If you’re looking to go to college then you might be wondering whether or not you should be aiming to attend an Ivy League school.

This post will show you a number of advantages that Ivy League schools can have over other schools as well as a number of reasons that you might not actually be better off at an Ivy League school.

So, should I aim to attend an Ivy League school? Ivy League schools can give you a very good education and Ivy League graduates will often find it easier to get a job. However, there are many other schools that are just as prestigious that can also put you in a very good position upon graduation.

There are actually a number of things to consider when deciding on whether or not you should be aiming for an Ivy League school and there are a number of reasons that you might not actually want to.

The professors will be among the world leaders in their fields

One reason that you might want to aim for an Ivy League school is that the professors will usually be world-leading experts in their field.

This means that you will usually be taught to a high standard, the professors will likely be able to condense advanced topics more easily and the classes will likely go at a faster pace. This means that the classes will also tend to be slightly more academically challenging due to the professors going through the material more quickly and expecting you to understand the material more easily.

However, something to consider is that it will be slightly dependant on the major. Even Ivy League schools can be weak in certain fields and it might be the case that you might actually get taught by professors of a higher standing at schools outside of the Ivy League. This will often be the case in the STEM field where there are many universities outside of the Ivy League that tend to rank higher.

Need-based aid

Another reason that you might want to go to an Ivy League school is that they tend to have very good need-based aid packages. If your family income is below a certain amount then many of them will give full-tuition financial aid.

So, while the sticker price of these universities is high the actual amount that you will have to pay will likely be a lot lower than that unless you have a very high family income.

You’ll find it easier to get a job

One of the main benefits of going to an Ivy League school is that you will likely find it easier to get a job when you graduate.

This is because many employers will actively seek Ivy League graduates and will often go to job fairs specifically at those schools. This means that, when sending your resume, to potential employers it will be more likely that you will get an interview.

In addition to this, Ivy League schools will also have a large and powerful alumni network that graduates can make use of when trying to get a job. These networks can also be used when trying to get an internship which will put you in an even better position upon graduation.

However, it’s important that you note that there are many other “target universities” outside of the Ivy League. Additionally, depending on the field the weight of being from a top school will differ. If you want to get into investment banking then being from a target school will help a lot but if you’re looking to work as a software engineer then it won’t matter as much.

You’ll get paid more

In a study done by the US Department of Education, it was found that the average income of a college graduate 10 years after graduation is $59,124.

Here is what the average income of people that graduated from Ivy League schools 10 years later was:

  • Harvard: $89,700
  • Princeton: $74,700
  • Pennsylvania: $85,500
  • Yale: $83,200
  • Columbia: $83,300
  • Cornell: $77,200
  • Dartmouth: $75,500
  • Brown: $67,500

As you can see, in all cases, students that went to Ivy League schools were getting paid more than what the average graduate was getting paid.

However, with that being said, it is important to be aware that other highly respected schools will also pay more on average.

You’ll be more likely to graduate

According to NCES, the graduation rate at colleges with open admissions policies only had a 6-year graduation rate of 32%. Whereas, colleges that admitted less than 25% of applicants had an acceptance rate of 88%.

There are many reasons that this could be the case. One reason could be that students that go to these schools tend to be more studious than average so, naturally, they also tend to study a lot when they are in college as well. It could also be that these schools tend to have a favorable student to faculty ratio.

It might be less expensive to attend a college in your state

While it is true that Ivy League schools tend to have very good financial aid packages based on income it is also true that some of them give more aid than others.

Many colleges will also give good financial aid to those that have good SAT or GRE scores, are in-state students or are from a low-income background. This means that you might find that going to a college outside of the Ivy League will be less expensive for you.

With that being said, since Ivy League schools do tend to give good financial aid packages, you shouldn’t let cost stop you from applying. You might find that going to one is more affordable than you think.

There are many non-Ivy universities that are also good

While Ivy League universities do tend to rank well, it is also true that many other universities also tend to rank well and often even better than the Ivy League schools.

Before deciding on whether or not you want to go to an Ivy League school specifically it would be worthwhile for you to consider other top universities as well. You might find that a school outside of the Ivy League would actually put you in a better position upon graduation.

It depends on your desired field

Another thing to consider is that Ivy League schools don’t tend to rank well in certain fields.

If you are looking to study a STEM subject then you will likely find that schools outside of the Ivy League will actually often rank better. For example, in computer science, according to USNews the highest ranking Ivy League school (Cornell) comes in at 6th.

It would be worthwhile for you to research how well different universities do in the field that you want to enter before deciding on which universities you want to apply for.

You can still be successful if you don’t attend an ivy league school

Another thing to consider is that it is not necessary to go to an Ivy League school to be successful. Many people have graduated from lower-tier schools that have gone on to do great things and many successful people never went to college at all.

With that being said, going to a higher tier university will help you to improve your chances of being successful. But, it will ultimately come down to you when deciding whether or not you actually will be.

There are a lot of differences between them

It is also the case that each of the Ivy League schools have a number of differences between them.

You will likely find that not all of the Ivy League schools will be a good fit for you. Rather one or two of them might be when considering what you want to get out of university, what you want to study, what kind of university culture you want and even the climate.

Consider what you want in terms of the culture of the school

The size, location, acceptance rate, student to faculty ratio, type or college and size of the student body can all have an impact on the culture of a college.

When deciding on whether or not certain Ivy League schools would be a good fit for you it is important for you to take the time to consider what culture you would like the university to have.

Some things that you can consider would include:

  • The type of climate that you want
  • The type of major that you want to pursue
  • Do you want a small body size?
  • The percentage of students that live on campus
  • Extra-curriculars offered at the college
  • Demographics of the college

I created and currently manage College Corner. I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My goal is to help current students do better in college and to help future students plan for college. You can read more about me and my website here.