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There are a number of factors that influence a college admissions decision. Admissions committees will consider your grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, and recommendations. Your strength as a candidate will depend on how these and other factors combine to form a complete profile of you as an applicant.

 

The college admissions process is sometimes as mysterious as it is complex. Few colleges outline exactly how they make admissions decisions, and many decisions ultimately rely on other subjective factors like your essay or an interview. What little information we know for certain about admissions at particular colleges and universities is almost always pieced together from their released admissions statistics.

 

Ivy League Admissions

While many factors about college admissions might be unclear, one thing that is clear is the level of selectivity in admissions at Ivy League schools.

 

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.

 

Admissions are handled in slightly different ways at each of these elite institutions of higher learning. While no single school differentiates itself by specifically outlining admissions standards that are inherently different from the others, the admissions statistics released by each school do vary slightly. These statistics sometimes reveal varying applicant pools and other times reveal differing priorities in selecting incoming students.

 

For example, while the admissions rate at Brown is a mere 9%, the average SAT of admitted students is around 1425. Conversely, the admissions rate at Dartmouth College is slightly higher at 10.5%, but average SAT scores of admitted students are also higher, around 1446.

 

While this could mean that Brown prioritizes other factors over the SAT, it could also mean that more students apply there, despite having slightly lower SAT scores. It’s impossible to say which is the case, and even so, the numbers vary only slightly. Still, these slight variations in admissions statistics at Ivy League schools often get a lot of attention from curious prospective students.

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Grade Point Averages for the Ivy League

One factor that is certainly considered by all schools is an applicant’s grade point average. A grade point average, or GPA, is a testament to a student’s work in high school and reflects a scoring average from all of their classes. Often, GPAs are weighed according to the difficulty of a student’s selected courses.

 

To learn more about GPAs, read the CollegeVine articles What is a Good GPA for Top Schools? and Can a Good SAT/ACT Score Offset a Bad GPA?

 

There is no minimum GPA to apply to any of the Ivy League schools. That said, in order to be a strong candidate for one of these competitive schools, you will almost always need to achieve a near-perfect GPA. If your GPA is not as strong as that of other candidates, you will need to excel in other areas to set yourself apart.

 

We are often asked what GPA is needed to get into an Ivy League school. While there is no exact standard, the answer can be partially found in admissions statistics.

 

The average GPA of admitted students at a particular school gives you a general idea of the standards expected for admission. Of course, there is never a guarantee, and sometimes a student with a higher GPA will be rejected and a student with a lower GPA will be accepted. It ultimately comes down to your overall profile as a candidate, rather than one single number on your application.

 

It’s difficult to look at the average GPAs of admitted students at Ivy League schools, because these statistics are not officially released by the schools themselves. Instead, the statistics must be gleaned from existing data that is mostly self-reported by students. As such, these statistics cannot be counted on to be 100% accurate. They should give a rough idea of the GPA expected at these schools but not an exact idea.

 

If you’re wondering if you have what it takes to get into an Ivy League school, check out these admissions statistics, including the average GPA of admitted students at each Ivy League. As you review this data, keep in mind that its accuracy relies on self-reported numbers, so it cannot be 100% confirmed. Also keep in mind that these numbers are based on weighted GPAs on a 4.0 scale.

 

For more about the difference between weighted and unweighted GPAs, see our article Is Weighted or Unweighted GPA More Important? 

 

Average GPA of Admitted Students at Ivy League Schools

Brown University: Overall acceptance rate 9%. Average GPA of admitted students: 4.05. 

Columbia University: Overall acceptance rate 6%. Average GPA of admitted students: 4.13.

Cornell University: Overall acceptance rate 14%. Average GPA of admitted students: 4.01.

Dartmouth College: Overall acceptance rate 10.5%. Average GPA of admitted students: 4.1.

Harvard University: Overall acceptance rate 5.2%. Average GPA of admitted students: 4.04.   

University of Pennsylvania: Overall acceptance rate 9.4%. Average GPA of admitted students: 3.9.

Princeton University: Overall acceptance rate 6.5%. Average GPA of admitted students: 3.9.

Yale University: Overall acceptance rate 6.3%. Average GPA of admitted students: 4.19.   

 

As you can see, average GPAs are not directly correlated with the acceptance rate at each Ivy League school. Instead, many different factors affect the decisions made by admissions committees as they evaluate the pool of applicants.

 

For more information about the Ivy League, check out these popular CollegeVine posts:

 

 

For more information about a specific Ivy League school, check out our series of Ultimate Guides:

 

 

If you are a high school student interested in attending an Ivy League school, but 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.

 

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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

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