Easiest Ivies to make.

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: December 2002 Archive: Easiest Ivies to make.
By Daniel on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 06:40 pm: Edit

While I wouldn't call getting into an Ivy easy, this is what I've seen/experienced the past 15 years. I know that many of you anxious seniors out there want to have the best shot getting in and I hope that this helps. Best of luck to all!

I will assume that you are out-of-state (as its often harder from out of state applicants to statutory departments) applicants for ranking purposes. Here we go, in order of descending difficulty getting in:

3)Columbia - College
5)Cornell - College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
6)Penn - Wharton
7)Cornell - Hotel School
8)Cornell - School of Industrial Labor Relations
9)Penn - College
10)Cornell - College of Architecture
11)Columbia - School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
14)Cornell - Arts and Sciences
15)Columbia - School of General Studies
16)Penn - Engineering
17)Cornell - College of Human Ecology
18)Cornell - College of Engineering
19)Penn - School of Nursing

This is a rough estimate of what I have seen in the last 15 years. I am the oldest of 6 children and all 6 of us attended/attends an Ivy institution. I am also 2nd generation Asian (Korean)...meaning that my parents didn't know anything about the college process. Therefore, I had to research and look into the college process for myself as well as my siblings...hence, I have experienced the wide range of changes in Ivy admissions since 1987...spanning the changes in early admittance policies, the re-centering of SATs in 1994/5, the abolishing of Achievement tests in lieu of SAT IIs, the declining acceptance rates, the rising endowment efforts, the transition of new presidencies at 6 of the 8 Ivies, etc.

By seeker on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 08:30 pm: Edit

Woah...is this like for real? Cornell College of Ag and LS so high? And the Hotel School as well? I thought Brown, Columbia SEAS and Cornell A&S would be higher too.

By Daniel on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 09:07 pm: Edit


Cornell CALS is a statutory school which has contractual obligations, as a NY State land-grant university, to reserve a majority of spaces for New York state residents. Thus, as I stated, if you are applying from out-of-state, Cornell CALS becomes nearly impossible to get into. If you are from in-state, CALS becomes considerably easier...possibly a #12 or #13.

The Cornell Hotel school is the best program of its kind in the world. There is no equal...a distant second is the University of Paris at Sorbonne. This school is difficult to get into because strong candidates often are asked for a work portfolio. So, if you are a student with extensive work experience (not local casiers jobs or jobs at the mall...rather internships at JP Morgan or Marriot Corporate), you have a great shot with less than stellar SATs.

As for engineering schools, the Ivy League is not known for its engineers. The best program exists at Cornell...and luckily for many of you engineering hopefuls, it is the easiest school to get into. Just look at the stats for admitted students. The engineering school brings Cornell's SAT and GPA averages down while boosting the admittance rate. This may sound like I am bashing the engineering school...by no means! Cornell is one of the truly great schools in the world. Let me put it this way, if you want to work for NASA someday, you goto MIT, Caltech, Stanford, Berkeley or Cornell. That's it. Notice Cornell is the only Ivy listed.

Brown has always been one of the lesser competitive Ivies to get into. It has never been in the same league as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell-CALS and Penn-Wharton. Also note, it is only in the last 5 years that Columbia College leapfrogged many other schools in its selectivity. Columbia is a great institution that draws the best students in the world and finally, the numbers have started to show it.

Best wishes!

By thanks on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 09:21 pm: Edit

Daniel thanks for sharing so much info. You've really helped me out. I always thought that Cornell is not a great school for engineering, but you say it is so, I'm going to apply. Once again, thanks.

By Me on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 09:46 pm: Edit

You are an idiot Daniel. First of all, Brown has a lower acceptance rate than Penn and Cornell. In fact, it has the lowest acceptance of all the Ivies except Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. Secondly, Cornell Engineering is one of the hardest schools at cornell to get into. Go to the website and look at the stats, you are way off. You have no idea what you're talking about and no one on this board schould listen to you

By yoyoyo on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 09:48 pm: Edit

hey me, donna summer... reverse it and stretch it out

By meisanidiot on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 10:03 pm: Edit

lol. "me," you are the idiot! hahaha. you say that brown has the lowest acceptance rate of all the ivies except....and then you list virtually all the ivies! lol. you dont separate majors, schools and background...you're an idiot!

you can argue that brown is harder to get into than penn all you want...live in your delusions! penn-wharton has always been hard to get into and intelligent people here know that wharton is harder to get into than brown.

By MIT Mom on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 10:40 pm: Edit

You are ABSOLUTELY WRONG when you say that "The engineering school brings Cornell's SAT and GPA averages down while boosting the admittance rate."

Look at the College breakdown of the range of GPAs and SAT scores for the College of Engineering. They have amoung the HIGHEST SAT scores and percentage of people in the top 10% of their class.

The profile of the Class of 2006 is given at
and the profile of the Class of 2005 is at

Your analysis of the relative difficulties of each Ivy is thoughtful, but how much of it is based on fact, and how much of it is based on your subjective opinion resulting from the personal experiences of you and your siblings?

By Daniel on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 11:16 pm: Edit

MIT Mom,

I speak from personal experience as an Asian Ivy Leaguer (relevant because affirmative action practices did not play a role in my admission nor did it play a role in my siblings...and I suspect most students in this forum will also not benefit from AA). My family has multiple Cornellians.

Please look at the pages you have provided more closely. In fact, lets break it down. Please look at the 2005 profile you've provided:

Notice that the SATs are presented in RANGES. Thus, ranges can skew a statistical table. For example, it may seem that the engineering school has superior math scores...but look closely at the breakdown. A 700 places you in the top tier but a 690 places you in the second tier. I highly doubt a 700 student is far smarter than a 690 student. Lets look at the verbal scores. The engineering school seems to mirror the University totals in but realize that these results are in ranges. From my experience, more University students score the 780s, 790s while more engineering students score the 700s. Both are technically in the "same tier" as presented. Look at the Freshman Writing Seminar courses that all freshmen must take. There are verbal/english seminars specifically geared toward engineers. In fact, my old college roomate is teaching one of these courses in conjunction with the Cornell MFA program.

Also note that the high school ranks are given in ranges. Is a top 10 student really better than a top 11 student?

Perhaps the best way to look at the process is to take a bigger sample...University-wide statistics and pepper it with personal experiences. That is what I tried to do.

Look at the admittance rates again:
University wide: 27.2%
Engineering: 31.5%
Arts (the biggest, most representative college): 22.7%

When talking about 21,515 applicants...the difference between a couple of percentage points is huge, wouldn't you agree?

By Daniel on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 11:31 pm: Edit

Also, please take note of the difference between statutory and endowed colleges. Although the statutory college seem easier to get into...this is misleading because most of these candidates are in-state! Besides, many of the smaller colleges comprise of 100-200 students.

Also of critical note is the difference between getting in and enrolling! Getting in doesn't mean enrolled! Think about the options for great arts programs out there...and then think about the options for great engineering schools. What will the yield be?

Aside from MIT, Caltech and Stanford...how many engineering schools out there can outperform Cornell? So, many of the top students who just missed out getting into MIT may enroll at Cornell...and stats for ENROLLED may get skewed from the actual CHANCES of getting in. Conversely, look at the great arts options aside from Cornell...Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, etc...a more exhaustive list.

Clearly, I have pointed out cases where statistics often need to be taken with a grain of salt.

By MIT Mom on Friday, December 20, 2002 - 11:41 pm: Edit

No, I would not agree.

First of all, how do you know that, "From my experience, more University students score the 780s, 790s while more engineering students score the 700s." How do you know that? What did you do? Poll all the engineering students and all the other students as to their EXACT numeric Math SATs? Did you do a statistical t-test on the Math SAT scores of engineering students compared to the Math SAT scores of the rest of the university and compare the means?

You can't possibly say that all Engineering student's Math SATs are clustered in the low 700, while all other students whose math scores were above 700 JUST HAPPENED to be in the high 700s. Your implication is that all Engineering students's stats are all on the LOW side of each given range, and all non-Engineering students' stats are on the HIGH side of each given range. That is nonsense.

Check out the Engineering ED thread in the Cornell discussion group. Hmmm...looks to me like the Engineering admits who posted had Math SATs ranging from 780 to 800. Doesn't look like low 700s to me. I also know a few admits with similar scores who didn't post here.

You're being purely annecdotal. The histogram percentiles are sufficiently striking that they speak for themselves. I still primarily disagree with your contention that the Engineering scores bring down the average scores for the entire university.

By Daniel on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 12:13 am: Edit

MIT Mom,

Please do not misquote me. Clearly, all you want to do is start a fight.

I never said that all engineering students score on the low 700s. As for the 780s, 790s...go back and actually read my post this time...I was referring to the VERBAL SCORES. Point to me were Cornell engineering students regularly get 780 verbal scores.

You can go by your statistics (or misinterpretation thereof), whereas I go by actually knowing something about the school and its students...call it anecdotal all you want but I probably have more interaction with Cornellians for the past 15 years.

By MIT Mom on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 12:31 am: Edit

You're right. Your quote, "From my experience, more University students score the 780s, 790s while more engineering students score the 700s." had moved away from Math scores and onto Verbal scores. I didn't catch that point. I'm sorry for misquoting you on that issue.

I still don't think you can make the statement that the Engineering school's stats lowers the stats for the entire university. (The Engineering school's stats certainly look quite a bit higher to me than the Hotel School....) I would even venture a guess that the Engineering Math scores actually raises the overall average Math SAT score for the entire university.

I'm not trying to start a fight. We can agree to disagree, and let's leave it at that.

P.S. I know from experience that engineering and science types tend to have verbal SAT scores lower than math SAT scores. Even my old school, MIT, has a lower average verbal SAT score than its average math SAT score. (And just look at how I messed up the plural possesive "students'" several times in my last post!)

By CornellGrad on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 02:52 am: Edit

I have to agree with MIT Mom on this one. As a 2002 graduate of Cornell ALS (out of state) who has lived with numerous engineers, I can safely say that the engineers stats are usually higher than the rest of the university. As for their higher admit rate, it's sort of like CalTech...people who know they have no chance don't apply. Just because they admit more people, doesn't mean they're of a lower quality. Also keep in mind that Cornell's engineering college is absolutely gigantic (for a well rounded research university). Also...don't for UC Berkeley in any list of top notch eng. schools! My stats weren't phenomenal (though good) but most other out of staters who were in Ag and Life went for research opportunities--they could have gone anywhere. I personally chose Cornell for its undergraduate research opportunities, even turning down Stanford (a wise choice...I'm from the Bay Area)...

...interesting post nonetheless.

Cornell Grad '02

By Daniel on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 04:02 am: Edit

Thats funny, my brother is also Cornell CALS'02 who lived with engineers. 303 Eddy Street:)

The engineers that he lived with all entered with lower stats but managed to do well, including "A's" in the dreaded CS 211-212 sequence! Engineers tend to have higher math scores but lower verbal scores.

As for the self-selection process in which people apply only to those school they think they have a chance...this is a valid point. I agree that higher admittance rates do not necessarily correspond to better/worse applicant pools. But I contend: we're talking about the Ivy League here!...usually, the best do apply to the Ivy League. Its more of a function of space availability.

For the moment, lets remove the statutory colleges because 1) they make up a smaller percentage...often less than 200 students per college 2) they have differing policies from state to state. Pointing to lower test scores by Hotelies with only 165 people in the class as opposed to Engineers and Arts total of 1740 students is not really representative.

The two largest representative colleges at Cornell that are endowed are the Arts school and the Engineering school. In fact, these two schools are the largest at Cornell. Perhaps we are talking about the Engineering school dragging the verbal test scores down relative to the Arts school and vice versa for the math scores. The statistic that eludes us...and from which I have been relegated to take from personal experience...is by how much are Arts students better in Verbal and how much are Engineers more competant in Math? Personally, I think its harder to get a higher score in the verbal section than the math.

By bigblue on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 06:46 pm: Edit

i dont know much about penn, brown, or dartmouth, so here is my opinion on the other 5

1)Columbia College
3)Cornell Architecture
6)Columbia SEAS
7)Cornell Engineering
8)Cornell Arts and Sciences
9)Columbia School of General Studies
10)Cornell Hotel
11)Cornell ILR
12)Cornell Human Ecology
13)Cornell Ag

By WakeUp on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 11:56 pm: Edit

That is a joke. Cornell is the easiest Ivy League university to gain admission. Brown has a bunch of liberal idiots on the admission committee, so admission is quite quirky that does not mean however that Brown is statistically harder to get into. Yale and Penn-Wharton are also much harder to get into than Columbia. It's quite funny that you mention you have a lot of people from your family attending Cornell. Don't fool yourself: Cornell is the leftover crap of the Ivy League.

By lol on Wednesday, January 01, 2003 - 10:18 pm: Edit


you're wrong as wrong could possibly be.

if you want to talk about left over crap....EVERY school in the country is left over crap of HYPSM. if cornell is a flat tire, so is columbia, brown, dartmouth, penn, duke, northwestern, etc.

By bzump on Wednesday, January 01, 2003 - 10:24 pm: Edit


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