Interested in attending an Ivy League institution? Our blog presents the latest Ivy League school rankings in 2023, helping you make an informed decision. We provide an overview of each Ivy League school, highlighting their unique strengths, academic programs, and extracurricular offerings. Discover the factors that contribute to the rankings and gain valuable insights into the admission process. Whether you’re aiming for Harvard, Yale, or any other Ivy League school, our blog will guide you towards selecting the institution that aligns with your aspirations and sets you on the path to success.
How Are the Ivy League Schools Ranked?
In 1933, a sports writer for the New York Herald Tribune named Stanley Woodward often wrote about eight colleges throughout New England, calling them “Ivy colleges” when discussing their common athletic programs.
Three years later, the student newspapers at the schools had an editorial written and published that used the same phrase, “Ivy colleges,” and called for the establishment of an athletic league.
In 1946, the “Ivy Group” discussed people’s growing interest in college athletics as entertainment. The initiation of televised football games further enticed the eight colleges to establish formal rules between them regarding athletic competitions.
The founding date of the Ivy League is accepted as February 1954 — shortly thereafter, the presidents of the eight universities adopted an athletic competition schedule. Today, the phrase Ivy League no longer refers only to athletics. Instead, it refers to the educational philosophy still held by these eight prestigious schools, which are some of the nation’s oldest.
Where to start
There is no single formula to determine which are the best Ivy League schools, but all ranking systems consider important factors and have been crafted over several years.
The eight Ivy League schools are:
The Ivy League schools are considered to be the pinnacle of the higher learning system in the U.S. Tens of thousands of students each year compete for a spot in the next incoming class, but only a very small percentage of them are invited to attend.
Subjective and objective factors can be used to determine Ivy League school rankings, some of which include the availability of extracurricular activities, college admissions chances, the campus atmosphere, and the cost of attending.
Four big factors are consistently used across the board to determine Ivy League rankings. These include the quality of the academic programs, the overall happiness of the students on campus, the job prospects for students after graduation, and location.
Quality of Academic Programs
Needless to say, all eight Ivy League schools have some of the highest-quality academic programs in the world, regardless of the area of study. Each school consistently ranks in the top 20 on every college list.
The quality of academics at a school is determined by calculating factors such as the student-to-faculty ratio and the research opportunities available. Also important for academic program quality are the credentials of the instructors. The overall college resources are considered to see how the schools stack up against each other.
Overall Happiness of the Campus
When students are happy, they learn more, form more meaningful relationships with other campus community members, and create an environment conducive to success.
In addition, happy students and staff members are more willing to look out for each other as they foster a tight-knit community that is unique to that specific school.
To answer the question “How are the Ivy League schools ranked?” you often don’t need to look any further than the well-being of their students.
Students’ Job Prospects After Graduation
How are the Ivy League schools ranked? Another factor is job prospects. There are many reasons for students to want to pursue a college degree, but for many, it’s to land a great career after graduation. Of course, all eight schools pad resumes and job applications quite nicely, no matter how the Ivy League rankings fall.
Part of what influences which are the best Ivy League schools are factors such as:
- The average earning median salaries of students ten years after graduating
- The availability of jobs that are local to the particular college
- The global reputation of students of the colleges
- The overall ease students have in finding jobs
It’s still fair to say that some of the prestigious schools stand out on resumes a bit more than others. For example, most people are just more familiar with the Harvard name than Dartmouth.
Location, Location, Location
Though the eight Ivy League schools are all located in the New England area, more precise location details are often used to determine which are the best Ivy League schools.
Some factors are subjective and vary with each individual student, such as how far from home a college is. While some students want to remain as close to home as possible, others want to study across the country (or the world).
However, other location-based factors that impact a school’s Ivy League school ranking are not subjective, such as the following:
- Transportation and walkability
- Proximity to shopping, dining, and entertainment
- Proximity to medical care facilities
- The environment and climate
- Price point
The cost of living in different cities and towns varies considerably, and if a college doesn’t have guaranteed on-campus housing or a student wants to live in an apartment, the cost can have a significant impact on a student’s (or their parents’) budget.
Which Are the Best Ivy League Schools?
It’s important to remember that everyone has their own idea of the best school based on their unique needs and preferences. However, when taking objective factors into consideration, the Ivy League rankings for 2023 are as follows:
#1. Harvard University
Located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University offers students the opportunity to learn at the country’s oldest institution of higher learning. The university is close to Boston, which is the “largest college town in America,” and the campus is surrounded by plenty of things to see and do.
The university has significant resources, and the quality of its academics attracts some of the brightest minds in the world. Harvard University also gives its students a prestigious alumni network and a superior global reputation to boost their job prospects after graduation.
#2. Yale University
Yale University is located in New Haven, Connecticut, surrounded by abundant convenient amenities and cultural activities. These include everything from art galleries and museums to shopping and dining. Only two Ivy League schools consistently top lists of the nation’s happiest campuses, and Yale is one of them.
Yale is renowned for its liberal arts approach to academics, and the job prospects for students of the university are outstanding. The school’s proximity to both Boston and New York City is also a boon to Yale’s ranking.
#3. Princeton University
Princeton University is in Princeton, New Jersey. Famous for its unique grading style favoring grade deflation, this Ivy League school offers an educational standard comparable to Yale’s.
Princeton’s global recognition and proximity to Philadelphia and New York are key factors in cultivating a home for some of the happiest students in the U.S. The job prospects are rivaled by few, with graduates enjoying some of the highest earning median averages in the world.
#4. The University of Pennsylvania
UPenn may not be as well-known as some of the other Ivies on the list, but this college in Philadelphia is one of the top institutions in the Ivy League and the world. The campus enjoys beautiful weather overall, and student engagement is strong.
UPenn is the social school out of the eight, but it also has a reputation for cutthroat competition among students. UPenn’s undergrad business school ranks number one in the country, offering students an impressive array of resources and job prospects.
#5. Brown University
Brown is the pride and joy of Providence, Rhode Island. This college’s location on “The Hill” offers students plenty of good food, engaging activities, and lively cultural events. Its location isn’t far from Boston, so students often take day trips there.
Brown’s students enjoy the school’s open curriculum, but the school does have older facilities and fewer resources than some of the other Ivy Leagues. There aren’t as many job prospects near the immediate area of the school, but plenty of options throughout the New England area make up for that.
#6. Columbia University
Location doesn’t get any better for a school than for Columbia, which is located in New York City. Attracting students from every corner of the globe, this Ivy League school is notorious for its happy students.
The school’s Core Curriculum does receive a fair amount of criticism from some people, but it garners much acclaim from others. The research opportunities and resources of the school are second to none, and with the NYC job market right outside its door, Columbia receives a boost in rankings.
#7. Dartmouth College
Established in 1769, Dartmouth is a research Ivy League located in Hanover, New Hampshire. It boasts excellent job prospects for students and a campus in a rural location that offers a wonderful small-town vibe.
Having the smallest student population of the schools, Dartmouth excels with its intimate learning environment that many people consider ideal. However, its size also means that resources are not as widely available as they are in other Ivy League schools.
#8. Cornell University
Located in Ithaca, New York, Cornell offers students outstanding job prospects — as long as they don’t want to remain near the university. Students often complain that outside of Ithaca itself, the campus is in the middle of nowhere.
The rigorous academics serve students well, and class sizes are typically larger than at the other Ivy League schools. Its isolated location and seemingly overpopulated campus can sometimes make it difficult for students to access the school’s resources.
The Best Ivy League Schools
Several groups and businesses release their own way of determining Ivy League school rankings, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report. However, what is most important for you to know is which Ivy League school will best help you meet your unique academic goals.