The Ivy League is an athletic conference composed of 8 highly prestigious New England private schools of higher learning. The member institutions are Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Cornell, Penn, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, and Colombia. The phrase “Ivy League” is also synonymous with elitism, academic excellence, and selectiveness in admissions.
All 8 of the Ivy League schools rate at the very top of every ranking system of colleges and universities annually. They are also historic institutions as 7 of the 8 member schools were established during the United States Colonial period, the exception being Cornell which was founded in 1865. Enrollment in these institutes of higher learning tend to be much smaller than a typical state university, as they range from 4,000 to 14,000 students in their undergraduate and graduate programs.
To gain admission into one of these exclusive Ivy League Universities , an aspiring high school student must not only rank at the very top of their class, they must show a diverse set of skills and participation and excellence in extracurricular activities such as athletics, band, and academic clubs. Leadership skills and experience in exclusive high school organizations such as the National Honor Society is also taken into consideration. It is also very helpful to have an alumni of one these universities in the family to recommend a student as a legacy admission. There are typically 5 to 6 applications or more for every 1 that is accepted into the freshman class of each of these universities. Graduate schools are typically about the same ratio of applicants to invitees as the undergrads.
The Ivy League has a long tradition of sending its graduates to some of the most highly sought after executive positions in business and industry. Ivy League schools also have a long tradition of sending graduates to the highest office in the land as five graduates from Yale have served as President of the United States, while Harvard can claim eight including the last two, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Rivalries in sports are long-standing and highly contested. The Ivy League has fielded football teams for over 100 years and in the early part of the 20th Century, Harvard and Yale were two of the best teams in the nation. While the Ivy League can no longer compete in the top levels of the NCAA in football since they award no athletic scholarships and admissions are so selective, the annual Harvard – Yale football contest is known as “The Game” and is one of the longest standing and celebrated sports rivalries in the nation. The Ivy League is also competitive on a national basis in basketball, ice hockey, and rowing.