Pros and Cons of Going to an Ivy League School

For most senior high school students, applying to colleges can be both stressful and nerve-racking. Thinking about whether or not they should consider applying to and joining the Ivy League schools can make the entire experience even more overwhelming.

For some, attending the Ivies is a dream come true. This is especially for those who are proud of their high school performance and are coming from wealthy families.

For others, however, going to Ivy League universities is just a dream. Such is because of their less-than-stellar high school and financial statuses.

But just like what they say, anything is possible. If you never try applying to one of the Ivies, you will never know if you can be accepted to a prestigious school.

Besides, some people agree that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to one of the various Ivy League schools. So definitely, there is hope.

Dreaming is free, so why should you deprive yourself of the joy of envisioning yourself as a proud Ivy League student?

The first step that you should take to turn that dream into a reality is to try applying.

Yes, anyone can try to apply to the Ivies. However, just like with other schools, not everyone will be accepted. If you are admitted, congratulations!

If you are not admitted, no worries! That’s because there are many other learning institutions around that you may apply to.

We can all agree, however, that being welcomed to one of the most prominent schools on the planet is a feeling like no other.

There are simply so many benefits to enjoy for being an Ivy League student. Once you step foot on the campus, you know that you have just taken a step towards a brighter future.

However, it is also important for you to know that going to an Ivy League school is not all peaches and cream. While there are many pros that come with going to one of the Ivies, there are also cons associated with it.

Yes, the unfavorable things that come with applying to colleges during your high school senior year do not end with your being admitted to an Ivy League university!

Are you thinking about sending an application to an Ivy League school anytime soon? Then don’t stop reading now. Below you will come across some of the pros as well as cons of going to an Ivy League school.

Harvard University
Harvard University

A Quick Orientation

Everyone knows that Ivy League schools are the most prestigious schools there are. This is why many senior high school students can’t help but dream about going to them.

However, not a lot of people know why these schools are referred to as such. If you are one of them, let’s get you informed first before you try to apply to one of them.

Ivy League schools are composed of eight schools in the US, namely:

With the exception of Cornell University, the schools mentioned above are some of the oldest in the US. As a matter of fact, they are so old that some of them have graduating classes dating as far back as the 1700s!

However, many years in the past, these learning institutions were not referred to as the Ivy Leagues.

They were grouped together and called the Ivies only in the mid-1950s when they were some of the best in college athletics.

The time came, however, when they excelled not only in athletics but also in giving world-class education as well as producing an elite group of graduates year after year.

As you can see, these top-notch schools didn’t just wake up one day and decide to call themselves the Ivies. They have a very long history, and they are also known to be some of the best schools ever.

However, it’s a must for you to know that they are not the only excellent schools that you can apply to, as you will later on learn. Let’s now proceed with talking about the pros and cons of you going to one of the eight Ivy League schools.

Related Article: How to Transfer From Community College to Ivy League

Pro #1: Having a Resume That Employers Will Find Irresistible

It’s no secret that an Ivy League school is one of the best schools ever to be created in the history of mankind.

It’s for this reason exactly why you will get a lot of admiration and respect when people learn that you are going to one of the Ivies. The same is true when people know that you are a graduate of such an elite school.

This is why you are guaranteed to have an extraordinary resume after getting your degree from the Ivy League school of your choice.

The simple presence of “Harvard University” or “Dartmouth College” in the educational background part of your resume is enough to make the jaw of someone who is reading it drop to the floor.

Needless to say, having an impressive resume can make you an irresistible applicant to the eye of any employer.

Because you have a resume that’s far from being ordinary, you can go ahead and try to apply to some of the biggest and most high-paying jobs that you can think of.

Rest assured that your chance of being hired on the spot is really high!

Bell tower, Dartmouth College library
Bell tower, Dartmouth College library

Pro #2: Being a Part of a Network of Successful People

Above, we just talked about how easy it can be for you to apply and get a job because of the presence of an Ivy League school’s name on your resume.

Being a graduate of one of the Ivies, however, oftentimes will not require you to look for a job. That’s because it is the job that will come to you. It’s likely to be your dream job, too!

One of the many perks that come with getting a college degree from an Ivy League school is that you will become a part of a group of graduates that consists of some of the smartest and influential people on the face of the planet.

Many of the people who graduated from the Ivies are politicians, scientists, doctors, inventors, CEOs, and literary giants. You can consider all of these amazing individuals as just some of the people in your network.

Because you are a part of a group of world-changers and money-makers, you are not going to have a difficult time getting incredible job recommendations and offers, too. As a matter of fact, even before graduating, you may be offered internships from top companies.

columbia university
Columbia University

Pro #3: Access to an Impressive Array of Resources

It’s common knowledge that studying at an Ivy League school doesn’t come with a cheap price tag — we will talk about this later on when it’s time to focus on the cons.

The large sums of money that students pay to go to these colleges are used to pay for many things, and some of those are various sources of information for the attendees.

Take, for instance, Harvard University that has the Harvard Library, which is home to all sorts of rare books, manuscripts, and other materials that are valuable in more ways than one.

Having access alone to reading materials, photographs, scores, digital materials, and so many others allows a Harvard University student to know things that a student from any other school cannot know about just because he or she has no knowledge of its existence.

Obtaining hard-to-find books and preserving historical materials or objects costs a lot of money. This is just one of the reasons why in exchange for having access to them, Harvard students have to be willing to shoulder the steep cost of being students there.

Pro #4: Being Able to Spend More Time With the Professors

The campuses of Ivy League schools are some of the biggest in the US. Despite this, inside their large classrooms, you will find only a few students at any given time.

This is exactly what the Ivies want — to make sure that their professors are able to provide enough time and attention to each and every student of theirs.

Since when we were talking about having plenty of resources, we used Harvard University as an example earlier, let us use this school again as an example. In the said Ivy League school, the student-faculty ratio is 7:1

So, in other words, there is an available professor for every seven students.

On the other hand, at the University of Berkeley, California, the student-faculty ratio is 18:1, which means that nearly 20 students have to compete for the attention of a professor.

Because the student-faculty ratio in Ivy League schools is better than non-Ivy League ones, every question that a student has can be addressed properly and without delay by a professor.

Princeton University
Princeton University

Con #1: The Need to Shoulder Incredibly Sky-High Tuition Costs

When the Ivy Leagues are mentioned, one of the things that will immediately pop in the minds of everyone is very high tuition fees.

Well, this is something that none of the Ivies are denying, so it’s for certain that this is a fact. To have a better idea, check out this table of Ivy League schools’ tuition fees for 2020 and estimated tuition fees for 2021:

Brown University$58,404$61,497
Columbia University$61,788$71,460
Cornell University$57,222$59,330
Dartmouth College$57,638$60,364
Harvard University$51,925$53,474
Princeton University$52,800$55,380
University of Pennsylvania$57,770$60,041
Yale University$55,500$57,650

However, it’s important to note that Ivy league schools also grant nice financial aid packages and scholarship programs, mostly on need base.

This is why you should forget what you may have been told time and again before that going to Harvard University or Princeton University is exclusive for the rich. Yes, there are Ivy League students that are from low-income families.

Unfortunately, it is said that half of the poor students in premier schools feel unwelcome. That’s because the culture there is primarily driven by wealth and privilege that most attendees were born into.

Con #2: Lower Admission Rates Compared to Other Schools

Before senior high school students worry about the ridiculous tuition fees associated with going to the Ivy Leagues, there is one more thing that they should be anxious about first.

It’s none other than whether or not the admissions officers will welcome them to their campuses.

While the cost of attending the Ivies is very high, the rate of being admitted to them is very low. Applicants have to perfectly fit the profiles of model students that these elite universities want.

So to save yourself from the heartache of being denied, it’s a good idea to apply elsewhere if you honestly believe that you are not what any of the Ivies are looking for.

To show you just how low the acceptance rate is in these revered schools, here’s a table:

SchoolAcceptance Rate
Brown University8%
Columbia University6%
Cornell University11%
Dartmouth College9%
Harvard University5%
Princeton University5%
University of Pennsylvania8%
Yale University6%

Lots and lots of high school students in their senior year apply to Ivy League schools, but only very few of them get admitted.

Make sure that you carefully research what these schools are looking for before you try to send your application to any of them.

This is to save you from wasting your time as well as experiencing being turned down if you’re not what they are looking for. You are better off applying to a different school if such is the case.

Con #3: Not the Only Schools That Can Offer World-Class Education

Many of us believe that the best schools on the face of the planet are Ivy League schools. Such is evidenced by the fact that most, if not all, of its graduates, are highly successful people.

This is why a lot of high school students who are about to graduate are dreaming about going to these first-class schools. To them, going there is synonymous with world-class education and success for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, not a lot of people know that there are many fantastic schools out there that are not one of the Ivies. For instance, experts agree that both Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute or MIT outshine Harvard University.

Other Ivy League schools are outranked by the likes of Bowdoin College, Rice University, and California Institute of Technology or Caltech.

Many learning institutions that can equal or even surpass the Ivies have more reasonable tuition fees and higher acceptance rates, thus making it easier for you to turn your dream into a reality.

Con #4: Less-Than-Desirable Athletic Scene

Early in this article, we discussed the beginnings of the Ivies. We talked about the fact that it all began when certain schools showed excellence in terms of college athletics.

Eventually, it’s not just in sports that they excelled in, but also in terms of the quality of education that they provided their students with.

Sadly, these days these elite schools are no longer known to shine brightly when it comes to college athletics. However, they do still stand out for their top-notch education.

If your ticket to getting to a nice college is your athleticism rather than your academia, you might want to consider sending your application to a non-Ivy League school. Here’s a list of schools that are perfect for students who love sports with all their hearts:

Which Ivy League School Should You Go

Many senior high school students consider Ivy League schools as their dream schools. Well, no one can blame them for having such a type of mindset.

That’s because the eight schools making up the Ivies are indeed some of the best learning institutions in the US and perhaps the rest of the world, too.

That is why there are many perks associated with attending and graduating from them. They range from having world-class education to getting a high-paying job.

However, Ivy League schools are not perfect schools. While there are benefits to going to them, there are also cons to wanting to become a student in one of these elite schools.

They range anywhere from having low admission rates to being very expensive. They may be considered as dream schools, but to some students, they can be nightmares, too.

This is why you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of going to an Ivy League school before you finally decide to send your college application to one or more of them.

If the benefits prevail over the downsides, then feel free to try your luck and let the Ivy League school of your choice know that you are interested in going to it.

However, if you set your mind to going to an Ivy, you should know that some colleges are (relatively) easier to get into. Check the list of easier and hardest Ivies here.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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