Ivy League Schools Ranked – 2024

December 10, 2023

ivy league schools ranked

By now, whether you’ve been told about them at a young age, or you know someone attending one of them, or they’re a fairly recent discovery, my guess is that you’ve heard of the Ivy League schools. But do you really know them? Perhaps you’re one of the many who believe that the Ivy League schools ranking is always in a particular, fixed order. Most often regarded as the best schools in America, if not in the world, the Ivies have inspired countless students to aim for their dreams for the prestige that follows, but let’s go a little deeper. What really are the Ivy League rankings? How are the Ivy League schools ranked? Who in the world ranks them? What is the best Ivy League school? And most of all: What are your chances of getting in?

Try asking these questions to your family and friends, and you’ll quickly find that reaching a mutual consensus is a rather ambitious idea, much like asking them to name the same best restaurants or cities in the country. Ivy League rankings or not, the answer all depends on the person. And Ivy League school rankings depend on a variety of factors (academic reputation, students’ future careers, quality of livelihood) – but ultimately, like any other list, what comes to the forefront is figuring out what works best for you. Getting into any one of these schools is a tremendous accomplishment worth celebrating, considering how difficult it is to receive that admissions letter.

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You’ll come across many lists of Ivy League school rankings that delve into the overall quality of the academic institutions. Major publications releasing these Ivy League rankings will be found in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, or other outlets that focus on education. It’s important to keep in mind though that these publications create their Ivy League rankings based on different material sources.

For example, U.S. News & World Report focuses on the overall academic reputation of the universities (U.S. News offers peer-assessed surveys to university officials and high school counselors to make such conclusions). Whereas a publication like Forbes will focus on how graduates of the universities are doing in terms of salaries, remaining student debt since graduation, and prestigious accomplishments achieved such as winning the Nobel Prize (no pressure). Being aware of such ranking criteria will be helpful in understanding which Ivy League school could be best for you.

Let’s start out by listing the Ivy League schools. There are 8 Ivy League schools in total, and here they are listed in alphabetical order:

Brown University
Columbia University
Cornell University
Dartmouth College
Harvard University
Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania
Yale University

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To get a better sense of what your chances are of getting into the Ivies, take a look at the Ivy League rankings based on acceptance rate:

1) Harvard University: 3.3%
2) Columbia University: 4%
3) Dartmouth College: 4.1%
4) Yale University: 4.5%
5) Brown University: 5%
6) Princeton University: 5.7%
7) University of Pennsylvania (UPenn): 6.5%
8) Cornell University: 7.3%

From the Ivy League rankings above, you’ll see that Harvard seems to be the hardest to get into. This may deter you from even applying. Yet, such Ivy League schools ranking results, with their numbers alone, shouldn’t sway you from approaching them. Many different factors should still be taken into account. For example, you should consider if a particular Ivy League school focuses more on what you want to pursue and provides you with a supportive, immersive environment, not just in your studies but in your overall career. Are they looking for a student like you? Striking the right balance in your search is key.

If you’re applying to all of the Ivy League schools, or if you’re only applying to a select few, it’s crucial to initially understand what makes each of these academic institutions so unique and internationally recognized. Then it’s best to see how the schools can help you grow the most, both personally and professionally. As mentioned before, Ivy League rankings will depend on several different factors. The most important decision you can make during this process is to see why any of these schools would be a great fit for you.

1) Harvard University

Harvard may very well be the first university you think of when considering Ivy League rankings. But did you know that Harvard is the oldest school of higher education in America? Perhaps it has something to do with that little fact. It’s also one of the most difficult Ivies to get into, which should come as no surprise. Harvard was founded in 1636 and today has 13 schools and institutes, 100 on-campus research centers, and over 445 extracurricular, cocurricular and athletic organizations. The university values sustainability. As such, undergraduates, graduates and members of the Harvard community can find green living programs easy to access and use.

71% of classes at Harvard have less than 20 students, and with the 7-to-1 student-faculty ratio, you’re bound to receive an education in a more interactive, immersive setting. Harvard’s medical, business, engineering, graduate education, and law schools are among the top-ranked in the country, including the John F. Kennedy School of Government. You’ll find at Harvard over 3,700 undergraduate courses spread across 50 undergraduate areas of study. They also boast smaller-sized classes, as the university focuses on liberal arts and sciences.

2) Columbia University

What often determines the Ivy League schools ranking is so hard to boil down, but there is a uniquely multifaceted nature to these leading institutions such as Columbia. You might recognize this campus and its impressive columns from the Spider-Man franchise or other notable productions. Situated in one of the most exciting cities of the world, Columbia has produced changemakers and inventions that have transformed global communities. From the FM radio to the first college gay advocacy group, Columbia is the state of New York’s oldest institution of higher education and stands as one of the most diverse universities in the country. It’s no wonder that Columbia prizes international education through their many study abroad programs and nine global centers around the world.

Columbia consists of three undergraduate schools (Columbia College, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of General Studies) and has some of the highest-ranked graduate schools such as the business and law schools, the Teachers College, and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Whether it’s the thousands of offered internships or over 200 research institutes at Columbia, you’re bound to pursue a global education in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.

3) Dartmouth College

Located in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth is the birthplace of many historical achievements. Did you know that Dartmouth created one of the first Native American programs to recruit students, and thus has the largest number of Native American graduates compared to all the other Ivy League schools? If you’re interested in pursuing computer science or programming, Dartmouth also paved the way for BASIC, the programming language, which led to the further development of computer innovation. You’ll also find at Dartmouth the smaller classes as over 60% of the classes have less than 20 students, Additionally, it sports a 7-to-1 student-faculty ratio. Research-oriented centers and institutes are spread all across the Dartmouth campus, and students can access a wide-spanning global network through Dartmouth’s many study abroad programs around the world.

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4) Yale University

We can’t talk about Ivy League schools ranking lists without diving into what particularly distinguishes Yale and makes it so artistically alluring. Perhaps you’ve heard of Yale’s prestigious drama and music programs offered at the Yale School of Drama. Or have you heard of the impressive Whiffenpoofs, only the world’s oldest and famous collegiate a cappella group? If you’re not pursuing a performance career, you’re most likely considering their undergraduate branch Yale College, and for future studies, their 13 top-ranked professional schools such as their law school, and schools of art, management, medicine, and nursing.

Yale offers a truly global education as it prioritizes international immersion, such as through the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. Consider the hundreds of exciting study abroad programs around the world at Yale. These include Yale Summer Session Programs Abroad, Yale in London, Non-Yale Summer Abroad, Year or Term Abroad. Take the opportunity to conduct research abroad or complete an international internship. Perhaps you’d be interested in studying one of Yale’s most popular majors. These include the social sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, engineering, history, and mathematics and statistics.

5) Brown University

Brown offers rather creative opportunities to students, which makes it such an exciting option on the Ivy League schools ranking list. One of the greatest appeals about Brown is their open curriculum that gives students the flexibility and independence to lead their desired studies. If you’re looking for interdisciplinary studies, Brown just might be the ideal Ivy League school for you. Even for Ivy League rankings in general, Brown stands out as a place that prioritizes student flexibility and encourages it. Prioritizing innovative thinking and intellectual risk-taking, Brown offers over 80 multidisciplinary concentrations for undergraduate students. Take a look at their unique courses of study like entrepreneurship or Egyptology and Assyriology.

Perhaps you’d be interested in Brown’s highly competitive liberal medical education program. This program sees students completing their undergraduate and medical degree within 8 years. Whatever you do choose to study and pursue at Brown, you’ll have access to their six concentration-specific libraries to conduct research projects, alongside over 500 undergraduate clubs and student organizations.

6) Princeton University

There are many reasons why Princeton claims the top place of Ivy League rankings. Ranking in first place in the U.S. News & World Report’s National Universities list, Princeton has produced Rhodes scholars and U.S. presidents, Olympic medalists, Supreme Court justices, and Nobel Prize winners. Princeton provides students with state-of-the-art academic resources and more, such as laboratories, libraries, and even its very own art museum, the Princeton University Art Museum. At Princeton, you’ll find that “smaller college”-feeling through its 4-to-1 student-faculty ratio. This benefits students to have more direct access to their professors and peers. The most popular majors at Princeton are biological and biomedical sciences, computer and information sciences, engineering, public administration and social services, and social sciences.

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7) UPenn

Benjamin Franklin was the primary founder of UPenn and his influence reverberates around campus to this day. Continuing to hold onto its highly esteemed reputation, UPenn is internationally recognized for its renowned offerings and the makeup of its student body. One fun fact you might not have known about UPenn is that it has the most international students out of all the Ivy League schools. 12% of undergraduate and graduate students hail from over 100 countries. On top of that, you might be one of the over 2,500 students who study abroad each year in one of UPenn’s 50 study abroad programs.

Additionally, if you’re considering becoming a graduate student at UPenn, you might be among those who wish to study at the top-ranked Wharton School, the Perelman School of Medicine, or the Stuart Weitzman School of Design. Be sure to check out the over 300 student groups at UPenn. These organizations focus on a variety of concentrations, from performing acts to political advocacy.

8) Cornell University

Cornell is the youngest Ivy League school, founded in 1865. There are over 100 areas of concentration at Cornell. Further, the seven undergraduate colleges at Cornell each admit their own students and faculty. This means that you might be accepted specifically to Cornell’s College of Art and Sciences or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. These are two of the largest undergraduate schools at the university. Graduate students, on the other hand, will each receive a degree from Cornell University. Some of the country’s top-ranked graduate programs are found at Cornell, such as the renowned School of Hotel Administration, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, College of Engineering and Law School, or College of Veterinary Medicine.

If you’re thinking of applying to Cornell, you’re probably already looking into what it’s like to live in Ithaca, New York, but you might be surprised to learn that Cornell also has campuses in New York City and Geneva in the state of New York; Washington, D.C.; Doha, Qatar; and Rome. Although Cornell can be seen as the “safer” Ivy to get into because of its “higher” acceptance rate than other Ivies like Harvard or Princeton, acceptance into the university is still difficult as it offers an internationally recognized education that uniquely contributes to the Ivy League schools ranking.

Ivy League Schools Ranked – Additional Resources

Lastly, if you are aiming for Ivy Leagues, consider checking out the following College Transitions resources: