Most USC students are turned down by Ivy League

Ivy League - Ivy League

Sports conference of eight American elite universities
This article is about the group of colleges and the sports conference that gave the group its name. For other uses, see Ivy League (disambiguation).
Map of the Ivy League schools
Flags of Ivy League members fly over the Vienna Stadium in Colombia

The Ivy League (also known as The Ancient Eight ) is an American college sports conference with eight private research universities in the northeastern United States. The term Ivy League is typically used beyond the athletic context to refer to the eight schools as a group of elite colleges with connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism. Members are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

While the term was used as early as 1933, it didn't become official until after the NCAA Division I Sports Conference was established in 1954. All Ivies ( Members of the Ivy League ) with the exception of Cornell were founded during the colonial era. They make up seven of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The other two colonial colleges, Rutgers University and the College of William & Mary, became public institutions instead.

Ivy League schools are considered to be some of the most prestigious universities in the world. All eight universities are in the top 18 of the US News & World Report National Universities in 2021, including four Ivies in the top 5 (Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and Yale). US News has named a member of the Ivy League the best national university every year since 2001: from 2020 eleven times in Princeton, twice in Harvard and the two schools, which were connected five times for the first time. in the US News & World Report In the 2021 Best Global University Ranking, two Ivies ranked among the top 10 internationally (Harvard First and Columbia Sixth). All eight Ivy League schools are members of the Association of American Universities, the most prestigious alliance of American research universities.

Student enrollments range from about 4,500 to about 15,000, larger than most liberal arts colleges and smaller than most state universities. The total number of undergraduate students, which includes PhD students, ranges from approximately 6,600 in Dartmouth to over 20,000 in Columbia, Cornell, Harvard and Penn. The Ivy League's financial endowments range from Brown's $ 4.7 billion to Harvard's $ 41.9 billion, the largest financial endowment of any academic institution in the world.

The Ivy League is similar to other groups of universities in other countries such as Oxbridge in the UK, the C9 League in China, and the Imperial Universities in Japan.


Ivy League universities have some of the largest university funding in the world, allowing universities to devote ample resources to their academic programs, financial support, and research. As of 2018, Harvard University had an endowment of $ 38.3 billion, the largest of all educational institutions. Each university receives millions of dollars in annual research funding from both the federal government and private sources.

institution place Athletic nickname students PhD students 2018 Foundation Academic employee Colours
Brown University Providence, Rhode Island Bears 7.043 3,214 $ 4.7 billion 736               
Columbia University New York City, New York Lions 9.001 24.412 $ 10.87 billion 3,763          
Cornell University Ithaca, New York Big red 15.043 8,984 $ 7.23 billion 2,908          
Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire Big green 4,459 2.149 $ 5.49 billion 943          
Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts purple 6,788 13.951 $ 38.30 billion 4,671               
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Quaker 10.019 12.413 $ 13.78 billion 4,464          
Princeton University Princeton, New Jersey tiger 5,428 2,946 $ 25.92 billion 1.172          
Yale University New Haven, Connecticut Bulldogs 6,092 7,517 $ 29.35 billion 4,140          


founding year

institution Founded as Founded Chartered First instruction Founding affiliation
Harvard University New college 1636 1650 1642 Non-sectarian founded by Calvinist congregationalists
Yale University Collegiate School 1701 1701 1702 Calvinist (Congregationalist)
Princeton University New Jersey College 1746 1746 1747 Non-sectarian founded by Calvinist Presbyterians
Columbia University King's College 1754 1754 1754 Church of England
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia College 1749 or 1755 1755 1755 Non-sectarian, founded by Church of England / Methodist members
Brown University College in the English colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations 1764 1764 1765 Baptist, charter promises "no religious exams" and "full freedom of conscience"
Dartmouth College 1769 1769 1768 Calvinist (Congregationalist)
Cornell University 1865 1865 1868 Non-sectarian
Note: Six of the eight Ivy League universities consider their incorporation dates to be merely the date they received their diplomas, and thus have become legal firms with the power to award degrees. Harvard University uses the date the Massachusetts Bay Colony legislature officially allocated funding for the creation of a college. Harvard was chartered in 1650, though lessons had been held for about a decade by then. The University of Pennsylvania initially considered its founding date to be 1750; This is the year that appears on the first iteration of the university seal. Later in Penn's early history, the university changed its officially recognized founding date to 1749, which was used for the entire nineteenth century, including a centenary in 1849. In 1899, the Penn Board of Trustees officially approved a third founding date of 1740, in response to one Petition from Penn's General Alumni Society. Penn was chartered in 1755, the same year college classes began. "Religion" refers to financial sponsorship, formal association with, and sponsorship of a religious denomination. All schools in the Ivy League are private and are currently not affiliated with any religion.

Origin of the name

Planting the Ivy was a common class day ceremony at many colleges in the 19th century. In 1893 an alumnus accepted The Harvard Crimson : "In 1850, the class day was put on the university calendar. ... The custom of planting the ivy while the ivy speech was being delivered arose around this time." At Penn high school seniors began the custom of planting ivy at a university build each year in the spring of 1873 and this practice was formally referred to as "Ivy Day" in 1874. Ivy planting ceremonies are incorporated into Yale Simmons College - and Bryn Mawr College, among others schools . Princeton's "Ivy Club" was founded in 1879.

The first use of Ivy in relation to a group of colleges comes from the sports journalist Stanley Woodward (1895-1965).

Some of our eastern ivy colleges meet with little folks on another Saturday before they plunge into the argument and turmoil.

-  Stanley Woodward, New York Tribune , October 14, 1933, describes the football season

The first known instance of the term Ivy League appeared on February 7, 1935 in The Christian Science Monitor . Several sports and other journalists used the term shortly afterwards to refer to the older colleges located along the northeastern coast of the United States, mainly the Nine Institutions with colonial origins, along with the United States Military Academy (West Point), the United States Naval Academy, and a few others. These schools were known for their longstanding tradition in college sports and were often the first schools to participate in such activities. At that time, however, none of these institutions made efforts to form a sports league.

A common folk etymology ascribes the name to the Roman numeral for four (IV) and claims that such a four-member sports league originally existed. The Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins help maintain that belief. The alleged "IV League" was founded over a century ago and consisted of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and a fourth school, which varies depending on who is telling the story. It is clear, however, that Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia met on November 23, 1876 at the so-called Massasoit Convention to adopt uniform rules for the emerging game of American football, which was rapidly expanding.

Pre-Ivy League

Seven of the eight Ivy League schools are colonial colleges: colleges that were founded before the American Revolution. Cornell, the exception to this commonality, was founded immediately after the American Civil War. These seven colleges served as the primary colleges in British America's northern and central colonies. During the colonial era, the school's faculties and charter councils were largely drawn from other Ivy League institutions. British graduates from the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, the University of St. Andrews and the University of Edinburgh were also represented.

The influence of these institutions on the establishment of other colleges and universities is remarkable. This included the southern public college movement that flourished in the decades around the turn of the 19th century when Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia established their respective states' flagship universities. In 1801, the majority of the University of South Carolina's first board of trustees were Princeton alumni. They named Jonathan Maxcy, a Brown graduate, as the university's first president. Thomas Cooper, an Oxford alumnus and a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania, became the second president of South Carolina College. The founders of the University of California came from Yale, so the University of California's school colors are Yale Blue and California Gold. In 1891, Cornell made Stanford University its first president available.

Many of the Ivy League schools have identifiable Protestant roots. Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth all had early connections with the Congregationalists. Princeton was funded by New Light Presbyterians, although it was originally run by a Congregationalist. Brown was founded by Baptists despite the university's charter stating that students should enjoy "full freedom of conscience." Columbia was founded by Anglicans who made up 10 of the college's first 15 presidents. Penn and Cornell were not officially sectarian, although Protestants were well represented in their respective founding. In the early nineteenth century the specific purpose of training Calvinist ministers was passed on to theological seminaries, but a denominational tone and religious traditions, including the mandatory chapel, often lasted well into the twentieth century.

"Ivy League" is sometimes used to refer to an elite class, although institutions like Cornell University were among the first in the United States to oppose racial and gender discrimination in their admissions policies. This goes back to at least 1935. Novels and memoirs affirm this sense as a social elite; to some extent independent of the actual schools.

History of the sports league

19th and early 20th centuries

The Yale University crew of four poses with the 1876 Centennial Regatta trophy.

The first formal sports league, with later Ivy League schools (or other US colleges), was formed in 1870 with the formation of the Rowing Association of American Colleges. The RAAC held a de facto national rowing championship between 1870 and 1894. In 1895, Cornell, Columbia, and Penn founded the Intercollegiate Rowing Association, which is still the oldest college sports organization in the United States. To this day, the IRA championship regatta determines the national rowing winner and all Ivies are regularly invited to the competition.

A basketball league was later formed in 1902 when Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton formed the Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League. They were later joined by Penn and Dartmouth.

In 1906, the organization that eventually became the National Collegiate Athletic Association was formed, mainly to formalize the rules for the emerging sport of football. But of the 39 original NCAA member schools, only two (Dartmouth and Penn) later became Ivies.

Intercollegiate wrestling began in February 1903 when Yale accepted a challenge from Columbia that was published in the Yale News. The double game took place before a basketball game hosted by Columbia and resulted in a tie. Two years later, Penn and Princeton also added wrestling teams, resulting in the formation of the student-run Intercollegiate Wrestling Association, now the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA), the first and oldest college wrestling league in the United States.

Penn's ICAA course champion in 1907

In 1930 Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Princeton and Yale formed the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League. Harvard, Brown, Army and Navy were added later.

Prior to the formal formation of the Ivy League, there was an "unwritten and unspoken agreement between certain Eastern colleges on athletic relationships". The earliest reference to "Ivy Colleges" came in 1933 when Stanley Woodward of the New York Herald Tribune used it to refer to the current eight members plus Army. In 1935, the Associated Press reported an example of school collaboration:

The sports authorities of the so-called "Ivy League" are considering drastic measures to curb the increasing tendency towards seditious attacks on goal posts and other interference by spectators on the pitch.

-  The Associated Press, New York Times

Despite this collaboration, the universities did not seem to view the formation of the league as imminent. Romeyn Berry, Cornell's manager for athletics, reported in January 1936 as follows:

I can safely say that in the last five years - and clearly in the last three months - there has been a strong tendency towards closer ties of trust and cooperation among the eight or ten universities in the East that see a lot in sport on the formation of a common front against the danger of the collapse of the ideals of amateur sport in the interests of supposed expediency. Please do not regard this statement as organizing an Eastern Conference or even a poetic "Ivy League". Something like that doesn't seem to be on the cards at the moment.

Within a year of that statement and month-long discussion of the proposal took place on December 3, 1936, the idea of ​​"the formation of an Ivy League" gained enough traction among the undergraduate committees of the universities that the Colombia's daily viewers , The Cornell Daily Sun , the Dartmouth , the Harvard Crimson , the Daily Pennsylvanian , the Daily Princetonian and the Yale Daily News would simultaneously publish an editorial titled "Now Is the Time" and encourage the seven universities to form the league in order to preserve the ideals of athletics. Part of the editorial read as follows:

The Ivy League already exists in the minds of many footballers, and we don't understand why the seven schools involved should be content to let it exist as a purely nebulous entity in which there are as many practical benefits as possible under definite organized association. The seven colleges involved naturally coincide because of their common interests and similar general standards, and because of their well-established national reputation, they are in a particularly advantageous position to take a leadership role in upholding the ideals of intercollegiate athletics.

The Ivies have always been active in sports as long as there are intercollegiate sports in the United States. Rowing teams from Harvard and Yale met on August 3, 1852 at the first sporting event between students from two American colleges on Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. Harvard's team "The Oneida" won the race and received the Black Walnut Oar trophy from then-presidential candidate General Franklin Pierce. The proposal was unsuccessful - on January 11, 1937, the schools' sports authorities rejected the "possibility of a heptagonal league in football as those institutions maintain in basketball, baseball, and athletics". However, they noted that the league "has such promising opportunities that it cannot be sacked and needs further consideration".

After the Second World War

In 1945 the presidents of the eight schools signed the first Ivy Group Agreement , which set academic, financial and athletic standards for soccer teams. The principles set out reaffirmed the principles set forth in the 1916 Harvard-Yale-Princeton Presidential Agreement. The Ivy Group agreement laid down the principle that an applicant's ability to play on a team would not affect admission decisions:

The members of the group reaffirm their ban on sports scholarships. Athletes are admitted as students and receive financial assistance only based on the same academic standards and economic needs that apply to all other students.

In 1954, the presidents extended the Ivy Group Agreement to all intercollegiate sports that came into effect with the 1955/56 basketball season. This is widely considered to be a formal Ivy League formation. As part of the transition, Brown, the only ivy not to have joined the EIBL, did so for the 1954-55 season. A year later, the Ivy League took over the EIBL. The Ivy League claims the history of the EIBL as its own. Thanks to the EIBL, it is the oldest basketball conference in Division I.

As recently as the 1960s, many of the Ivy League universities' undergraduate programs were open only to men, with Cornell being the only one to be coeducational since its inception (1865) and Columbia being the last (1983) to be coeducational. Before becoming co-educational, many of the Ivy schools had extensive social relationships with the nearby Seven Sisters women's colleges, including weekend visits, dances, and parties where Ivy and Seven Sisters students were invited to chat. This was the case not only at Barnard College and Radcliffe College, which border Columbia and Harvard, but also at institutions further afield. The film Animal House Contains a satirical version of the earlier customary visits by Dartmouth men to Massachusetts to meet Smith and Mount Holyoke women, a drive of over two hours. As Irene Harwarth, Mindi Maline and Elizabeth DeBra noted, "The 'Seven Sisters' was the name given to Barnard, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Bryn Mawr, Wellesley and Radcliffe because of their parallels with the men of the Ivy League colleges. "

In 1982 the Ivy League considered adding two members, with the Army, Navy and Northwestern being the most likely candidates. If that had happened, the league could likely have avoided being transferred to the recently created Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) for football. In 1983, after women were admitted to Columbia College, Columbia University and Barnard College entered into a sports consortium agreement whereby students from both schools compete on the Columbia University women's sports teams, replacing the women's teams previously sponsored by Barnard .

When the Army and Navy left the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League in 1992, almost all intercollegiate competitions involving the eight schools were united under the Ivy League banner. The two main exceptions are wrestling, with the Ivies sponsoring wrestling - all but Dartmouth and Yale - members of EIWA and Hockey, with the Ivies sponsoring hockey - all but Penn and Columbia - members of ECAC Hockey.

Covid-19 pandemic

The Ivy League was the first sports conference to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing all sports competitions in March 2020 and leaving many spring plans unfinished. The Fall 2020 schedule was canceled in July, and winter sports were canceled before Thanksgiving. Of the 357 men's basketball teams in Division I, only ten did not play; The Ivy League made up eight of those ten. By abandoning its automatic qualification offer to March Madness, the Ivy League lost at least $ 280,000 in NCAA basketball funds. As a result of the pandemic, an unprecedented number of athletes in the Ivy League either moved to other schools or were temporarily logged off in hopes of maintaining their eligibility to play after the pandemic. Some Ivy alumni expressed displeasure with the league's position. In February 2021, it was reported that Yale had turned down a multi-million dollar offer from alum Joseph Tsai to create a roped "bubble" for the lacrosse team. The league announced in a joint statement from May 2021 that the "regular sports competition" would be resumed in autumn 2021 "across all sports".



Applicants Entrance fees
brown 36,794 6,9%
Columbia 40.084 6,3%
Cornell 51.500 10,7%
Dartmouth 21.394 8,8%
Harvard 40,248 4,9%
Penn 42,205 8,07%
Princeton 32.836 5,5%
Yale 35,220 6,5%

The Ivy League schools are very selective. All schools report acceptance rates of no more than 10% or less at all universities. For the class of 2025, six of the eight schools reported acceptance rates below 6%. Admitted students come from all over the world, although those from the northeastern United States make up a significant proportion of the student population.

In 2021, all eight Ivy League schools had a record number of applications and a low acceptance rate. The number of applicants increased from 14.5% in Princeton to 51% in Columbia from year to year.

There have been arguments that Ivy League schools discriminate against Asian American candidates. For example, in August 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice argued that Yale University discriminated against Asian American candidates based on race, a charge the university denied. Harvard faced a similar challenge from a group of Asian-American students in 2019 that a federal judge found Harvard compliant with constitutional requirements. The student group has since appealed this decision, and the appeal is pending until August 2020.


Members of the league have been ranked highly by various university rankings. All Ivy League schools are dated US News & World Report Best Colleges Ranking consistently ranked among the top 20 national universities. In the Ranking of the Wall Street Journal belong all eight universities in the top 15 in the country.

(in alphabetic order)


brown 38 7 14 5
Columbia 6 14 3 fifteen
Cornell 11 11 18 9
Dartmouth 95–116 10 13 12
Harvard 1 1 2 1
Penn 14 6 8 13
Princeton 5 5 1 7
Yale 9–10 3 4 3

In addition, members of the Ivy League have produced many Nobel Prize winners and Nobel Prize winners in Economics.


The collaboration between member schools is illustrated by the student-led Ivy Council, which meets with representatives from all Ivy League schools each fall and spring of each year. The governing body of the Ivy League is the Council of Presidents of the Ivy Group, made up of each university president. During the meetings, the Presidents discuss common practices and initiatives for their universities.

The universities work academically through the IvyPlus Exchange Scholar Program, which allows students to enroll at any of the Ivies or other eligible schools such as the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford University .


fashion and lifestyle

An illustration of Cornell's rowing team. Rowing is often associated with traditional New England upper class culture

Various fashion trends and styles have appeared in the Ivy League locations over time, and fashion trends such as Ivy League and Preppy are styles that are often associated with the Ivy League and its culture.

The Ivy League style is a popular men's clothing style in the late 1950s that is believed to have originated on the Ivy League campus. The J. Press and Brooks Brothers clothing stores may represent typical Ivy League clothing. The Ivy League style is said to be the predecessor of the preppy clothing style.

Preppy fashion began as an Ivy League clothing style around 1912 through the late 1940s and 1950s. J. Press represents the quintessential preppy clothing brand, drawn from the collegial traditions that have shaped the preppy subculture. In the mid-twentieth century, J. Press and Brooks Brothers, both pioneers of preppy fashion, had stores on Ivy League school grounds, including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

Some typical preppy styles also reflect traditional New England upper class recreational activities such as horse riding, sailing or sailing, hunting, fencing, rowing, lacrosse, tennis, golf, and rugby. Long-time New England outdoor outfitters like LL Bean became part of the conventional preppy style. This can be seen in sports stripes and colors, equestrian clothing, plaid shirts, field jackets and nautical accessories. The Palm Beach, Florida vacation, long popular with the East Coast upper class, led to the emergence of bright color combinations in casual wear that could be seen at some brands like Lilly Pulitzer. In the 1980s, other brands like Lacoste, Izod, and Dooney & Bourke were associated with preppy style.

These styles are still popular today in Ivy League locations in the United States and abroad, and are often referred to as "Classic American Style" or "Traditional American Style".

Social elitism

A cartoon portrait of the stereotypical Columbia man, 1902

The Ivy League is often associated with the upper-class white Anglo-Saxon Protestant community in the northeast, old money, or more generally with the American upper middle and upper classes. Although most of the Ivy League students come from upper-middle and upper-class families, the student body has become increasingly diverse economically and ethnically. Universities are providing significant financial support to increase the number of low-income and middle-class students. However, several reports suggest that the proportion of students from less affluent families remains low.

Sentences like "Ivy League Snobbery" are ubiquitous in non-fiction and fiction of the early and mid-20th centuries. A Louis Auchincloss character fears "the drought of snobbery he knew infested Ivy League colleges". A business journalist who warned of discriminatory attitudes in 2001 presented a cautionary example of an attitude to be avoided (the wording in brackets is his):

We Ivy Leaguers [read: mostly White and Anglo] know that an Ivy League degree is a sign of the type of person who is likely to succeed in this organization.

The expression Ivy League became historically associated not only with academic excellence but also with social elitism. In 1936, sports writer John Kieran noted that undergraduate editors at Harvard, Yale, Colombia, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn were advocating the formation of a sports association. When he asked them to consider "Army and Navy and Georgetown and Fordham and Syracuse and Brown and Pitt" as candidates for membership, he admonished:

It would be good for the Ivy League proponents to make it clear (especially to themselves) that the proposed group would be inclusive but not "exclusive" as the term is used with a slight incline of the tip of the nose.

Aspects of Ivy stereotyping were exemplified during the 1988 presidential election when George HW Bush (Yale '48) mocked Harvard Law School graduate Michael Dukakis for "giving birth to foreign policy views in the Harvard Yard boutique". The Columnist of the New York Times, Maureen Dowd asked, "Wasn't this a case where the pot was calling the kettle elite?" However, Bush stated that Yale's reputation, unlike Harvard, "was so diffuse that there is no symbol, I don't think there is any symbolism in the Yale situation. ... The Harvard boutique for me has the connotation of Liberalism and Elitism "and said, Harvard should in his remark "a philosophical enclave" and not a statement about the class. Columnist Russell Baker said, "Voters who tend to loathe and fear elite Ivy League schools rarely make a fine distinction between Yale and Harvard. They just know that both are full of rich, eccentric, deadlocked, and potentially dangerous Intellectuals they never sit down to. " Dinner in her undershirt no matter how hot the weather gets. "Still, the next five consecutive presidents all attended at least part of their education in Ivy League schools - George HW Bush (Yale Undergrad), Bill Clinton (Yale Law School), George W. Bush (Yale Undergrad, Harvard Business School), Barack Obama (Columbia Undergrad, Harvard Law School) and Donald Trump (Penn Undergrad).

US presidents in the Ivy League