, the standards for student performance and admission became increasingly more demanding and rigorous.

What makes them so special?

The walls of these universities house highly intellectual individuals from across the world. The universities also dominate in the fields of Law, Medicine, Engineering and Business. They are a breeding ground for historically significant faces, Noble laureates, corporate giants, award winning-professionals, and more. The faculty here are at the top of their game professionally, many of whom are world-renowned. Their course curriculums are the best-structured of all universities in the world, but at the same time the most challenging to keep up with. Yet, graduates at these universities find themselves some top-notch careers at major corporations, or become pioneers of research and innovations. Graduates also hold public office in governments, and a number of US presidents are proud alumni.

Initially, students at the Ivy Leagues were known to come from high-class and upper-middle class families. But today, people from all strata of society have found their way in.

How can you get in?

The Ivy Leagues, by nature, are known to have the lowest acceptance rates than any other university in the world, with Harvard University at the lowest. The standards for acceptance are higher, and the cost, even higher! Admittedly, it takes a lot of hard work, grit and determination to have a successful application to these universities. Here are the main points to keep in mind –

  • As the Ivy Leagues house the brightest lot of students, make sure that your grades are consistent and upto the mark, both at the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • The tuition fees you’d have to pay here are astronomical, averaging upto $60,000 dollars per year. It is important to have a solid financial backing, but if you have exceptional grades, a scholarship will be able to ease your burden.
  • Don’t just bank on your academic achievements. The universities give a strong emphasis to extra-curricular activities as well. This includes your involvement in school/college programs, sporting events, clubs, or even social service.
  • Check the admission requirements for the university before applying, and have all important materials in place. The most important are your entrance test scores (SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.) as each university has a unique requirement. Set your targets accordingly.
  • Keep in mind that an Ivy League university is not your golden ticket. If either of these universities do not have what you’re looking for, simply look at other universities that suit your needs. There are a lot of renowned universities offering comprehensive programs at a much lower cost. Don’t alter your career goals just to study at an Ivy League!
  • Be prepared for sleepless nights and long study hours, as the curriculum is the most demanding. You’ll have to have consistent grades and be on-top of your to-do list, almost all the time. Students are even booted out of the university if they fail to maintain their records.
  • It is a common ‘myth’ that only students in the IB curriculum have a chance at securing admission to the Ivy Leagues. The truth is that students from any English-medium board have a fair chance too, provided they have a well-rounded record.

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