Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? (2023)

Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? (1)

Most people have at least heard of the Ivy League, but not everyone knows which schools belong to the venerable group. Is Stanford Ivy League? Is Duke Ivy League? Is MIT Ivy League?

In this article, we'll answer these questions and more as we take a look at which schools comprise the world-renowned Ivy League and which schools are most often mistaken for Ivy League institutions. We'll also explore what being in the Ivy League means for schools and how Ivy League schools compare with those not in the Ivy League in terms of national rankings and selectivity.

Is Stanford Ivy League? What About Duke and MIT?

Contrary to what you might think, none of these schools are in the Ivy League. But this doesn't mean that Stanford, Duke, and MIT are not prestigious schools; rather, it simply means they're not affiliated with the Ivy League.

Confused? Let's begin by looking at what the Ivy League is and why it was formed.

The Ivy League (often called the Ivies) is a consortium of eight private universities based in the northeast region of the US. Its members are as follows:

  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Yale University

Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? (2)

All Ivy League schools are extremely selective and highly ranked—but this wasn't the initial motivation behind the schools' unification.

(Video) COLLEGE DECISIONS REACTIONS 2023 (5 Ivies, MIT, Stanford, JHU, Duke, NU, etc...)

The Ivy League (or the "Ivy Group," as it was once called) originated as an athletic conference back in the 1950s. Over the years, the phrase has come to be associated with more general notions of prestige, selectivity, and academia due to the esteemed reputations of its members. Essentially, "Ivy League" is nothing more than a name for this particular group of schools—that's it!

While Stanford, Duke, and MIT are all clearly prestigious schools with high national rankings and low selectivity rates comparable to those of Ivy League schools, they are not Ivy League schools simply because they are not members of the Ivy League. Of course, this doesn't stop people from assuming they're Ivies due to their many similarities!

Ultimately, though, no matter how prestigious or competitive a school is, if it's not one of the eight schools listed above, then it is not an Ivy League school.

Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? (3)

Even if a school sounds like it could be an Ivy, that doesn't mean it actually is one!

What Schools Are Often Mistaken for Ivy League Schools?

Stanford, Duke, and MIT are not the only schools often thought to belong to the Ivy League. Other schools commonly mistaken for those in the Ivy League are those that are:

  • Highly ranked and extremely selective. Ivies are almost always ranked in the top 15 nationally, (though there are exceptions to this rule!) with acceptance rates below 15%. Schools commonly mistaken for Ivies tend to be those with similar rankings and acceptance rates—even though many aren't located in the northeast where the Ivy League is based.
  • Located in or near the northeast. All Ivies are in the northeast, but not all schools in the northeast are Ivies! Highly acclaimed or well-known schools in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and other nearby states are often mistakenly assumed to belong to the Ivy League.

Below is a chart containing all Ivy League schools and those commonly believed to be Ivies. I've included each school's location, US News ranking, and acceptance rate so that you can easily compare Ivies with non-Ivies. The Ivy League schools have been bolded for clarity.

SchoolLocationUS News National Ranking (2022-23)Acceptance Rate
PrincetonPrinceton, NJ14%
MITCambridge, MA24%
HarvardCambridge, MA3 (tie)4%
StanfordStanford, CA3 (tie)4%
YaleNew Haven, CT3 (tie)5%
University of ChicagoChicago, IL66%
Johns HopkinsBaltimore, MD7 (tie)8%
UPennPhiladelphia, PA76%
CaltechPasadena, CA94%
DukeDurham, NC10 (tie)6%
NorthwesternEvanston, IL10 (tie)7%
DartmouthHanover, NH126%
BrownProvidence, RI13 (tie)6%
VanderbiltNashville, TN13 (tie)7%
RiceHouston, TX15 (tie)9%
Washington University in St LouisSt. Louis, MO15 (tie)13%
CornellIthaca, NY179%
ColumbiaNew York, NY18 (tie)6%
Notre DameNotre Dame, IN1815%
UCLALos Angeles, CA20 (tie)11%
UC BerkeleyBerkeley, CA20 (tie)15%
GeorgetownWashington, DC22 (tie)12%
EmoryAtlanta, GA2213%
Carnegie MellonPittsburgh, PA22 (tie)14%
USCLos Angeles, CA25 (tie)13%
University of MichiganAnn Arbor, MI25 (tie)20%
University of VirginiaCharlottesville, VA25 (tie)21%
Wake ForestWinston-Salem, NC29 (tie)25%
Boston CollegeChestnut Hill, MA36 (tie)19%
College of William & MaryWilliamsburg, VA41 (tie)37%
Boston UniversityBoston, MA41 (tie)19%
Penn State*University Park, PA7758%
AmherstAmherst, MA2 (National Liberal Arts Colleges)9%
VassarPoughkeepsie, NY13 (tie) (National Liberal Arts Colleges)20%

*This school, though not as selective as the others in this table, is sometimes mistaken for the University of Pennsylvania (also called Penn)—one of the eight Ivy League schools—due to its similar name.

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As you can see, Ivy League schools generally make the top 20 positions of nationally ranked universities, with most of them in the top 10. Additionally, all Ivy League schools are extremely selective; the lowest acceptance rate for an Ivy is just 4% for Princeton and Harvard, while the highest acceptance rate is 9% for Cornell.

This table also indicates that there are many schools that are just as good as, if not better than, Ivy League schools—which explains why schools such as Stanford and MIT are frequently confused for Ivies. For example, MIT is currently ranked #2, beating out all Ivies except Princeton! Similarly, Stanford, UChicago, Johns Hopkins, and Caltech and are all highly ranked at #3, #6, #7, and #9, respectively, giving them rankings higher than Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, and Columbia.

MIT, Stanford, and Caltech (not Ivies) share the award for most selective schools with Princeton and Harvard: all five schools have a 4% acceptance rate. After those schools, the most selective schools on this list are a mix of Ivies and non-Ivies. Yale (Ivy) has a 5% acceptance rate, and six schools on this list all have a 6% acceptance rate: UChicago (Non-Ivy), UPenn (Ivy), Duke (Non-Ivy), Dartmouth (Ivy), Brown (Ivy), and Columbia (Ivy).

Lastly, this table shows us that schools are sometimes mistaken for Ivies due to their being in the northeast. Examples of such schools include the highly selective Johns Hopkins, Amherst, and Georgetown, in addition to some slightly less selective (but still popular and prestigious) schools such as Boston College and Boston University.

Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? (4)

Ivies and non-Ivies are like two different flavors of cookies: they may be different, but they're both equally delicious!

Recap: Is Duke Ivy League? Is MIT Ivy League?

Stanford, Duke, MIT, and many other well-known universities are often mistaken for Ivy League schools due to their superior academic reputations and high selectivity. But in reality, the Ivy League consists of just eight extremely selective schools, which are all located in the northeast. Once again, these schools are as follows:
  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Yale University

Although the Ivy League is generally associated with prestige and high rankings, this doesn't mean non-Ivies can't be as good as or even better than Ivies. Many non-Ivies, such as Stanford and the University of Chicago, are actually ranked higher than Ivies and maintain similar (or even lower!) acceptance rates.

Ultimately, the Ivy League is just a name for a particular group of schools that just so happen to share strong rankings and low acceptance rates. When it comes down to it, any top-tier school—Ivy or otherwise—is an excellent choice for college!

What's Next?

Want to make a great impression on the Ivy League? Learn what a good SAT/ACT score is for the Ivy League, and get tips on what classes you should take in high school in order to impress admissions committees.

(Video) Why You SHOULDN'T Apply to an Ivy League School | What Nobody Will Tell You (2019)

Ready to apply to a top-tier school? Awesome! Now all you need is some step-by-step advice. Check out our in-depth guides on how to get into the Ivy League and how to get into Stanford—both written by admitted applicants to these schools!

Want to stand apart from other applicants? Learn how to score a perfect 1600 on the SAT, so you can increase your shot at getting into the school of your dreams!

Ready to go beyond just reading about the SAT? Then you'll love the free five-day trial for our SAT Complete Prep program. Designed and written by PrepScholar SAT experts, our SAT program customizes to your skill level in over 40 subskills so that you can focus your studying on what will get you the biggest score gains.

Click on the button below to try it out!

Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? (5)

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Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? (6)

Hannah Muniz

(Video) Why Stanford REJECTED me, the "perfect" student

About the Author

Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.

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Is Stanford an Ivy League School? Is Duke? MIT? ›

While Stanford, Duke, and MIT are all clearly prestigious schools with high national rankings and low selectivity rates comparable to those of Ivy League schools, they are not Ivy League schools simply because they are not members of the Ivy League.

Why is Stanford and MIT not Ivy League? ›

Ivy League schools may have prestige and history, but they aren't the only great universities in the U.S. Schools like Stanford, MIT, and the University of Chicago often outrank Ivies in terms of academics. However, since they aren't in the same athletic conference, they technically aren't Ivy League schools.

Is MIT or Stanford more impressive? ›

Stanford University is ranked by the popular college ranking site #3 in National Universities. It shares the spot with other prestigious institutions, Harvard University and Yale Universities, both of which are Ivy League schools. MIT, meanwhile, is ranked by US News #2 in National Universities.

What is the hardest Ivy academically? ›

Harvard University

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.

Is MIT and Stanford Ivy League? ›

MIT and Stanford are not Ivy League, but rank better than Harvard. Of the American universities in the QS World University Rankings, for example, the highest placed Ivy League university, Harvard, is third, beaten by non-Ivy universities, MIT and Stanford.

Is it harder to get into Stanford or MIT? ›

MIT and Stanford both have acceptance rates right around 4%. Technically, for 2020-2022, Stanford's acceptance rate was 3.95% while MIT's was 3.96%, which are essentially exactly the same. That means both schools are very competitive.

Why is Duke not an Ivy League? ›

The Takeaway. Stanford, MIT, and Duke may not be part of the Ivy League due to the historical emphasis on athletics, but they are by no means inferior. These institutions stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Ivy League colleges, offering top-tier educational standards and competitive employment opportunities.

What is the hardest degree in MIT? ›

With that being said, engineering majors are often thought to be amongst the most challenging at MIT. The institution acknowledges that Unified Engineering is one of the toughest classes at MIT, and it's a required course for multiple types of engineering degrees.

Why is MIT so prestigious? ›

MIT has a four-year graduation rate of 85%, more than 25% higher than the national average. This puts MIT students among the most likely to graduate on time in the country. On top of that, MIT boasts an astonishingly low student-to-faculty ratio of just 3:1.

Is MIT as prestigious as Harvard? ›

MIT and Harvard are equally prestigious universities based in Cambridge, a nearby city of Boston. While MIT focuses primarily on science, math, and technology, Harvard offers a broader variety of liberal arts and sciences programs.

What is the happiest Ivy League? ›

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?

Which Ivy has the richest students? ›

Harvard University

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.

Which Ivy is the most stressful? ›

Two Ivy League colleges made the list of the most stressed college towns and they both happen to be in the top 10 – Harvard University (#2) and Cornell University (#10).

Is Duke an elite school? ›

While Stanford, Duke, and MIT are all clearly prestigious schools with high national rankings and low selectivity rates comparable to those of Ivy League schools, they are not Ivy League schools simply because they are not members of the Ivy League.

Is Duke a Tier 1 school? ›

Tier 1 is comprised of major private research universities, including MIT, UChicago, Stanford, John Hopkins, Northwestern, California Institute of Technology, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Rice (amongst many others).

Is Duke University a prestigious school? ›

Duke University is ranked #10 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

How hard is it to get into Duke? ›

For every 100 applicants, only 9 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.

Do you need all A's to get into Stanford? ›

With a GPA of 3.96, Stanford 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. Furthermore, you should be taking hard classes - AP or IB courses - to show that college-level academics is a breeze.

What GPA does Stanford like? ›

High School GPA

To have the best chance of being admitted to Stanford, applicants should aim for high academic achievements, with a GPA of 3.96 or higher and scores in the 75th percentile. However, if your GPA is lower, you can compensate with higher test scores.

Is Duke a top 10 university? ›

Duke University's ranking in the 2022-2023 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #10. Its tuition and fees are $63,054.

What are the top 4 Ivy League schools? ›

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.

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into? ›

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.

What is the lowest GPA MIT has accepted? ›

Aim high. Even though there are no official MIT GPA requirements, you should aim for a 4.17 weighted GPA. If you're already a junior or senior figuring out how to get into MIT and your GPA is lower than 4.17, know that scores close to the average MIT SAT scores or ACT scores can counterbalance a lower GPA.

What is the #1 hardest major? ›

#1 Chemistry

According to the average Grade Point Average of students in the program, Chemistry wins the prize title hardest major. A Chemistry major overlaps somewhat with biology, but chemistry extends beyond living things.

What are the top 3 MIT majors? ›

The most popular majors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology include: Computer Science; Mechanical Engineering; Mathematics, General; Physics, General; Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical/Space Engineering, General; Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering; Econometrics and Quantitative Economics; ...

What GPA is required for MIT? ›

GPA. There is no minimum required GPA, but competitive applicants generally have a GPA of 3.5 or above, and mostly A's in mathematics and science courses. Testing must be completed by the October test date for spring (February) entry and by the March test date for fall (September) entry.

Is MIT for the rich? ›

The median family income of a student from M.I.T. is $137,400, and 61% come from the top 20 percent. About 3.4% of students at M.I.T.

Is MIT number 1 in the world? ›

Rankings are based on research quality and accomplishments, academic reputation, and graduate employment. MIT has been ranked as the No. 1 university in the world by QS World University Rankings for 11 straight years.

Is MIT or Yale better? ›

Researchers ranked the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the best higher learning institution in the country. MIT finished first in terms of Student Selectivity, which measures admission rates, SAT scores, and the share of incoming freshmen that were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduation class.

Is it easier to get into MIT or Yale? ›

Is Yale University or Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Harder to get into? Which school is easier to get into? If you're looking at acceptance rate alone, then Yale University is more difficult to get into.

What is MIT famous for? ›

While MIT is perhaps best known for its programs in engineering and the physical sciences, other areas—notably economics, political science, urban studies, linguistics, and philosophy—are also strong. Admission is extremely competitive, and undergraduate students are often able to pursue their own original research.

Which Ivy League has the cutest girls? ›

Penn snags No. 1 spot for "hot" on campus.

Which Ivy has the smartest students? ›

Here are America's Ivy League schools ranked by student brainpower:
Smarts RankOverall Smarts RankSchool
13Harvard University
13Yale University
35Princeton University
48Columbia University
4 more rows
Oct 9, 2015

Which Ivy has the prettiest campus? ›

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.

What college do most billionaires go to? ›

Counting all degrees, Harvard University comes in first place in terms of the total number of billionaire alumni. The University of Pennsylvania comes in first if only bachelor's degrees are counted, according to the most recent 2022 Forbes report.

Where do most billionaires go to college? ›

Harvard is the most attended university. Four of the 25 richest Americans attended the university, though Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out before graduating.

What billionaires went to Stanford? ›

Who Are Some Famous Stanford Alumni Who Became Billionaires? Stanford University in Stanford, California, has produced the second-most billionaire alumni, at 74. Famous Stanford attendees include Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, actress Reese Witherspoon, and golf legend Tiger Woods.

Which Ivy has the best student life? ›

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.

Which Ivy has the best medical? ›

Harvard Medical School

What is the safest Ivy League school? ›

Princeton is one of two Ivy League colleges on our list (the other being Dartmouth). As much as it values its academic rigor, it also clearly values the safety of its students.

What type of students go to Duke? ›

We're looking for students ready to respond to those opportunities intelligently, creatively, and enthusiastically. We like ambition and curiosity, talent and persistence, energy and humanity.

What major is Duke known for? ›

The most popular majors at Duke University include: Computer Science; Public Policy Analysis, General; Biology/Biological Sciences, General; Econometrics and Quantitative Economics; Research and Experimental Psychology, Other; Political Science and Government, General; Computer Engineering, General; Bioengineering and ...

What school is Duke known for? ›

Duke's School of Medicine has consistently earned high rankings and recognition for its academic excellence, research output, and innovative healthcare solutions, solidifying its position as a world-class institution in the medical and health sciences.

Is Duke worth the money? ›

Below Average Value Nationwide

Duke University is ranked #2,184 out of 2,223 for value nationwide. Based on our analysis of other colleges at similar price points, we believe Duke University is overpriced for the quality education it provides.

Is Duke or Cornell harder to get into? ›

Which school is easier to get into? If you're looking at acceptance rate alone, then Duke University is more difficult to get into. However, each college is looking to fill its incoming class with a variety of students with different strengths, backgrounds, etc.

Is Duke or Columbia better? ›

If you asked the average person, especially outside of the United States, Columbia would probably be considered more prestigious than Duke. One of the reasons for that is simply because Columbia is far older than Duke, tracing its origins to the colonial period, when it was called King's College.

Is Duke more prestigious than Berkeley? ›

Duke falls 3 places in Forbes' 2021 top colleges ranking, Berkeley tops list - The Chronicle.

What is considered the Harvard of the South? ›

Vanderbilt University is known as the Harvard of the South and with good reason.

What GPA does Duke want? ›

With a GPA of 4.13, Duke 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.

Why is MIT not an Ivy League college? ›

But MIT doesn't fit perfectly into the Ivy League. For one, it doesn't have the same history as most of the Ivy League schools. It also has a strong focus on science and engineering. While most of the Ivy League schools have a strong focus on humanities and the arts, MIT is much more focused on science.

What makes a school an Ivy League? ›

The Ivy League includes some of the most prestigious, selective, and highest-ranked colleges in the world. Known for extremely competitive admissions, the schools boast many famous and successful alumni. For example, every US president since the 1980s earned an Ivy League degree.

Why MIT over Harvard? ›

Although both Harvard and MIT offer 50+ majors in different fields, MIT is more geared toward science, math, and technology, while Harvard embraces a broader range of fields, especially liberal arts and humanities majors.

Are there 12 or 8 Ivy League schools? ›

There are eight total colleges that are considered to be Ivy League. These schools are Brown, Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and Columbia universities and the University of Pennsylvania.

Is MIT harder to get than Harvard? ›

According to Niche, MIT is the #5 hardest school to get into, and Harvard is the #2 hardest school to get into. Harvard has a college acceptance rate of 3.19% compared to the MIT acceptance rate of 3.9%.

Who is MIT's biggest rival? ›

The college rivalry between the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is stemming from the colleges' reputations as the top science and engineering schools in the United States.

What's the most difficult college to get into? ›

Niche, a ranking and review site, recently published its list of the “2023 Hardest Colleges to Get Into.” Using data from the U.S. Department of Education on various colleges' acceptance rates and SAT/ACT scores, they found, unsurprisingly, Harvard University to be the most difficult college to get into.

What GPA is considered Ivy League? ›

Average GPAs at Ivy League schools start at 3.9. Any lower than 3.5, however, you'll have to either have an impressive, relevant achievement or pray for a miracle to get an offer.

What is MIT best at? ›

MIT's Graduate School Rankings
  • #4. in Best Business Schools. in Accounting. #1. ...
  • #1. in Best Engineering Schools. #1. ...
  • #3. in Biological Sciences (tie) #5. ...
  • #1. in Chemistry (tie) #3. ...
  • #1. in Computer Science (tie) #2. ...
  • #2. in Earth Sciences. #3. ...
  • #1. in Economics (tie) #1. ...
  • #1. in Mathematics (tie) #4.

Which Ivy has the happiest students? ›

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?

What is a hidden Ivy school? ›

The Hidden Ivies include many small colleges, such as Davidson College, Pomona College, Carleton College, and Oberlin College, as well as some large research universities, like Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Southern California.

Is Dartmouth the worst Ivy? ›

The eight worst Ivy League institutions are, in arbitrary order, Penn, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and Brown. Ordering this list is quite subjective, but these are definitively the 8 worst.


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