Applying to the Ivy League: Everything You Need to Know

Need help with your college applications?  Learn how our College Apps Program can help.

Applying to college is no simple task, no matter where you apply, but for students applying to the prestigious Ivy League, the challenge is even greater. With acceptance rates consistently dipping below 10% and college applicants on the rise, getting into the Ivy League is a goal that most can only dream about.

 

At CollegeVine, we have coached hundreds of students towards their Ivy League acceptances. In fact, we even helped one amazing student gain acceptance to seven of them! But what’s success if we aren’t willing to share it? Here, we provide a home for our top Ivy League tips. To learn more about the Ivy League and how you can score an acceptance too, take a look at the resources below.

 

What Is the Ivy League?

 

The term Ivy League actually refers to a collegiate athletic conference composed of sports teams from eight private colleges and universities in the northeastern United States. Though the term officially refers to an athletic conference, it is more commonly used to refer to these same eight schools in other contexts.

 

Ivy League schools are generally known for their academic excellence and their extreme selectivity in admissions.

 

The eight Ivy League schools are: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

 

To learn more about some of these schools and what they’re all about, check out these posts:

 

Which Ivy League is Right for You?

College Spotlight Series: Everything You Need to Know About Brown

College Spotlight Series: Everything You Need to Know About Columbia

College Spotlight Series: Everything You Need to Know About Harvard

College Spotlight Series: Everything You Need to Know About Princeton

College Spotlight Series: Everything You Need to Know About Yale

 

Who Goes to the Ivy League?

 

The Ivy League is exceptionally difficult to get into, especially by today’s increasingly selective college admissions standards. To learn more about the standards expected by the Ivy League, check out these posts about Ivy League students:

 

What Are the Average High School GPAs of Admitted Students at Ivy League Schools?

Meet the Ivy League Class of 2021

CollegeVine Student Gains Acceptance to Seven Ivy League Schools

The Demographics of the Ivy League

 

Learning More About the Ivy League

 

Before you apply to any colleges, you’ll want to learn as much about them as possible. This can be through campus visits, interviews, college rankings, summer programs, or other avenues. To get started learning more about the Ivy League, have a look through these CollegeVine posts:

 

The Harvard Interview: What It’s Like, from a Harvard Student

2019 U.S. News and World Report College Rankings Released

An Insider’s View of Seven Top College Campuses

Into Engineering? Check Out Penn’s Engineering Summer Academy

Harvard vs. Wharton: A Guide for Pre-Consulting/Finance

12 Things to See On Your Campus Visit to Brown

5 Things to See on your Campus Tour of Columbia

9 Things to See On Your Campus Visit to Harvard

A Day in the Life of a Columbia University Student

A Day in the Life of a Harvard Student

Need help with your college applications?

We’ve helped over 6,000 students apply to college and get in at 3x the normal rate — even at the most competitive schools. Our process is comprehensive: we'll help you build a school list, writing amazing essays, perfect your applications, find financial aid opportunities, make a decision, and more!

How to Prepare for the Ivy League

 

As is the case with any school you apply to, you’ll need to be sure that your high school classes and extracurriculars qualify you for acceptance. To learn how you can prepare for the Ivy League in high school, check out these posts:

 

What Classes to Take Sophomore Year to Impress Selective Colleges and the Ivy League

How 9th Graders Can Prepare Now for the Ivy League

How Your Summer Plans Factor Into Ivy League Admissions

Do I Have To Do Something Extraordinary to Get Into an Ivy League School?

What Does It Take to Get Into Harvard?

 

Standardized Test Scores for the Ivy League

 

Although the overall trend in Ivy admissions places less emphasis on test scores than it did in previous years (thanks in large part to Harvard’s Making Caring Common initiative), your scores are still important. To learn how they factor into Ivy League admissions, check out these posts:

 

Score Choice Policies for Ivy Leagues: A Complete Guide

What’s a Good SAT Score for the Ivy League?

  

 

Applying to the Ivy League

 

For more tips about Ivy League applications and essays, refer to these popular CollegeVine posts:

 

Should You Apply to Public Ivy League Schools?

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Brown University

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to the Brown University PLME Program

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Columbia

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Cornell

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Dartmouth

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Harvard

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Princeton

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to the University of Pennsylvania

The Ultimate Guide to Applying to Yale

How to Write the Common Application Essays 2018-2019 (With Examples)

How to Write the Brown University and PLME Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

How to Write the Columbia University Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

How to Write the Cornell University Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

How to Write the Dartmouth College Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

How to Write the Harvard University Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

Should You Send the Harvard Optional Supplement Essay?

How to Write the University of Pennsylvania Application Essays 2018-2019

How to Write the Princeton University Supplemental Essays 2018-2019

How to Write the Yale University Application Essays 2018-2019

 

Now What?

 

Are you college applications signed, sealed, and delivered? Now you wait. For many students this is the hardest part of the process. Waiting and receiving college decisions can be stressful. Here are some CollegeVine tips to help along the way:

 

Dealing with Ivy Day

Important Next Steps After Receiving a College Acceptance Letter

Deferred From the Ivy League? Don’t Panic—Do This Instead.

How to Move Past College Rejection

How Do I Appeal My Admissions Decision?

 

If you are a high school student interested in attending an Ivy League school, but you’re unsure if you have what it takes or you would like some help to ensure that you present the strongest application possible, consider CollegeVines Mentorship Program. This program provides practical advice on topics from college admissions to career aspirations, all from successful college students who have been in your shoes.

Want more college admissions tips?

We'll send you information to help you throughout the college admissions process.


Kate Sundquist

Kate Sundquist

Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.
Kate Sundquist

Latest posts by Kate Sundquist (see all)

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.