12 Things You Must Remember While Applying to Ivy League Colleges


Aarushi Jain
Updated on Aug 30, 2022 12:12 PM IST

Planning to study at an Ivy League? Check out these important things that aspirants must remember before applying to Ivy League colleges that will surely help you to complete your Ivy application process with flying colours. 

12 Things You Must Remember While Applying to Ivy League Colleges

The statistics on Ivy League admissions paint a clear picture of how difficult it is to gain admission to any one of these prestigious universities. The Ivy League colleges are among the most selective schools in the world, with an average acceptance rate of just over 9%. With that in mind, it stands to reason that only three types of students are admitted to the Ivy League: elite students, top performers, and the children of world leaders, legacy families, or wealthy donors.

We often come across frequently asked questions like, what distinguishes the eight Ivy League institutions from the other 5,300 universities in the United States? Or, how to apply to ivy league universities from India? If you are an aspirant, wishing to study in an Ivy League soon, then here are some of the top things to remember before applying to Ivy League colleges that will help you to make your application stand out!

What are Ivy League Colleges?

The first and most basic thing to remember before applying to Ivy League colleges is to understand what the term Ivy League means. The Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference made up 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 in other contexts to refer to the same eight schools.

Ivy League schools are well known for their academic excellence and high admissions standards. Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University are the eight Ivy League colleges in the USA.

Simplify Your Application to Ivy LeagueUniversities!

Ivy League Colleges Rankings

Before applying to Ivy League colleges from India, you must be thoroughly familiar with its rankings too. This will give you a brief overview of these Ivy universities as per different ranking agencies. These world rankings vary according to the programme or subject. Rather than simply selecting the best Ivy League, you should determine which Ivy League is best suited for you or your programme before applying to an Ivy League college. The table below will enlighten you with the world university rankings of different Ivy League colleges:

Ivy League Colleges

THE World University Rankings 2022

US News & World Report Rankings 2022

QS World University Ranking 2022

Harvard University




Princeton University




Columbia University




Yale University




University of Pennsylvania




Cornell University




Brown University




Dartmouth University




Ivy League Colleges Acceptance Rate

After knowing about the rankings of Ivy League colleges, the next important thing to remember before applying to Ivy League colleges is to get familiar with the acceptance rate of all 8 universities. The below-mentioned table will enlighten you about the acceptance rate of different Ivy League colleges for the class of 2025 and 2026.

Ivy League Colleges

Class of 2025 Acceptance Rate

Class of 2026 Acceptance Rate

Brown University



Princeton University



Harvard University



Cornell University



Dartmouth University



University of Pennsylvania



Yale University



Columbia University



Be Sure to Have a Good Academic Record

The next thing to keep in mind before applying to Ivy League colleges is to double-check your academic records. You must be your first evaluator in determining whether you are eligible to study at an Ivy League institution.

If you want to attend an Ivy League school, you will need to have excellent grades and test scores. These are the two most important factors for a student attempting to gain admission to a highly selective university, according to The National Association for College Admission Counseling. It is also necessary for them to take extensive courses in which they can excel.

Course rigour is essential. It informs schools about whether students are willing to challenge themselves and whether they are succeeding despite those challenges. Furthermore, students who do not meet Ivy League standards will not be accepted unless they have another achievement/s that distinguish them.

Ivy League Colleges

Average GPA Required Before Applying to Ivy League Colleges

Brown University


Columbia University


Cornell University


Dartmouth University


Harvard University


Princeton University


University of Pennsylvania


Yale University


Be Sure to Have Good Test Scores

Aside from your academic record, you should also be assured of the test scores that are required for admission into Ivy League colleges. Although the overall trend in Ivy admissions emphasises test scores less than in previous years, your scores are still important and play a huge role in deciding your candidature.

Ivy League School

Average SAT Score

Average ACT Score

Brown University



Columbia University



Cornell University



Dartmouth University



Harvard University



Princeton University



University of Pennsylvania



Yale University



Remember to Apply Early!

The other thing you have to keep in mind before applying to Ivy League colleges is to keep a note of the deadlines and important dates to apply as early as possible. By applying in this manner, you greatly increase your chances of admission to one of the Ivy League elite universities. Take note, however, that you can only apply to one university through early decision, so choose wisely. Make sure you only apply in advance if you are certain about the university you want to attend.

If you are accepted under early decision (ED), you must withdraw from all other schools to which you have applied. You must also be completely committed to attending that university. Early action (EA) is another option for students, but unlike ED, it is not binding.

Draft Exception Personal Statement or Essays

Another one of the most important things that aspirants must remember before applying to Ivy League colleges is that they will be required to draft an exceptional personal statement and essay for admission. Personal statements and essays are extremely important in your application to the Ivies. More than any other aspect of an Ivy League college application, a well-written essay along with a solid personal statement/SOP can convey a lot about you to the admission committee.

Writing a personal statement will allow you to explain personal motivations, reveal more about your passions, demonstrate leadership abilities, and build trust. An Ivy League college will use your personal statement and essays to determine if you are a good fit for their campus community. They want to know that you are not only concerned with your own goals but also capable of furthering the mission of the university.

Draft a Perfect SOP for Ivy League Universities!

Do Not Forget Your Letter of Recommendation

The next important thing that aspirants should always keep in mind before applying to Ivy League colleges is the LOR. Generally, students have this perception of not taking this document seriously. It should be noted that a strong and well-written LOR or letter of recommendation strengthens your overall application by allowing people in your life to provide professional and personal feedback on your academic performance, motivation, and character.

If you want to get positive and convincing references, build relationships with teachers, important employees, and leaders of your extracurricular activities. Make a strong application by obtaining strong letters of recommendation from third parties and writing an excellent essay about your specific extracurricular interest.

Highlight Your Extracurricular Activities

There are hundreds of extracurricular activities that could be considered, but the reality is that any of them can make your college application stand out if you have demonstrated true passion and depth in that activity. It is worth noting that when approached with enough energy and commitment, any activity can become truly awe-inspiring.

Extracurricular activities are essential if you want to get into the Ivy League. Ivy Leagues do not want applicants who have participated in dozens of extracurricular activities. They discourage getting involved in too many activities and prefer that you delve deeper into a subject, devote the appropriate amount of time to it, and ideally use this experience to propel you into a life-changing experience.

It is acceptable if your extracurricular activities change in the future. Demonstrate to the respective admission committees of different Ivy League colleges that you are capable of great things in the present and the future because what you accomplish now is a good predictor of what you will do later.

Networking is Important

Networking is another one of the most and less talked about important things to remember before applying to Ivy League colleges. The value of knowing the right people cannot be overstated. Ivy League colleges are well-known for their ability to network. Please contact us if you know any students, professors, graduates, or anyone else associated with your desired Ivy League school. They can provide valuable information and resources to help you get into an Ivy League university.

While Ivy League colleges have large alumni networks, large schools like Penn State also have well-connected alumni networks. You may believe that this is not a factor to consider, but if you are looking for work, alumni connections may be your best bet.

Do Not Overlook the Location Factor

Employers prefer to recruit graduates in the city where their primary operations are located, and there are more job opportunities at the corporate headquarters.

Sometimes the debate over rural versus urban neighbourhoods is about more than just the social aspects that each neighbourhood type may represent. It sometimes matters because of who runs businesses there. When deciding on a college, look into where companies are headquartered. If you want to work in manufacturing, you should look into schools in Texas or Michigan.

Do Well in Your Interview

Prepare for an interview with an alumn of the university to which you are applying. Although the interview is not the most important part of your college application, it does have an impact on whether or not you are accepted or rejected by the university of your choice.

For example, stumbling to answer questions about your passions and interests as a student, as well as your reasons for applying to university, can harm your college application. When responding to questions, always be personable and polite. Ivy League interviews are generally friendly exchanges in which your interviewer attempts to learn more about you.

Admission Factors Outside of Your Control

So far, we have talked about things you can control and things to keep in mind before applying to Ivy League schools. But did you know that there are several factors in the admissions process over which you have no control? Let us also shed some light on this:

The legacy status comes first and foremost. Students who have a sibling or parent who attended the Ivy League school to which they are applying can benefit from this. Legacies are generally preferred by colleges for a variety of reasons. For example, family loyalty can be a significant factor in alumni donations.

Students with Ivy League alumni family members are more likely to accept an admission offer because they are familiar with the school. This, of course, benefits the yield of the specific university.

Another factor beyond your control is how you fit into the institution's efforts to attract a diverse student body. Furthermore, a strong applicant from an under-represented sector will have an advantage over a similarly strong student from a majority group too.

Seek help from experts to study at an Ivy League university. Write your queries at abroad@collegedekho.com today!

Know How to Make it to an Ivy League College!


How can I increase my chances of getting into Ivy League colleges?

Here are the 6 important and vital things to keep in mind that can surely increase your chances of getting into any one of the Ivy League colleges in the USA:

  • Be sure to have good grades and test scores
  • Try not to be late in your application process
  • Draft an exceptional personal statement
  • Do not forget about your LOR
  • Demonstrate your extracurricular activities
  • Do well in your interview

What does it really take to get into Ivy League colleges?

To be admitted to an Ivy League college, applicants or aspirants must typically have high test scores, excellent grades and academic history. The average early acceptance rate for fall 2020 among Ivy League schools that provided early admissions statistics to U.S. News was 18.1%.

Is Stanford a part of the Ivy League colleges?

Stanford University is not an Ivy League institution. Although Stanford is not a member of the eight-school Ivy League, it is an extremely prestigious, selective, and influential university. It is frequently mistaken for an Ivy League school due to its selectivity and renown. Stanford, also known as the ‘Harvard of the West’, attracts some of the world's brightest and most talented students and is frequently ranked higher than many Ivy League schools in publications such as U.S. News and World Report.

Which is the easiest Ivy League school to get into?

Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate of any Ivy League school, making admission the simplest. Cornell University is the easiest of the Ivies to get to. For the class of 2026, it has an 8% acceptance rate. This percentage is more than double the acceptance rate of Harvard University, which is 3.19% for the same year.

What time do Ivy League colleges release decisions?

Ivy Day occurs in late March, when all Ivy League schools publish their regular admissions decisions online. Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale are among the eight Ivies that release their decisions at the same time on a regular basis. This time varies from year to year, but it is usually between 5 and 7 p.m. ET.

What GPA do you need to apply to Ivy League colleges from India?

The GPA requirements at Ivy League colleges are not always explicitly stated. If you want to attend an Ivy League school, you should aim for a minimum GPA of 3.5 and an average GPA of 4.0. This is especially true now, with acceptance rates lower than in previous years.

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