How to Get into Ivy League Schools ( 6 Sure Steps )


How to Get into Ivy League Schools

When considering higher education, Ivy League universities stand out for their esteemed academic and social standing. Many students aspire to gain admission to these institutions, seeking to become part of their highly selective and renowned communities.

Beyond their exceptional facilities, Ivy League universities boast extensive networks with leaders across various social sectors. Alumni often ascend to prominent roles in entertainment, business, politics, and other influential industries.

Given this trajectory, ambitious students from high schools worldwide view attending an Ivy League institution as a potential catalyst for lifelong success. However, the application process for these prestigious universities is exceedingly demanding, with only a select few successfully securing admission to partake in the Ivy League experience.

There are eight Ivy League schools:

  • Yale
  • Princeton
  • Brown
  • Columbia
  • Cornell
  • Dartmouth
  • Harvard
  • The University of Pennsylvania

Ivy League Acceptance Rate

Based on admissions statistics, for the class of 2021, a staggering 281,060 students submitted applications, with fewer than 10% receiving offers for Ivy League admission. Traditionally, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale University have been considered the top three Ivy League institutions. 

However, in 2020, Columbia University joined this prestigious group, solidifying its place among the most selective Ivy League schools, boasting an overall admission rate of below 7%.

Among the Ivy League institutions, Harvard holds the lowest acceptance rate at a mere 5%, securing its position at the top of the Ivy League rankings. This is followed closely by Princeton at 5.6%, Columbia University at 6.3%, Yale University at 6.6%, Brown at 6.9%, Penn at 9.0%, and Dartmouth with the highest admission rate of 9.2%.

Ivy League Schools Tuition Fee

Accepted students in Ivy League Schools pay an average tuition fee of $56,631. In 2020, Columbia University had the highest tuition fee for undergraduate students at $61,788 followed by Brown University ($58,404), Penn ($57,770), Dartmouth College ($57,638), Cornell University ($57,222), Yale University ($55,500), and Princeton University ($52,800). 

Even though Harvard University has the lowest acceptance rate based on admissions statistics, it has the lowest tuition fee of $51,925.

For graduate students, the average tuition fee is $47,518. Brown University has the highest tuition fee at $58,180 while Cornell University’s tuition fee is $29,585.

Attending an Ivy League school is undeniably a notable accomplishment. But how do those who gain admission achieve it? Here are some tips to help you get into an Ivy League school.

6 Tips for Getting Accepted to an Ivy League School

1. Be sure to have good grades and test scores.

If your goal is to enter an Ivy League school, you will need outstanding grades and test scores. 

According to The National Association for College Admission Counseling, these are the two most important factors for a student trying to get into a highly-selective university. It’s also necessary for them to take extensive courses they can do well in.

Course rigor is important. It gives schools an idea if students are willing to challenge themselves, and if they are succeeding despite those challenges. 

Additionally, students who lack scores based on Ivy League standards will not be accepted unless they have another achievement/s that makes them shine.

To steer clear of the "no pile" across the Ivy League, meeting certain test scores and GPAs is essential. However, merely boasting a high GPA or impressive SAT, ACT, or other standardized test scores isn't sufficient for Ivy League admission. 

Surprisingly, even highly intelligent students with stellar SAT scores may not secure admission to their dream university.

What sets successful applicants apart is demonstrating not just intelligence but uniqueness. This quality grabs the attention of college admissions committees and highlights your potential.

2. Try not to be late – apply early.

By opting for this approach, you significantly increase your chances of gaining admission to one of the prestigious Ivy League universities. However, it's important to note that you can only apply early decision to one university, so choose carefully. Only apply early if you are certain about your university choice.

Once accepted under early decision (ED), you must withdraw your applications from all other schools and commit fully to attending that university. Alternatively, early action (EA) offers a non-binding application option for students. 

According to Business Insider, for the class of 2021, the overall acceptance rate for early action/decision reached as high as 27.8%.

3. Craft an Exceptional Personal Statement

Your personal statement is a pivotal component in your Ivy League application journey. As you likely apply through the Common Application, your statement must stand out amidst the countless applications from ambitious and bright individuals.

Recognize the significance of your essay—it must not be riddled with grammatical errors or dwell on cliché subjects, as this could hinder your chances of acceptance. Remember, your essay need not revolve around extraordinary events; instead, focus on a topic important to you, ensuring your essay is both introspective and thoughtful.

4. Show Genuine Depth in Extracurricular Activities

While numerous activities could qualify as extracurricular, what truly distinguishes your college application is demonstrating genuine passion and depth in your chosen activities. Emphasize depth over breadth, avoiding the appearance of dabbling in various pursuits without a clear expertise or passion.

Consider an applicant deeply involved in a single activity throughout high school, such as membership in the school's symphonic band, participating in multiple band groups over four years. This showcases a genuine love for music, implying the ability to share that passion within the campus community.

5. Cultivate a Well-rated High School Curriculum

Your high school transcript holds paramount importance in your Ivy League application. Aim for the most challenging courses available to demonstrate your readiness for college-level academics. 

Opt for advanced courses like AP Calculus over less challenging alternatives, and prioritize essential academic areas such as language, science, math, and English.

While AP classes in subjects like Music Theory or Psychology are beneficial, they don't carry the same weight as core courses like Biology or Literature. Recognize that the Ivies understand varying access to academic opportunities and consider factors like school resources and individual circumstances when evaluating applicants.

6. Excel in Your Interview

Prepare thoroughly for your interview with an alum of your desired university. While the interview isn't the most critical aspect of your application, stumbling over questions about your interests and reasons for applying can detract from your overall application. 

Be personable and polite, treating the interview as a friendly exchange to allow the interviewer to get to know you better.

Admission Factors Beyond Your Control

Despite your best efforts, certain factors in the admissions process remain beyond your control. Legacy status, familial ties to the university, and efforts to enroll a diverse class can influence admissions decisions. While these factors may seem unfair, recognize that they contribute to creating a rich and varied undergraduate experience.

Last Words

Every year, the media highlights stories of exceptional students gaining admission to multiple Ivy League institutions, capturing our attention with their remarkable achievements. 

While these accomplishments are undeniably impressive, it's important to recognize that Ivy League schools may not be the perfect fit for everyone. Each of the eight Ivy League universities possesses its own distinct characteristics, and what suits one applicant may not align with another's preferences. 

For instance, a student who thrives in a bustling urban setting may find the rural environment at Cornell less appealing.

While aiming high and dreaming big are commendable traits, it's equally essential to set realistic goals. Numerous colleges nationwide offer excellent education comparable to Ivy League standards. 

Public Ivy universities, for instance, provide accessible education with lower tuition fees—a significant factor considering the Ivies predominantly offer need-based financial aid, not merit-based.

Ultimately, the key lies in finding the institution that best suits your individual needs and aspirations. There's no one-size-fits-all solution or magic formula for achieving this, but by following the aforementioned advice, you can certainly enhance your chances of receiving an admission letter from an Ivy League institution.

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