Easiest and Hardest Ivy League Schools To Get Into » Exam Cave (2023)

Easiest and Hardest Ivy League Schools To Get Into » Exam Cave (1)

Like a skyscraper, your foundation will determine how high you can go. If you are like many others, you choose to build your foundation after high school by going to college. There are many choices, but only the best will do for you.

You have decided to put your name among Rashida Jones, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet as Ivy League Alumni. Here are the Hardest and Easiest (If you can call it that) Ivy League Schools to get into starting with the hardest.

Table of Contents

  • The Hardest
    • Harvard University
    • Columbia University
    • Princeton University
    • Yale University
  • The Easiest
    • Brown University
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • Dartmouth College
    • Cornell University
  • Eight Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a School
  • Final Thoughts

The Hardest

These colleges are the most selective of the Eight Ivy League schools; they have the lowest acceptance rates for the class of 2023. The margin between these schools is slim, but knowing what to expect before you apply, can make all the difference and help you choose the right school for you.

Harvard University

Founded in 1636 and located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard tops our list as the hardest Ivy League school to get an application accepted.

According to Harvard Admissions, from a total of 43,330 applicants, only 2,008 were admitted to the college. These numbers calculate to a 4.6% acceptance rate.

When it comes to test scores, most students admitted scored from 1470-1570 for the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively. On the ACT, 33 represented the 25th percentile, and 35 represented the 75th percentile.

Harvard boasts the most extensive academic library in the world, with 20.4 million volumes. It is also home to several museums that hold 28 million works combined. Harvard is headed by Lawrence S. Bacow, who is the 29th president of the university.

Recent graduates obtained degrees in Law, Business, and Medical programs. If you are looking to pursue a career in one of these fields or are just intrigued that Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education, it may be the place for you.

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Columbia University

Founded in 1754 and located in New York, New York, Columbia University is the second hardest Ivy League school to have an application accepted.

According to Columbia University Admissions, from a total of 42,569 applicants, only 2,247 were admitted to the college. That is effectively a 5.3% acceptance rate.

The average test scores for the SAT and the ACT were 1480-1560 and 33-35, respectively. Although their average test scores are in line with Harvard, they are still not as selective by a very slim margin.

Columbia University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York. Lee C. Bollinger is president of the university, and he took the position in 2002 and is the 19th person to do so.

Recent graduates obtained degrees in Business, Engineering, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). GSAS degrees include Art History and Archaeology, Political Science, and Philosophy.

If any of those pique your interest, Columbia University may be right for you.

Princeton University

Founded in 1746 and located in Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton is the third hardest Ivy league school to get an application accepted.

According to their admission statistics, out of a total of 32,804 applicants, only 1,896 were admitted to the college. That comes out to about a 5.8% acceptance rate.

The average SAT scores admitted ranged from 750-800 for math and between 710-770 for reading and writing. Average ACT scores ranged from 33-35. These scores put them in line with the first two schools on our list.

Princeton is the fourth oldest college in the country. It predates the revolutionary war and has been led by Christopher Eisgruber since 2013, who is the 20th person to preside as president of the college.

The majority of the graduates from the class of 2019 received Bachelor of Arts degrees. This type of degree can prepare you for careers in Marketing, Design, or law.

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Yale University

Founded in 1701 and located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale rounds out our four hardest Ivy League schools to get an application accepted.

With a 6.2% acceptance rate, Yale received a total of 36,844 applicants, which works out to about 2,284 admitted for the class of 2023.

The majority of SAT scores submitted by first-year applicants ranged from 760-800 for reading, writing, and Math. ACT scores showed a majority spread of 32-36. These scores put Yale on par with our first three schools.

Yale is led by Peter Salovey, who became president of the university in 2013. The school is located about 90 minutes from New York and is home to 14 million library holdings. Although its library is not as big as Harvard’s, it should be able to satisfy even the most dedicated book worm.

The majority of recent graduates were able to find employment either full-time, part-time, or temporary, and this is good news as it can be very disappointing to get your degree but not be able to find a job.

The Easiest

These colleges are more receptive to applicants than the first four Ivy League schools but not by much. Being more receptive does not mean less prestigious, going to any one of the following four schools will allow you to build a solid foundation.

Brown University

Founded in 1764 and located in Providence, Rhode Island, Brown begins our list of easiest Ivy League schools to get an application accepted.

With an acceptance rate of 6.6%, Brown accepts 2% more applicants than our hardest school to get into Harvard. That works out to about 2,552 admissions out of 38,674 applicants.

Although Brown did not report the average SAT and ACT scores for those admitted, you can expect them to be around the same ranges as our earlier schools. Brown may accept more applicants, but they still have a high bar compared to Non-Ivy League Schools.

A self-described research university, Brown played an essential role in the revolutionary war. The university was used to house American troops, and the school was closed for six years in response to British advances. Brown is led by Christina Paxson, who took the helm in 2012 and is the university’s 19th president.

2019 saw Brown celebrate 1,199 graduates who obtained master’s degrees and medical degrees, and this was the largest group ever to do so and should give you confidence if you are considering Brown.

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University of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1740 and located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the University of Pennsylvania (Penn for short) is next on our list of easiest Ivy League Schools to get an application accepted.

With an acceptance rate of 7.7%, Penn admitted 3,446 out of 44,961 applicants, which places the university as the 3rd easiest Ivy League school to get an application accepted.

The average SAT, and ACT scores ranged from 1460-1550 and 33-35. SAT scores were slightly more forgiving than Harvard by a small margin, while ACT scores were on par.

Amy Gutmann, the 9th president of the university and has been serving in the role since 2004. Penn offers a guided virtual tour that provides information about different university landmarks if you consider attending Penn take the tour!

Penn is a place where if you start, you are most likely to finish. Over six years, Penn has an undergraduate graduation rate of 96%.

Dartmouth College

Founded in 1769 and located in Hanover, New Hampshire, Dartmouth is the second easiest Ivy League School to get an application accepted.

With an acceptance rate of 7.9%, Dartmouth admitted 1,876 applicants out of 23,650, the lowest pool of the 8 Ivy League schools.

The average SAT scores for incoming students ranged from 710-770 for critical reading and 730-790 for Math. Average ACT scores ranged from 32-35. Test scores are still competitive, even at this point on the list. The lower number of total applicants may give you an edge should you choose Dartmouth.

The president of Dartmouth is Phillip Hanlon, who took the position in 2013 and is the 10th person to hold the position. Dartmouth is a leader in sustainability, and they aim to rely on 100% renewable energy by 2050. If you are looking to pursue a career in sustainability, Dartmouth may be just what the doctor ordered.

In a graduation survey of the class of 2019, 72% of 1,055 students who participated were employed, had fellowships or internships. When it comes to job compensation, 85% will be making $40,000 or higher.

Cornell University

Founded in 1865 and located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell is the youngest and easiest Ivy League school to get into on the list.

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With an acceptance rate of about 10.9%, Cornell admitted 5,330 applicants from a pool of 49,114. This acceptance rate is more than double the rate for our top two schools of Harvard and Columbia and, as such, presents the highest chance of acceptance for a prospective student.

The SAT’s average test scores ranged from 680 for the 25th percentile and 760 for the 75th percentile in reading and writing. Simultaneously, math scores ranged from 720 for the 25th percentile and 800 for the 75th. ACT scores ranged from 32 to 35 for the 25th and 75th percentiles, respectively.

The president of the university is Martha E. Pollack, and she took the position in 2017. Cornell has a history of being first. They were the first to award degrees in journalism, veterinary medicine, and were the first to award doctorates in electrical and industrial engineering.

The class of 2019 saw Cornell celebrate the graduation of 7,396 students, a larger graduating class than the other Ivy League schools on the list. Having such a large graduating class may benefit you if you are looking to have a varied and diverse college experience.

Eight Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing a School

Before you go off and decide which one of these eight schools is best for you, here are some things you should consider in your search:

  • Location
  • Degrees Offered
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance Rate/Number of Applicants
  • Test Scores
  • Number of Students
  • Graduation Rate
  • Extracurricular Activities (Sports and Clubs)

Final Thoughts

Deciding which college is for you is tough enough. When you choose to go to an Ivy League school, it becomes even tougher. You will be competing against the brightest minds for a spot in these prestigious colleges.

While you will have a better chance of getting accepted into Cornell than Harvard, each school sets a high standard, and you must put your best foot forward to get in. The margin is slim, but by having the right information, you can maximize your chances of getting accepted into the Ivy League school of your dreams.

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Easiest and Hardest Ivy League Schools To Get Into » Exam Cave (2)

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Which Ivy League school is the easiest to get into? ›

1. What's the easiest Ivy League school to get into? While all Ivy League schools have a low acceptance rate, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate among them. Cornell's acceptance rate is 11%, but try not to get too hung up on the numbers.

Which Ivy League school is hardest to get into? ›

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the US and consistently ranks #1 hardest Ivy League to get into. Founded in 1636, Harvard offers students a world-class education from some of the most brilliant professors in the world.

What is a hidden Ivy school? ›

The Hidden Ivies include many small colleges, such as Davidson College, Pomona College, Carleton College, and Oberlin College, as well as some large research universities, like Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Southern California.

Which Ivy has the highest acceptance rate? ›

Recent data shows Cornell University is the Ivy League school with the highest acceptance rate.

What is the lowest GPA an Ivy League has accepted? ›

None of the Ivy League schools have a minimum GPA requirement for applications, which means anyone can apply regardless of their GPA.

What is the lowest Ivy League? ›

What Are the Cheapest Ivy League Schools? The cheapest Ivy League schools include The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University.

What is the smartest Ivy League? ›

The best Ivy League school in 2022 is Harvard, followed by Princeton and Yale based on this ranking method.

What is the number 1 hardest college to get into? ›

1) Harvard University
  • Acceptance Rate: 3.19%
  • Class of 2026 applicants: 61,221.
  • Average SAT: 1510.
Nov 11, 2022

What is the best public ivy? ›

However, the following five schools are widely considered the cream of the crop when it comes to Public Ivies:
  • University of California, Berkeley.
  • University of California, Los Angeles.
  • University of Michigan.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • University of Virginia.
Feb 15, 2023

What is the Harvard of the Midwest? ›

Truman stands out amongst colleges throughout the Midwest. There aren't many schools out there that compare to Truman. They call it the "Harvard of the Midwest" or "Princeton of the Prairie" for a reason. The courses are challenging, but the professors are interesting and supportive.

What is the oldest Ivy school? ›

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. and one of the most selective in the Ivy League. The university is tied at No. 2 in our National Universities ranking. As a private research institution, Harvard has more than 100 research centers on campus.

Which Ivy League school has the hottest students? ›

Penn was the winner, followed by Brown and Columbia. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, which ranked the highest out of all universities on US News' annual college list, brought up the rear.

What college has a 100 acceptance rate? ›

Located in North Dakota's capital city, Bismarck State College tops the list of colleges with the highest acceptance rates. The third-largest institution in the state's public university system, BSC serves approximately 4,000 students each year. The school accepts 100% of applicants.

Do you need straight A's to get into Harvard? ›

With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

Can I get into Harvard with 2 B's? ›

Can I get into Harvard with 2 BS? Does Harvard Accept B Students? Yes, just like I mentioned above, it's completely possible to get admitted into Harvard University with B grades. Admissions are not reserved only for straight-A students.

Do you need straight A's for Ivy League? ›

Yes, you can get into an Ivy League college without straight As. Not all Ivy League students had straight As during high school. It's more important to show that you took advanced courses and a strong course load in high school than to get straight As.

What is the blackest Ivy League? ›

Spelman College is ranked #1 in historically black colleges and universities in the U.S., and the top Black Ivy League school.

Which Ivy has the best social life? ›

The best Ivy League party schools are Dartmouth and Penn, followed by Cornell. But if you put yourself out there and meet the right people, you can have an incredible social life at any of them.

What Ivy Leagues are free? ›

Ivy League schools that offer free tuition programs
  • Princeton University. ...
  • Harvard University. ...
  • Columbia University. ...
  • Yale University. ...
  • Brown University. ...
  • Cornell University. ...
  • Dartmouth College. ...
  • The University of Pennsylvania.
Jun 8, 2020

What is the whitest Ivy League? ›

New data confirms what you've probably already guessed: Princeton is the whitest Ivy in the League. According to stats retrieved from College Scorecard, 47 percent of Princeton's students are white, more than any other top college in the States.

Who is the smartest kid in Harvard? ›

Harvard At 11 Years Old

Sidis was accepted to Harvard at age 9, but the school wanted him to wait until he was 11. Five years later, he graduated cum laude.

Is Elon Musk from Ivy League? ›

Elon Musk Came to the U.S. as a College Student

He started at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League school, on a scholarship.

What is the rarest college to get into? ›

Stanford University has the lowest acceptance rate of all universities on this list. Its admission rate for 2021 was 3.9%. Academic achievement is one of the main factors Stanford uses in their admissions process.

What is the most impressive college? ›

25 Most Beautiful College Campuses in the USA in 2023
  1. Berry College, Georgia. ...
  2. The University of Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana. ...
  3. University of San Diego, California. ...
  4. Rice University, Texas. ...
  5. University of Virginia, Virginia. ...
  6. Pepperdine University, California. ...
  7. College of William and Mary, Virginia. ...
  8. Duke University, North Carolina.
Nov 22, 2022

What college has the nicest people? ›

Friendliest Colleges in the US
  • Vanderbilt University – Nashville, Tennessee. ...
  • Rice University – Houston, TX. ...
  • Tulane University – New Orleans, LA. ...
  • College of William and Mary – Williamsburg, VA. ...
  • Colby College — Waterville, ME. ...
  • Clemson University – Clemson, SC. ...
  • University of California-Santa Barbara – Santa Barbara, CA.
Jan 1, 2023

Which Ivy is the most preppy? ›

Different Ivy League schools have different reputations in regard to the types of students they attract and admit. Princeton students are often viewed as more preppy, for example, whereas Brown students are perceived as more progressive.

What is the most liberal university? ›

Most Liberal Colleges in the U.S.
  • Bard College. Dutchess County, NY. ...
  • Evergreen State College. Olympia, WA. ...
  • Hampshire College. Amherst, MA. ...
  • Mount Holyoke College. South Hadley, MA. ...
  • Oberlin College. Oberlin, OH. ...
  • Portland State University. Portland, OR. ...
  • San Francisco State University. San Francisco, CA. ...
  • Sarah Lawrence College.

How many little Ivies are there? ›

The colleges of the "Little Three": Amherst, Wesleyan, and Williams. This athletic league was founded as the "Triangular League" in 1899 in New England. The term is inspired by the term "Big Three" of the Ivy League: Harvard, Princeton, and Yale despite there being no academic, athletic or historical association.

Who is the rival of Harvard? ›

It's been more than 140 years since Harvard and Yale first battled on the gridiron. The Harvard and Yale football rivalry, known as "The Game," is the second-oldest continuing rivalry in college football.

What college is considered the Harvard of the South? ›

Vanderbilt University is known as the Harvard of the South and with good reason. The campus is an urban one and a located on West End Avenue and 21st Avenue.

What is the MIT of the Midwest? ›

Carnegie Mellon University; the MIT of the Midwest.

Who is the youngest Harvard? ›

. Eugenie Carys de Silva

Why is MIT not an Ivy? ›

But MIT doesn't fit perfectly into the Ivy League. For one, it doesn't have the same history as most of the Ivy League schools. It also has a strong focus on science and engineering. While most of the Ivy League schools have a strong focus on humanities and the arts, MIT is much more focused on science.

Who is the youngest Harvard graduate? ›

Eugenie Carys de Silva is an academic known for being the youngest person to ever graduate from Harvard University. De Silva completed her masters in Intelligence Studies at age 13.

What is the most relaxed Ivy League school? ›

Cornell University

Cornell is also known to have the most relaxed academics of any of the schools of the Ivy League; however, this is dependent on the specific schools within the university.

Which Ivy has the most school spirit? ›

Harvard University

They tell you. And that's because students and graduates of this Ivy League university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have a huge amount of school pride. For a school so well known for its academics, Harvard is surprisingly sporty — almost 80% of students are involved in athletics in some capacity.

Which college has a 1 acceptance rate? ›

RankSchoolAcceptance Rate
1Harvard University6%
2Yale University7%
3University of Pennsylvania10%
4Johns Hopkins University14%
18 more rows

What college has the best dorms? ›

But where can you find the best college dorms in America? The Princeton Review recently released its 2022 ranking of the best college dorms, based on student ratings of their dorms and residence halls. Taking the top spot is Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

What is the cheapest but best colleges? ›

Top 100 - Most Affordable Mid-size to Large Colleges and Universities in 2023
RankSchool NameNet Price
1California State University–Dominquez Hills Carson, CA$1,640
2University of Texas–Pan American Edinburg, TX$2,500
3California State University–Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA$2,735
4CUNY Leman College Bronx, New York$2,327
6 more rows

What is the lowest GPA Harvard accepted? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.

Can you get into an ivy with a bad essay? ›

Your Essay:

The sooner you start brainstorming and writing your college essays, the better. All of the things we've talked about above won't increase your chances of getting into an Ivy if your essay is terrible. You simply won't get in.

Can you get into Ivy League with BS? ›

An Ivy League school might accept a student who had all As and one or two Bs in the highest-level classes, but it probably wouldn't accept a student who had flawless grades in all mid- or low-level classes. These schools are looking for students who are up for an intellectual challenge and genuinely enjoy learning.

Can a 3.7 GPA get you into Ivy League? ›

Yes, you can get into an Ivy League with a 3.7 GPA. Though, the lower your grade, the less your chances of getting into an Ivy League, but with a strong personal statement and a properly packaged application, you can get in with a grade even less than 3.7 GPA.

Can a 3.3 GPA get you into Ivy League? ›

Can you get accepted into an Ivy League or top-tier college with a low GPA? The short answer is yes. While not everyone with a 3.3 GPA will get in, we'll discuss some of the nuances of how to get into ivy league with a low GPA and how you can play the right cards in your favor.

Do Ivy Leagues accept 3.5 GPA? ›

It may be difficult to get into an Ivy League school with a 3.5 GPA. Most Ivy League schools require that applicants have an average GPA of 4.0.

Is a 3.9 GPA good enough for Ivy League? ›

For most of the Ivy League schools, they expect as close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA as possible. However, the actual unweighted GPAs of students admitted could vary, with many around the 3.5-4.0 range. GPA alone will not make or break a student's application — but it can play a pretty influential role.

What is the lowest GPA accepted at Harvard? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.

What is the lowest GPA admitted to Harvard? ›

Continue to work hard, take difficult classes, and show your passions outside of school! To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .

What is the lowest GPA accepted to Yale? ›

You should also have a 4.14 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Yale, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.

What is Yale's average GPA unweighted? ›

On an unweighted scale, the typical high school grade point average for a Yale student is reported to be 3.95, according to the data provided by Yale students who have provided their GPA scores as part of the application process.

Can I get into Yale with a 3.5 GPA? ›

A 3.5 GPA will be highly competitive, and admission can be reasonably expected at many colleges. Still, it's not the most competitive at places like Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth, which, on average, accept students with GPAs exceeding 4.0.

Can I get into Princeton with a 3.8 GPA? ›

For Princeton, competitive applicants have unweighted GPAs of 3.8. Harvard has named a weighted GPA of around 4.18 to be a “sweetspot” number for students looking to gain admission to the number one college in the country. For most of the Ivy League schools, they expect as close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA as possible.

How many B's is a 3.9 GPA? ›

A 3.9 GPA can be composed of three years of two semesters, each semester containing 5 classes, and all grades equal to As except 3, which are Bs. A 3.85 GPA is the same but 1 or 2 more Bs.

Will a 4.5 GPA get me into Harvard? ›

Minimum GPA Required for Acceptance Into an Ivy League School: There is no minimum GPA to apply to any of the Ivy League schools.
SchoolOverall Acceptance RateAverage GPA of Admitted Students
Columbia University5.1%4.14
Cornell University10.6%4.05
Dartmouth College7.9%4.07
Harvard University4.5%4.18
4 more rows
Apr 17, 2017

Will one B ruin a 4.0 GPA? ›

One B over 4 years will not substantially affect your cumulative GPA, but a B every term will make you noncompetitive for graduate study at the top schools.


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