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Colleges / Explore Lists / What Are The Ivy League Schools?

What Are The Ivy League Schools?

List by College Confidential
Photo: Vlada Karpovich/Pexels

The Ivy League refers to a group of eight prestigious private, research universities in the Northeast that are all part of the same athletic conference. The term was first coined by a journalist in the 1930's, but it did not become official until the NCAA Division 1 Conference was founded in 1954. Most people think the word "ivy" stems from the old tradition of planting ivy on college campuses, but some think it evolved from the IV League, an informal conference that included four of the present-day Ivies. Today, the term is used informally to describe other groups of top colleges. The Ivy Plus schools include top universities that are not officially in the Ivy League. The Little Ivies are a group of the prestigious liberal arts schools in the Northeast, and the Black Ivy League is an unofficial list of the best HBCU's in the country. Read on for more on each of the eight official Ivy League schools below.

Princeton University

The fourth-oldest college in the U.S., Princeton was founded in 1746 at the College of New Jersey. It is one of nine Colonial colleges, or colleges founded before the American Revolution. Today, the Princeton campus has over 200 buildings spread out of over 600-acres in the New Jersey. The University has graduated two American Presidents, three Supreme Court Justices, and 18 Nobel Prize winners. Princeton offers single-choice Early Action, which is not binding but requires that EA applicants not apply early to any other private college, however you may apply early to non-binding programs at public schools, international schools, or schools with rolling admissions. The Early Action deadline is November 9th, 2021 and the regular decision deadline is January 1st, 2022.

  • Princeton University
    Princeton, NJ
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Penn was founded in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin, with the goal of training people in leadership, business, government and public affairs. Today, Penn's 299-acre campus in West Philadelphia educates over 11,000 undergrads and another 15,000 graduate students. Penn offers Early Decision with a November 1st deadline. The regular decision deadline is January 5th, 2022.

  • University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Brown University

    Brown was founded in 1764 as "Rhode Island College. It was the seventh college in the U.S., and in its first year it only had one student. Today, Brown offers over 2,000 courses to nearly 10,000 students. Brown is known for its Open Curriculum, which for the past 50 years has given students complete control over what courses they take. Brown offers Early Decision with a November 1st application deadline.

  • Brown University
    Providence, RI
  • Columbia University

    Columbia University has a long and unusual history. It is the oldest institute of higher education in NY state, and the fifth oldest in the country. The university was first founded in 1754 as King's College, by decree from King George the II in England. King's College halted instruction during the American Revolution and did not resume instruction until it reopened in 1784 with a new name, Columbia College. In 1897, the University moved from midtown Manhattan to its current location, the Morningside Heights neighborhood on the very upper Westside of Manhattan and changed its name to Columbia University. Columbia now has three undergraduate schools and 13 graduate and professional schools. Columbia offers Early Decision, with a deadline of November 1st.

  • Columbia University
    New York, NY
  • Cornell University

    Found in 1865, Cornell is the youngest of the Ivy League schools but it is sometimes called the "first truly American school" because its founders, Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickinson White, had a egalitarian view of education. Cornell is also one of the few private land-grant schools, which received federal land in the 1800's in return for a commitment to education people in the areas of agriculture, engineering, military and other sciences in addition to the liberal arts. Cornell's main campus in Ithaca, NY is a sprawling 2,300 acres that features two stunning gorges. Cornell has a few other satellite locations, including Weill Cornell Medical centers on the Upper East Side of Manhattan an in Qatar, the Wolpe Center in Washington, D.C. and the Shoals Marine Lab in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Cornell offers Early Decision with a November 1st deadline. The r

  • Cornell University
    Ithaca, NY
  • Harvard University

    Harvard was is the oldest of the Ivy League schools. When it was founded in 1936 by John Harvard, it was the first college to be founded in the American colonies. The first graduating class was just eight students. Today, the university enrolls over 10,000 students and has the largest endowment of any U.S. college, which enables Harvard to provide generous financial aid packages so that 100% Harvard undergrads graduate debt-free. Harvard offers Restrictive Early Action, which means applicants cannot apply early to other colleges. The EA deadline is November 1st.

  • Harvard University
    Cambridge, MA
  • Dartmouth College

    Dartmouth is the last of the nine Colonial schools, or colleges that were founded before the American Revolution. It was founded in 1761, and is known for its thriving Greek Life and focus on undergraduate education. Around 2/3 of the student body are undergrads and the rest are graduate students. The Appalachian trail runs through the 269-acre campus in New Hampshire and students can take kayaks out on the Connecticut River or ski down Dartmouth Skiway. Dartmouth offers Early Decision, with a November 1st deadline. In 2021, 26% of ED applicants were admitted, compared to 9% of all applicants. This suggests odds are much better for early applicants, though the number may be a bit misleading, since many early applicants are recruited athletes.

  • Dartmouth College
    Hanover, NH
  • Yale University

    Yale was founded in 1718, making it the third-oldest college in the U.S. The New Haven campus includes 15 dining halls, 22 libraries, a world-renowned art museum, and an 1,500 acre Outdoor Education Center. Yale offers single-choice Early Action. The deadline for Early Action and QuestBridge National College Match applicants is November 1st, 2021.

  • Yale University
    New Haven, CT
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