The Ivy League was officially born in 1954 when Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, and Princeton universities decided to form an athletic conference. The eight schools are some of the most prestigious and selective universities in the United States. They all rank in the top 20 of the country’s best universities.
The Ivy League wasn’t born with big academic goals in mind, it was actually formed to increase the competitiveness of the schools in sports. However, over time the Ivies have become known for their excellent academics as well.
Getting into an Ivy League school is no easy task. The eight schools in the Ivy League are among the most prestigious and selective universities in the country. In order to be accepted, students need to have excellent grades and standardized test scores, as well as a strong application essay.
In this article, we are going to rank the eight Ivies based on how difficult they are to get into. We will look at things like acceptance rates, average GPA, and average SAT scores.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Getting into an Ivy League College
While each college has specific requisites to join, all of the Ivy League ones have the most strict requirements to apply because of their prestige. Here’s what you’ll need if you want realistic chances to get accepted into an Ivy League College
All Ivies look for students with great grades, most have a requirement of a minimum GPA of around 3.5. But realistically, unless your GPA is 4.0, your chances to get in drop considerably.
If your GPA is low, focus on raising it. There are many ways to do this, and most schools have resources to help you out. You can also look into test preparation programs or even tutoring services to raise your grades.
The average SAT score for all Ivies is around 1400 combined math and reading scores. This means that you’ll need to score in the top 30% of students who take the SAT.
Again, if you’re not meeting these scores, there are ways to improve. You can join a test prep course or get private tutoring. And don’t forget that your essay is also a very important part of your application.
The application essay is one of the most important parts of your application. This is your chance to show the admissions committee who you are and what makes you unique.
Make sure to write a well-crafted essay that tells your story. Be passionate about what you wrote and make sure to show off your writing skills.
This is your chance to shine.
Editor’s note: Since most students who apply for Ivy League amply satisfy all of the above requirements, you need to set yourself apart from the competition if you want to be accepted into an Ivy League school.
This is usually achieved through extra curricular activities like volunteering and work experience that net you gloating letters of recommendation.
The School’s Acceptance Rate
Naturally, the higher the school’s acceptance rate, the easier it is to get in. To calculate the acceptance rate, we divide the number of applicants by the number of accepted students.
This is something not many people take into consideration. It’s harder to get into a college if 100.000 people apply for 1.000 spots than if 50.000 people applied for 2.000 spots.
In other words, if the Ivy League college only has room for 1000 students, and there are 100000 students who want to get in, then your chances of getting in are slim to none. However, if there are only 20000 students trying to get into that same 1000-student school, then your odds are much better.
So, even if acceptance rates seem low, it’s important to remember that the applications / available spots ratio also factors into how difficult it is to get accepted.
In addition to your GPA, SAT scores, and application essay, you’ll also need to submit letters of recommendation and transcripts.
Make sure you ask teachers and counselors who know you well to write your letters of recommendation. They should be able to speak to your strengths and how you would be a great addition to the college.
Your transcripts are also very important. Make sure your grades are up to par and that you have a balanced transcript with no glaring weaknesses.
Picking the Right Ivy League School
While all of the Ivy League Schools are prestigious, they’re not all created equal.
Each school has their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to do your research before you apply.
Some schools focus more on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), while others have a strong liberal arts program. Some schools are more expensive than others, and some have better athletic programs.
Another thing to consider is the school’s location. If you have to move to attend it’s best to pick a college in a city that suits your preferred lifestyle. If you’re big into nightlife for example, then you’ll want to choose a school in a city like New York or Boston.
So, if you’re aiming for an Ivy League School, make sure you do your research and pick the one that’s best suited for you. While getting into an Ivy League is no easy feat, it’s not impossible. With hard work and perseverance, you can achieve your dreams.
- Why Are Stanford, Duke, and MIT Not Ivy League Schools?
- How to Get into an Ivy League School: Top Tips Revealed
- 3 Best Ivy League Schools for Medicine
The 3 Easiest Ivy League Schools to Get Into
So, now that we know what it takes to get into an Ivy League school, let’s take a look at the easiest schools to get into.
The main factor we looked at is acceptance rates, because they are a good indicator of how difficult it is to get in. We also considered GPA and SAT scores, as well as other requirements.
Here are the Ivy League colleges ranked from easiest to hardest.
1) Cornell University
- Acceptance rate (2020): 10.7%
- Number of students who applied in 2023: 51,328
- Average SAT scores: reading and writing 680-750, math 720-790
Cornell was founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White. It’s a public research university located in Ithaca, New York.
Cornell is the easiest Ivy League school to get into, with an acceptance rate of 10.7%. 51,328 students applied to join in 2023, which means that a little over 5.000 were accepted.
Cornell is also one of the most appealing colleges for other reasons. One, its camp is extremely diverse. About 60% of students identify as a race or ethnicity other than white, and 37% of freshmen come from low-income families.
Cornell also has a top-notch business school, with programs in accounting, finance, management, and marketing. And with over 4.000 courses to choose from, it has something for everyone.
As with all elite colleges, the requirements are still very high to join. Don’t expect to get in if your GPA and SAT scores are below average (with the average being quite high because of competition). But, if you have a decent GPA and high SAT scores, Cornell is definitely the easiest Ivy League school to get into.
So, if you’re looking for an Ivy League school that is relatively easy to get into, and has a wealth of opportunities, Cornell is the school for you.
2) Dartmouth College
- Acceptance rate (2020): 9.2%
- Number of students who applied in 2023: 22,033 students
- Average SAT scores: reading and writing 710-770, math 730-790
Dartmouth College was founded in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock. It is a private liberal arts college located in Hanover, New Hampshire.
It has a respectable acceptance rate of 9.2%, which means that of 22,033 students who applied, around 2.000 got accepted. That’s a pretty respectable number, but it should be noted that the SAT averages are quite high.
One of Dartmouth’s biggest advantages is its size. With only around 4000 undergraduate students, it’s a much more personal school than some of the other Ivies.
Despite the small size, the college offers over 2.000 courses on liberal arts subjects like art history, economics, and linguistics. They also have a respectable MD program, which is one of the oldest in the country.
If you’re looking for a smaller Ivy League school and aren’t scared of high SAT averages, Dartmouth is a great choice.
3) University of Pennsylvania
- Acceptance rate (2020): 9%
- Number of students who applied in 2023: 44,482 students
- Average SAT scores: reading and writing 710-770, math 750-800
UPenn was founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin. It is a private research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
With such an illustrious founder, you’d expect it to rank at the bottom of this list. But luckily, that is not the case. It has a respectable acceptance rate of 9% which is only .2% lower than Dartmouth’s and is a way bigger university. Roughly 4.000 new students will attend UPenn in 2023.
UPenn’s biggest appeal is its location in Philadelphia. The city is home to some of the best hospitals, law schools, and business schools in the country. UPenn also has a great engineering school, with programs in chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering.
But with such high competition (the math SAT averages are 750-800), you’ll need high grades and SAT scores to get in.
If you’re looking for a top-notch university located in a great city, UPenn is your best choice.
Getting Outstanding Letters of Recommendation
This is easily the best way to make your application unique compared to the other applicants. Not that having a 4.0 GPA isn’t impressive, but in such elite schools it’s sort of expected. For example, the average admission GPA in Cornell in 2023 was 3.8.
So, what is a letter of recommendation? A letter of recommendation is a letter written by someone who knows you well and can vouch for your academic and personal achievements. Usually, this person is a teacher or counselor.
Your letters of recommendation should be from people who can speak to your intellectual ability, leadership skills, and character. They should also be specific about what makes you unique and why you would be a great addition to the school.
If you want to make your application really stand out, get letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your strengths and achievements. This will show the admissions committee that you’re not just another applicant, but that you’re someone they should consider admitting.
But, if you can get a letter of recommendation from a CEO or owner of a company, that will definitely set you apart.
The best way to do this is to start building relationships with these people when you’re still in high school. Volunteer for their company, offer to help them with anything they need, and attend events where they will be speaking.
Once you have a relationship with them, ask if they would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. If they agree, make sure to send them a resume, transcript, and any other information they may need.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of getting into an Ivy League school, get outstanding letters of recommendation.
While these may be the easiest Ivy League colleges to get into, joining them is still pretty difficult. If you want to have a chance of getting into one of these schools, you need to have high grades and SAT scores.
But, don’t let that discourage you. These schools offer some of the best academic programs in the country and are located in great cities. If you get into them and complete your course, you’ll leave with a strong degree that will grant you a fancy job wherever you please. Studying at elite schools is a great way to start your career.
And don’t just go to an elite college because your friends or parents told you so. It’s important to pick a school that’s the best fit for you and your interests. There are plenty of great colleges out there, so don’t be afraid to explore.
So, if you’re up for the challenge, apply to one of these schools and see what happens.
Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.Which Ivy gets the least applicants? ›
Dartmouth University is the Ivy League school that receives the least amount of applications. On average, they receive nearly 23,000 applications each year, and this year they received 28,841 applications.Can you get into an ivy with one C? ›
Since all Ivys use a holistic approach to admitting students, it's entirely possible that someone with a good reason could get admitted with a C or multiple Cs.Can I get into an Ivy League with a 3.7 GPA? ›
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.What is the lowest GPA an Ivy League will accept? ›
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 GPA ever accepted Ivy League? ›
And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA. We've always stated that the lowest GPA student we've ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we're not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too.What is the cheapest Ivy to attend? ›
Princeton. Princeton is commonly regarded as the “cheapest Ivy” thanks to its extensive financial aid offerings. 62% of admitted students receive financial aid.What type of student does Brown look for? ›
We look for intelligent, highly motivated students from all walks of life who may come from diverse backgrounds and cultural heritages, who represent different academic and extracurricular interests, and who bring a spectrum of ideologies to Brown.Is Brown or Dartmouth harder to get into? ›
Dartmouth vs. Brown: A Quick Overview.
|U.S. News Ranking||12||14|
|Middle 50% SAT||1440-1560||1440-1550|
|Middle 50% ACT||32-35||33-35|
Strength in a foreign language and completing math through calculus are both important features of the majority of winning Ivy League applications. You can get admitted without these accomplishments, but your chances will be diminished.
Ivy League schools expect you to have outstanding grades, and it's practically a prerequisite to applying. Unless you've experienced an extreme illness or a life-changing experience, Ivy League schools expect you to have a good GPA of at least 4.0.Can you get one B and still get into Ivy League? ›
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.What is the lowest GPA Yale has accepted? ›
In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Yale. That means nearly straight As in every class.Does Harvard accept 4.7 GPA? ›
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. 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.Can I get into Harvard with 2 B's? ›
Does Harvard Accept B Students? Yes, just like I mentioned above, it's completely possible to get admitted into Harvard University with B grades.What is the lowest GPA Harvard has 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.What is the lowest grade Harvard accepts? ›
After being admitted with a 3.0 or higher grade-point average (GPA), you must maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 to be considered in good academic standing. If your GPA falls below 2.0, you are in poor academic standing.Is a 5.2 weighted GPA good? ›
On the weighted scale, a strong GPA could range from a 4.0 to a 5.3 – indicating to colleges that you're taking challenging courses (Advanced Placement, Dual Enrolled, etc.) and keeping up A's and B's. On the unweighted scale, a good GPA could range from a 3.0 to a 4.3, which spans the A/B average values.What is the lowest GPA accepted to MIT? ›
You should also have a 4.17 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 MIT, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.What is the lowest best GPA? ›
Unofficially, 2.0 is the lowest GPA accepted into a standard college, so while there's a chance that college admission is possible, it's not likely at more than a few institutions.
- Yale University has the highest SAT scores of 1,530 and Dartmouth College has the lowest SAT scores of 1,500.
- Harvard University has the highest ACT scores of 35 and Yale University has the lowest ACT scores of 34.
As one of the most prestigious universities in the world, it comes as no surprise that Harvard has a student body that is among the wealthiest in the country. Many of the students at Harvard come from families with significant wealth and influence, and many go on to become leaders in their fields.
The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus. But beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Some people see Columbia as the most beautiful because of its gothic and classical buildings, while some will pick Cornell because of its breath-taking landscape.Is it worth it to go to an Ivy? ›
On average, Ivy League graduates earn substantially more than graduates from other four-year universities, according to the most recent data from PayScale for more than 1,500 schools.How can I increase my chances of getting into Brown? ›
Achieve a High GPA
In general, a Brown student's average high school GPA is about 4.1. To get this GPA, you'll need nearly straight A's. You should also take AP or IB classes to show that you can challenge yourself beyond the average requirements.
A lawsuit filed Sunday claims that Brown and 15 other schools, including Yale, Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, violated federal antitrust laws by collaborating on their financial aid policies when some members did not maintain the need-blind admissions required for a legal antitrust ...How likely am I to get into Brown? ›
The acceptance rate at Brown University is 7.7%.
For every 100 applicants, only 8 are admitted. This means the school is extremely selective. Meeting their GPA requirements and SAT/ACT requirements is very important to getting past their first round of filters and proving your academic preparation.
Brown is ranked by the Princeton Review as the 10th happiest campus in the country and the happiest school in the Ivy League, and has a general reputation for being the “Happy Ivy.” But why does Brown have this reputation?Is Brown better than Cornell? ›
Cornell vs. Brown: A Quick Overview.
|U.S. News Ranking||17||14|
|Middle 50% SAT||1470-1560||1440-1550|
|Middle 50% ACT||32-34||33-35|
The school does not have an official minimum GPA, but accepted students generally have a GPA near 4.0. Application components like recommendation letters and essays will also be considered and affect your chances of acceptance. What kind of students get into Brown?
To be a competitive candidate for admission, you will need to take at least 8 AP® classes, more if you can. It is a good idea to take 1 AP® course in each of the following core disciplines: English, Foreign Language, History, Math, and Science to impress the admissions officers.
For example, at Yale a whopping 96% of students graduated in the top 10% of their high school class. If you have a few B's and are still at the top of your class, you remain in a strong position!Do Ivy Leagues look at 9th grade? ›
Ivy League universities (and most universities, for that matter) consider student accomplishments from the ninth to 12th grades. So typically, achievements in say the 7th or 8th grade don't matter all that much. However, successful Ivy League applicants boast impressive school records right from the start.Why does Harvard reject valedictorians? ›
Although they want their classes as a whole to be well-rounded, they are not looking for “well-rounded” applicants. Rather, they are looking for academically excellent students who each have their own specific interests.How to impress Ivy League colleges? ›
- Start early. ...
- Do thoughtful college research. ...
- Take time to write strong essays. ...
- Answer optional supplemental questions. ...
- Submit supplemental materials. ...
- Emphasize uniqueness, leadership, and impact. ...
- Submit test scores strategically.
The admission rate for Stanford University and Princeton University hovers around 5%. It is not uncommon for a valedictorian to be rejected by prestigious schools. The valedictorian and their parents are always shocked when this occurs.What is the 2nd easiest Ivy League to get into? ›
The second most accessible Ivy League school to get into is Dartmouth, established in 1769 and based in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dartmouth admitted 1,876 applicants out of 23,650, the lowest number among the eight Ivy League schools, for an acceptable percentage of 7.9%.
No! If you do not have a perfect GPA, that does not automatically mean you will get rejected from your dream school, especially if you earned a lower grade in a particularly challenging course. Colleges want to see your work ethic and ability to challenge yourself. One A- or B will not ruin your chances of acceptance.Do colleges look at your senior year classes? ›
The important thing to know is that colleges do look at your senior year grades. So, a weaker performance in senior year than in previous grades can impact your application and college admissions decisions.What GPA is required for Oxford? ›
If your graduate course at Oxford requires a 'first-class undergraduate degree with honours' in the UK system, you will usually need a bachelor's degree with an overall grade of Class 1, 'A' or 80%, or a GPA of 3.7 out of 4.0.
There's no absolute SAT requirement at Yale, but they really want to see at least a 1470 to have a chance at being considered.What is the lowest GPA Stanford will accept? ›
There is no minimum GPA or test score, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.Is 35 ACT good enough for Harvard? ›
The 25th percentile ACT score is 33, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 35. In other words, a 33 places you below average, while a 35 will move you up to above average. There's no absolute ACT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 33 to have a chance at being considered.Should I submit a 33 to Harvard? ›
ACT Requirements for Harvard
ACT scores range from 33 to 35, with 35 representing the 75th percentile. Even though Harvard probably states that there is no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 33 or lower, you will likely struggle to get in unless you have other extremely strong application materials.
The average ACT score for students who get accepted into Harvard is between 32 and 35. This is well above the national average of 21.Can I get to Harvard with C? ›
With all of that being said, it's unfortunately very rare to get into an Ivy League school with C's during your freshman year, or at any time during your high school career. Yes, there are exceptions but it's never a good idea to hinge your hopes on the very small chance that something might happen.Will one B ruin a 4.0 GPA high school? ›
One B will not hurt your chances, especially because it was in a rigorous AP class. Your B will hardly make a dent in your GPA, and assuming that will be your only B by graduation, your GPA will be in the high 90th percentile even at the most competitive schools.Which University has the highest acceptance rate in Ivy League? ›
Which Ivy League receives the most applications? Cornell University is the Ivy League school that receives the most applications each year, and it's not surprising since they also have the highest acceptance rate. They received 67,380 applications for their class of 2025.Which Ivy has the highest early acceptance rate? ›
|School Name||#of Early Applicants Accepted for Class of 2027||Early Acceptance Rate for Class of 2026|
|Dartmouth College (ED)||528||20%|
|Harvard University (SCEA)||722||7.9%|
|University of Pennsylvania (ED)||TBD||16%|
|Princeton University (SCEA)||TBD||N/A|
Claremont McKenna College, in Claremont, California, has a 13% acceptance rate.
The Ivy League school is the lowest acceptance rate is Harvard. With an average acceptance rate of around 3% (based on numbers over the last ten years), Harvard is the hardest Ivy League to get into.What is the hardest Ivy academically? ›
The most challenging Ivy League school to get into is Harvard, established in 1636 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Harvard Admissions, only 2,008 out of 43,330 candidates were accepted to the college.
Dartmouth is said to be the Ivy with the most attractive guys (and girls), and this is pretty much unanimously agreed upon.Which Ivy do I have the best chance of getting into? ›
Out of all the Ivy League schools, Cornell has the highest admissions rate: 8.7%. For reference, you should be aware that 84.2% of Cornell matriculants were in the top 10% of their graduating class and 96.4% of Cornell matriculants were in the top 25% of their graduating class. SAT scores range between 1420 to 1540.Which Ivy is the most academic? ›
Determining the best Ivy League school can be subjective because each school has strengths that set them apart from the others. While Harvard, Princeton, and Yale tend to rank near the top of most lists, Brown, Penn, and Cornell may rank highest for a particular major or program.Which Ivy League campus is the prettiest? ›
The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus. But beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Some people see Columbia as the most beautiful because of its gothic and classical buildings, while some will pick Cornell because of its breath-taking landscape.Why isn t Georgetown Ivy League? ›
Georgetown is often confused as an Ivy League school because of its highly selective acceptance rate: 14%. That's a smidge higher than the least selective Ivy League — Cornell — but all things considered, Georgetown is definitely an Ivy-level school without the branding.What is the hardest college major? ›
- Environmental Economics and Policy.
- Environmental Earth Science.
- American Studies.
- Nuclear Engineering.
- Energy Engineering.
- Applied Mathematics.
1. Academic Performance. Ivy League schools expect you to have outstanding grades, and it's practically a prerequisite to applying. Unless you've experienced an extreme illness or a life-changing experience, Ivy League schools expect you to have a good GPA of at least 4.0.What is the most fun ivy? ›
Campus happiness: Brown is widely known as the happiest Ivy, perhaps because of students' freedom to choose courses with almost complete autonomy. Students report feeling less competition amongst themselves and an overall sense of campus community.