Should I study at an Ivy League school?

Paige Lyman
Paige Lyman

21 September 2020 • 4 min read

When looking at schools in the United States to consider attending, Ivy League schools are certainly going to be eye-catching for many students. Ivy League schools have world-renowned academic programs and carry a certain level of prestige with them.

Determining if studying at an Ivy League school is right for you can be a process. The general understanding is that Ivy League schools are more prestigious and can provide you a better education than you might find elsewhere. But more and more students, both American and international, are increasingly weighing the option of Ivy League schools vs. other institutions. 

With so much information available on the pros and cons of attending an Ivy League School, it can be helpful to have some key points pulled together in one place as you consider whether or not Ivy League is the direction you want to go.

What are Ivy League schools?

A straightforward question. Ivy League schools are a group of eight private universities that all belong to the same American collegiate athletic conference. These eight universities are Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Columbia, Brown, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Yale.

These universities are well-known for being extremely selective during the admissions process while also offering students access to top facilities, faculty, and unique networking opportunities.

Amidst high ranking degree programs, Ivy League schools have access to a great deal of resources as well. With several of the Ivy League schools having large endowment funds, they are able to offer research funding, large libraries, and support to students that can be unique to the specific school.

When considering attending an Ivy League school, keep in mind what you are studying as each school that falls into this group will have different things to offer. Undergraduate class sizes tend to be much smaller than other institutions as well as offering some of the most general financial aid packages to undergraduates.

Why consider non-Ivy League schools?

Non-Ivy League schools in the United States can often provide degree programs that rank higher than that of Ivy League programs and can provide academics of competing measure.

Public universities like UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Central Florida all offer high quality academic programs that are also available at public university tuition rates. Comparably, Ivy League schools tend to be some of the most expensive institutions. More affordable tuition tied to an excellent education is something to consider as well.

Having a top university like an Ivy League school on your resume can certainly help you stand out, but oftentimes those that are looking to hire once you’ve completed school are going to be concerned with work experience, your skillset, and what you can bring to a job as opposed to where your degree came from.

Non-Ivy League schools have plenty to offer by way of resources, networking opportunities, and outstanding faculty as well. There will be differences between just how many resources and opportunities that non-Ivy League schools may be able to offer you, but this is another area to weigh when considering your options.

Is an Ivy League school right for you?

When it comes to determining if a university is right for you, be sure to consider what degree you are pursuing. If an Ivy League offers the program with all the right extras you’re looking for and you feel that is where you want to be, then go for it!

Consider both Ivy League and non-Ivy League schools for their degree programs that you’re interested in and how their courses rank, what resources they offer to your area of study, and other things like student life, curriculum, and facilities. 

In the end, attending an Ivy League or a non-Ivy League school that provides the kind of degree and education you are most interested in is the most important part. Receiving the education you most want is key.

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Paige Lyman
Written By
Paige Lyman

Paige Lyman is a freelance writer and journalist who writes in the pop-culture space.


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