What Are the Ivy Plus Schools? All the Ivy Equivalents

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There are many prestigious colleges in the United States besides the well-known Ivy League schools. Other elite schools are sometimes known as Ivy Plus schools. These schools are good to have on your radar because they are just as competitive and prestigious, just may not be in the northeast. Keep reading to find out about Ivy Plus schools, Public Ivies, Little Ivies and more!

 

What is the Ivy League?

 

The Ivy League schools are considered to be the most prestigious and selective colleges in the United States. The term “Ivy League” was coined in 1954, when the NCAA Division I athletic conference was formed. The universities within the Ivy League were praised for their impressive athletic ability, today these universities are known for their academic excellence. There are eight schools with the Ivy League distinction.

 

School

Location

Acceptance Rate

Brown

Providence, RI

8%

Harvard

Cambridge, MA

5%

Cornell

Ithaca, NY

11%

Princeton

Princeton, NJ

5%

Dartmouth

Hanover, NH

9%

Yale

New Haven, CT

6%

Columbia

New York, NY

6%

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

8%

 

Although these acceptance rates might be intimidating, there are plenty of other prestigious universities across the United States that we will discuss below.

 

What are the Ivy Plus Schools?

 

The Ivy League schools are primarily located in the Northeast, because they were among the first universities in the country. Ivy Plus schools are scattered across the United States and carry a similar reputation for academic prestige and competitiveness. These schools consistently rank among the best in the nation. Although there is no agreed upon list, here are some schools that are considered Ivy Plus:

 

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, California

Acceptance Rate: 4%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1420-1570, 31-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,000

 

Stanford consistently ranks in the top 10 national universities following Ivy Leagues like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. In fact, it’s considered on-par with Harvard and Yale, and with MIT, these four schools make up HYPSM, arguably the most selective and prestigious schools in the country. The campus looks like a resort, but don’t be fooled, students are extremely hard working!

 

MIT

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1500-1570, 34-36

Undergrad Enrollment: 4,600

 

As you have probably heard, MIT is one of the most renowned schools in the world for students interested in STEM majors, particularly the hard sciences. Located in Cambridge, MIT attracts some of the brightest students and distinguished faculty from across the world.

 

UChicago

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1510-1560, 34-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,600

 

Centered in the heart of Chicago, UChicago consistently ranks before most of the Ivies and is strong across the board in all majors. Perhaps most known for its history of academic research in the sciences and humanities, UChicago is home to some of the most famous and prized economics and law professors. UChicago values students who are intellectually passionate, and it has extremely quirky essay topics that allow students to show their intellectual creativity.

 

Caltech

Location: Pasadena, California

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1530-1570, 35-36

Undergrad Enrollment: 900

 

Nestled in Los Angeles, Caltech is a renowned science and engineering university. Computer science is Caltech’s most popular major and 90% of undergraduate students participate in research during their time at the school. Caltech and MIT have a fierce rivalry, and the two schools are known for playing pranks on one another.

 

Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Acceptance Rate: 8%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1540, 33-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 8,600

 

Northwestern is located in Evanston, a few miles outside of Chicago, Illinois. The Kellogg School of Business offers one of the best business programs in the United States. However, Northwestern isn’t just known for business. The school was placed among Playbill’s top 10 most represented universities on Broadway, and its Medill School of Journalism is consistently top-ranked, even offering opportunities to report from DC.

 

Duke University

Location: Durham, North Carolina

Acceptance Rate: 9%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1500-1570, 34-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,600

 

Located in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is one of the most elite yet also fun universities in the country. Aside from its exciting basketball program, Duke is most well-known for its amazing academic programs that tailor to students’ interests. Duke has especially strong computer science, economics, and public policy programs.

 

Johns Hopkins University

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1505, 34

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,000

 

Johns Hopkins is a top-notch research university that is known for its health sciences such as biomedical engineering, public health, and many students on the pre-med track. The nearby Johns Hopkins Hospital ranked #1 in Maryland and #3 in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals 2020–21 Honor Roll. It also is one of the few schools in the country to have an undergraduate creative writing program.

 

Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Acceptance Rate: 10%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1470-1570, 33-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,800

 

Vanderbilt is known for its amazing campus filled with beautiful buildings and serene greenery. Vanderbilt gets a lot of attention from its awesome schools of computer science, education, and management. Located in Nashville, students are exposed to a vibrant artistic culture.

 

Rice University

Location: Houston, Texas

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1470-1560, 33-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,900

 

A designated arboretum, Rice University is dedicated to maintaining the landscape that exists on campus with over 4,600 trees spread across campus. It is known as one of the most affordable top-tier universities after financial aid and has top-ranked architecture and music programs. 

 

WashU

Location: Saint Louis, Missouri

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1660, 33-35

Undergrad Enrollment: 7,700

 

Named after George Washington, WashU offers over 90 programs and is strong in pretty much all of them. Although you might think the college is located in Washington state or Washington DC, it is actually located in the beautiful Saint Louis. The school is most known for its business, engineering, biology, and law programs. It’s also a top pre-med school.

 

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Other Ivy Equivalents

 

Public Ivies

 

The term “Public Ivies” refers to public universities that provide a comparable academic experience to those in the Ivy League in terms of their academic rigor, notable faculty, and impressive students. Public Ivies tend to be much more affordable, especially for those residing in the same state as the university. Similar to Ivy Plus schools, there is no agreed upon list. However, these universities consistently make the top of public school rankings.

 

School

Location

Acceptance Rate

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

15%

University of California, Davis

Davis, California

41%

University of California, Irvine

Irvine, California

29%

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

14%

University of California, San Diego

La Jolla, California

30%

University of California, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California

32%

University of California, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, California

47%

Miami University of Ohio

Oxford, Ohio

75%

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, Michigan

23%

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

23%

University of Texas, Austin

Austin, Texas

39%

University of Vermont

Burlington, Vermont

68%

University of Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

26%

College of William and Mary

Williamsburg, Virginia

37%

 

Find out more information on the Public Ivies to see if it’s the right approach for you. 

 

Little Ivies

 

As their name implies, Little Ivies are small prestigious liberal arts colleges scattered across the Northeast. Much like the other Ivies on this list, the unofficial group of Little Ivies are comparable to the Ivy League in terms of their academic excellence and selective admission standards. The Little Ivies are known for their large financial endowments in comparison to their size. 

 

School

Location

Acceptance Rate

Amherst College

Amherst, Massachusetts 

13%

Bates College

Lewiston, Maine

18%

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, Maine

10%

Bucknell College

Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

33%

Colby College

Waterville, Maine

13%

Colgate University

Hamilton, New York

25%

Connecticut College

New London, Connecticut

38%

Hamilton College

Clinton, New York

21%

Haverford College

Haverford, Pennsylvania

19%

Lafayette College

Easton, Pennsylvania

29%

Middlebury College

Middlebury, Vermont

17%

Swarthmore College

Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

9%

Trinity College

Hartford, Connecticut

34%

Tufts University

Medford, Massachusetts 

15%

Union College

Schenectady, New York

39%

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, New York

25%

Wesleyan University

Middletown, Connecticut

17%

Williams College

Williamstown, Massachusetts

13%

 

Southern Ivies

 

While the original eight Ivy League institutions are located in the northeastern portion of the United States, the Southern Ivies include the prestigious universities located in the South. Again, while there is no official list of the Southern Ivy League schools, here are some of the top institutions in the South. Like many of the other universities listed in this article, these schools offer incredible academic programs.

 

School

Location

Acceptance Rate

Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

9%

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

10%

Rice University

Houston, Texas

11%

Davidson College

Davidson, North Carolina

19%

Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia

19%

Wake Forest University

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

29%

Tulane University

New Orleans, Louisiana

17%

 

Hidden Ivies

 

Howard Greene and Matthew Greene’s 2016 college education guide, The Hidden Ivies, lists over 50 colleges that rival the Ivy League. The Greene’s utilized the same metrics often used to evaluate the Ivy League schools to create a distinctive list of universities that are small in size and carry a reputation of prestige and academic excellence. Here are some of the universities that made the list:

 

School

Location

Acceptance Rate

Barnard College

New York, New York

14%

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

28%

Georgetown University

Washington, Washington DC

15%

Emory University

Atlanta, Georgia

19%

Skidmore College

Saratoga Springs, New York

27%

Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, Ohio

29%

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, Indiana

18%

Oberlin College

Oberlin, Ohio

36%

Claremont Mckenna College

Claremont, California

9%

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, California

13%

 

Learn more about the Hidden Ivies and whether they’re right for you. 

 

Black Ivies

 

The Black Ivies refer to an unofficial group of schools in the United States that are historically black colleges and universities, also known as HBCUs. These HBCUs were originally built for Black students and today these universities continue to attract high achieving Black students from across the United States. Howard University, part of the unofficial group of Black Ivies, has awarded the highest number of Black doctorates compared to any other university. Here are some of the schools that make up the Black Ivy League:

 

School

Location

Acceptance Rate

Dillard University

New Orleans, Louisiana

61%

Fisk University

Nashville, Tennessee

72%

Hampton University

Hampton, Virginia

44%

Howard University

Washington DC

32%

Morehouse College

Atlanta, Georgia

58%

Spelman College

Atlanta, Georgia

39%

Tuskegee University

Tuskegee, Alabama

52%

 

Learn more about the Black Ivy League and whether it’s right for you.

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at Ivy Plus Schools?

 

While all of these universities have low acceptance rates, your personal chances of acceptance may actually be higher or lower. To better understand your chances at these universities, we recommend using our free admissions calculator. Using your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance, and give you tips on improving your profile.

 

With competitive universities like these, it’s important to have a balanced college list to maximize your chances of getting into a good fit school. We recommend you apply to 8-12 schools, with 25% being safety schools, 40% target schools, and 35% reach schools.

 

You can also search for schools based on preferences like location, major, cost, and more. Give it a try to jumpstart on your college strategy!

 


Short Bio
Bijal is a senior at UCLA studying Anthropology with minors in Global Health and Gerontology. Working as a Bruin Ambassador in the Undergraduate Admissions office throughout college and having gone through the application cycle again for graduate school, she is eager to share her knowledge!

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