Founded in 1701, Yale College, with some of the most beautiful architecture in the world ranging from Gothic to Georgian to Colonial to Modern, has one gorgeous campus — and the Yale University Admissions department maintains its standing as one of the most selective universities in the nation. There are approximately 5,300 undergraduates and another 6,000 graduate students at Yale.
With good town-gown relations, the town of New Haven, Connecticut (the self-proclaimed pizza capital of the world) has undergone some major renovations in the past decade. There are an abundance of fine restaurants, theatrical, musical and dance performances, food festivals, and street fairs. New Haven even has its own Little Italy. Equidistant to Boston and New York City (about 1.5 hours in either direction), Yale makes for an exciting weekend getaway.
Yale University is known, among other things, for its Residential Colleges.
Yale doesn’t have a core curriculum, but students must take three courses in four different academic areas including language and literature, social sciences, arts and humanities, and mathematics. With over sixty-five departments and programs to choose from, Yale boasts offering more than 2,000 undergraduate courses in disciplines such as computer sciences, engineering, humanities, mathematical, natural sciences, and social sciences. The shopping period during the first two weeks of classes allows students to sit in on classes and test them out before officially enrolling.
Yale’s twelve residential colleges make the university unique among the Ivy League colleges. These residential colleges are so significant to life at Yale that when one Yale alum meets another, one of the first questions they ask each other is to which residential college they belonged. The residential colleges have their own dorms, dining halls, libraries, movie theatres, studios, gyms, and courtyards, and they serve as the hub of cultural, athletic, and social life. When students join an intramural sports team, they play for their residential college. From football to Ultimate Frisbee, there are over 30 intramural sports at each college.
In the evenings, the dining halls convert to orchestra, band, or a cappella jam sessions, political debates, theatrical performances, or quiet poetry readings. The master and dean of each residential college are professors who live in that college, dine with students, and serve as advisors. Each college has its own Master’s Teas where invited guests are prominent figures from politics, academia, journalism, visual or performing arts, or from the business world. If you happen to be absent from class because of illness or a particular situation and need an extension on an assignment you get a note not from mommy or daddy but from your dean.
Notable Yale alumni have been United States presidents and vice presidents, premiers of foreign countries, governors, Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, senators, inventors, nobel laureates, Pulizer Prize winners, university presidents, pro athletes, entertainers, as well as those who made their mark in medicine, science research, art, and technology.
The overall Yale University admissions rate stood at 6.5% for the Class of 2019. A total of 30,237 students applied in both the Early Action and Regular Decision rounds. Yale University Admissions accepted 1,963 students for a targeted freshman class of 1,360 students.
The University of Pennsylvania, one of the eight Ivy League colleges, is a private institution in spite of its name. Located in Philadelphia, PA, an historic, vibrant, cultural, and diverse city, Penn is the fifth oldest post-secondary institution in the United States. Approximately 12,000 undergraduates attend Penn.
Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1749, the University of Pennsylvania, first named as the Academy and College of Philadelphia, was established on the concept that while an undergraduate education should certainly focus on theoretical aspects, it should also have practical implications. To this day, Penn continues the spirit of its founding fathers, and its graduates are among the most career-oriented of all the Ivy League colleges.
Penn consists of twelve schools and undergraduate programs are offered in four of these schools: The College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), the School of Nursing (the only Ivy League institution to offer a nursing school), and the Wharton School (the only Ivy League institution to offer a business school). As a graduate school, Penn has a medical, law, business, dental, nursing, and veterinary school. With Nobel laureates as professors, it’s no surprise that Penn is an academic powerhouse with world-class research opportunities.
In addition, Penn offers six specialized dual-degree and interdisciplinary programs: The Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and either a BSE in Engineering or a BAS in Engineering from Penn Engineering), the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business (a B.A. in International Studies from the School of Arts and Sciences and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School), Nursing and Health Care Management (a B.S. from Penn Nursing Science and a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School), The Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management (a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. from the College of Arts & Sciences in a life science discipline), the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) (a bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Science), and the Accelerated 7 year Bio-Dental Program (a bachelor’s degree plus a dental degree from Penn Dental Medicine).
Throwing toast onto Franklin Field, not stepping foot on the compass for fear of failing your freshman midterm exams, Hey Day, Penn Relays, Spring Fling, and a host of other activities help make the University of Pennsylvania rich in its traditions.
From Penn’s Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses which combine theory and practice through activities that make a difference in public schools, churches, synagogues, and outreach centers in the West Philadelphia communities to Penntoring to Kite and Key, giving back to the surrounding Philadelphia community is a big deal at Penn.
For the Class of 2019, the University of Pennsylvania Admissions department received 37,267 applications – the most applications in Penn’s history – and accepted 3,697 candidates. This left the overall University of Pennsylvania admissions rate at 9.9%.
Located in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights, just north of the Upper West Side and just south of Harlem, Columbia University gives students the perfect blend of an outstanding Ivy League education in the greatest city of the world. With 6,084 undergraduates, Columbia has one of the most ethnically diverse student bodies of all of the Ivy League colleges and Columbia University Admissions makes it among the most competitive to get into.
Rentals of Manhattan apartments are unaffordable for most Columbia students, so nearly all undergraduates live on campus. And while this could make for a very social campus, that’s not the case here. Viewed as not PC, fraternities and sororities are in the minority at Columbia. But what’s lacking in social life is certainly made up for in all that New York City has to offer.
With easy access to all of the culture that Manhattan and the other four boroughs offer, on a Saturday afternoon students are able to attend a concert at Lincoln Center, stroll through Central Park, see the Greek sculptures at the Met, and then take a short subway ride to Broadway in Astoria to enjoy sumptuous Greek cuisine at a reasonable cost. No other metropolis has the endless opportunities that New York City offers, and perhaps that’s why there’s a question on Columbia’s supplement for applicants to list the films, performances, exhibits, concerts, shows, and lectures that they have enjoyed most in the past year. For students who would enjoy a rigorous academic experience at a premier research university, the opportunities for significant internships, the ability to have real work experience, and of course to be able take advantage of all that the Big Apple has to offer, Columbia University is the perfect place.
Applying to Columbia University means applying to either Columbia College or The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Students at both the College and Columbia Engineering are responsible for the Core Curriculum. Engineering students are required to take classes from Columbia College’s Core Curriculum of liberal arts courses as well as core engineering courses. Columbia students love the Core Curriculum because with strong disciplines across the board, world-class professors, and small classes capped at 22 students, it gives them the chance to study courses outside of their majors.
For the Class of 2019, Columbia University Admissions received a total of 36,250 applications and accepted 2,228. This resulted in an overall acceptance rate for both Columbia College and SEAS of 6.1%.
If you’ve heard the expression, “the most difficult thing about Harvard is getting admitted,” this is a most accurate statement. In reality, it’s very difficult to fail out of Harvard. Sure, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out, but they didn’t fail out. Neither did Robert Frost, Matt Damon, or William Randoph Hearst. Failing out of Harvard is not an easy feat – you have to really work hard at that. Harvard College Admissions makes it another story entirely to get in, however, as this, too, is no easy feat.
With Harvard’s grade inflation, about half of the grades awarded are either A’s or A-‘s. In fact, Harvard has a rule that not more than 50 percent of any graduating class can graduate with honors. So for every graduating class, the top 5% graduate summa cum laude, the top 15% graduate magna cum laude, and the top 30% graduate cum laude. Harvey C. Mansfield, a Harvard professor of government, acknowledges that professors award a preponderance of A’s because they don’t want to discourage students who are accustomed to getting A’s throughout high school. As ridiculous as that may sound, this is nevertheless the case.
In the aftermath of 9/11, administrators at Harvard College considered eliminating grade inflation, but professors took a stance and decided that because of 9/11, the student population needed to recover and that the timing was wrong. Can you imagine this national tragedy impacted the conversation at Harvard about grade inflation? Since then, the issue of grade inflation has not been revisited.
Founded in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest post-secondary institution in the U.S. In 1977, Harvard College merged with Radcliff College, a nearby women’s liberal arts school and became coeducational. Prior to that, beginning in 1963, students who attended Radcliffe College earned a Radcliffe-Harvard degree. In 1999, when Radcliffe was formally merged with Harvard, female undergraduates then earned a Harvard degree.
With approximately 10,000 students, Harvard College has the third highest undergraduate population in the Ivy League, trailing only Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. The campus is centered on Harvard Yard, where most of the freshmen live. The charming, New England town of Cambridge is the home of two of the world’s best colleges (Harvard and MIT). When students run out of what to do in town, they’re only 3 miles away, and a quick T from downtown Boston, the home of approximately 50 colleges and universities. While Harvard students don’t necessarily interact with students from other area colleges, the city of Boston is ranked as one of the best college towns in the nation.
Harvard has a work hard, play not-so-hard mentality. The university has its share of talented athletes and, as a result, athletics are big time at Harvard as students come out to cheer for their favorite Crimson teams. While fraternities and sororities don’t dominate the social scene, the residential houses host most of the parties.
Harvard has state of the art facilities, a brilliant and accomplished faculty who are world-class scholars, and ambitious, accomplished, and talented students. Since only the best and the brightest are accepted at Harvard, students meet their challenges head-on. The program in general education requires that students pass one half-course in each of eight categories: Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding; Culture and Belief; Empirical and Mathematical Reasoning; Ethical Reasoning; Science of Living Systems; Science of the Physical Universe; Societies of the World; and United States in the World. During the first week of each term, students enjoy the shopping period where they can sample courses they wish to take.
For the Class of 2019, out of a total applicant pool of 37,305 and with 1,990 students accepted, the overall Harvard College admissions rate was 5.3%, the lowest in Harvard’s history and the lowest of all the Ivy League colleges.
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Founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh oldest post-secondary institution in the U.S. As a leading research university, Brown maintains a commitment to an undergraduate liberal arts education. A healthy mixture of (often liberal) political activists, free spirited, open-minded, outgoing, fun-loving, self-motivated, and ambitious students make up the 6,000 undergraduates at this Ivy League institution. While students work hard, there is a general laid-back attitude, and Brown students fit into every imaginable social niche. With its location in the historic New England city of Providence, it’s no wonder that that this town is dubbed the creative capital. Most high school seniors choose to send in applications to Brown University Admissions because of its robust academic resources and, of course, its liberal ambiance.
While it’s likely that most students at Brown do not take all of their classes pass / fail, the option is certainly an enticing one for those who want to experience a challenging course without having to pay the penalty of a mediocre grade. Yet students who dare to go this route for too many of their classes would undoubtedly have a tough time gaining acceptance into graduate schools.
Another one of Brown’s greatest appeals is that there is no core curriculum. Students can design their own concentrations, and there are approximately 70 concentrations from which to choose. While the freedom of being the architect of one’s own education can be daunting to some, it can also be a most exciting experience. However, it would be a huge mistake to think that students view Brown’s open curriculum as a means of avoiding core courses because that’s not why the open curriculum was designed. Quite the opposite. With the open curriculum, students are able to explore their academic passions without the restrictions of prescribed general education classes. The open curriculum was in fact designed so that students could find new challenges and passions even though this adventure could lead them to tread outside of their comfort zones.
Adjacent to Brown on College Hill is the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and any Brown student can take up to four courses at RISD through cross-registration. For more serious art and design students, the Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program is a five-year commitment that allows students to pursue multidisciplinary work. Students may combine disciplines such as math (at Brown) and architecture (at RISD). Upon completion of the program, students earn a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) from Brown and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) from RISD. To be admitted to the program, prospective students apply and are accepted to both Brown and RISD and then go through a second admissions process by the Brown / RISD admissions committee. Each year, approximately 15 students are enrolled for the dual degree program.
Through a housing lottery, students live and learn in their community. Alternatives to housing are the Program Houses which encompass Greek organizations and Theme Houses. Program Houses host events for their members and for the entire Brown community.
For the Class of 2019, Brown University Admissions accepted 2,580 students in a total applicant pool of 30,397 freshmen, with an overall acceptance rate of 8.6%.
While some Ivy League colleges have a medical, law or business school, and other Ivies have all three, if you’ve ever wondered why Princeton does not have any, it’s because the focus is on the undergraduate education. And while Princeton does have an engineering school, the university’s commitment is to the liberal arts education. Perhaps this is why Princeton students so love their school and why Princeton University Admissions is getting that admission rate to drop year after year.
With 5,100 undergraduates, Princeton students have the advantage of studying on a gorgeous campus in an upscale, affluent, cosmopolitan town that’s a world-class research institution with renowned professors who care about teaching undergraduates. Founded as an all male college in 1746, Princeton University is the fourth oldest college in the United States. An hour train ride in either direction allows students to take day trips to Philadelphia or New York City.
Princeton students are candidates for either a Bachelor of Arts degree (A.B.) or a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.). In addition, the interdisciplinary certificate programs offer undergraduates a plethora of opportunities to pursue other areas of interest. With a cap of 15 students, the freshman seminars are a memorable part of a Princeton education. With 75 freshman seminars to choose from, topics are as interesting as “Epigenetics, or “How the Tabby Got Her Stripes” (given by none other than Princeton’s president Shirley Tilghman, a world-renowned authority on genetics), “Life on Mars — Or Maybe Not,” or “Cultural Revolutions of the Sixties.” And of course another highlight of a Princeton education is the preceptorial system. In most lecture courses, there’s a preceptorial in which students meet in small groups after a lecture to share their views.
With Princeton’s motto “Princeton is the nation’s service and the service of all nations,” it’s no wonder that the university boasts about its flagship program, The Woodrow Wilson School. This concentration is open to juniors and seniors and is the only one at the university that is selective. The Woodrow Wilson School seeks to educate Princeton undergraduates who seek to pursue careers in public service and international affairs.
Let it not be said that there is only one Ivy League university that has a residential college system. Princeton’s six residential colleges – Butler, Forbes, Mathey, Rockefeller, Whitman, and Wilson – offer an environment where students can find social, cultural, extracurricular, and academic happiness.
Entering freshmen are randomly assigned to a residential college, and they can call that college home for their four years at Princeton if they choose to do so. Housing is guaranteed for 4 years and 98% of all students live on campus. Each college has its own master, dean, and academic advisor. The residential colleges host their own dance lessons and dances, yoga sessions, film nights, trips, intramural competitions, and freshmen seminars. Each RC is architecturally unique (three of which are done in Gothic) consisting of a cluster of dormitories and facilities ranging from dining halls to game rooms to music studios to TV and study rooms. There is social interaction and intramural competitions between the residential colleges.
Similar to the residential colleges, but different, and with a bit of a price tag (although financial aid can help defray the cost) are Princeton’s eleven eating clubs. These clubs are open to juniors and seniors and are not only great places to dine, but they also dominate the social scene. They serve as intellectual communities. About 70% of Princeton’s students join the eating clubs that are all mansions located on Prospect Avenue, or commonly known as “The Street.” Six of the clubs – Cannon, Tower, Cap and Gown, Tiger Inn, Cottage, and Ivy – are selective and choose their members through a process called “bicker” which consists of interviews, competitive games and evening activities.
In the other five eating clubs – Terrace, Colonial, Charter, Cloister, and Quad – members are chosen through a process called “sign-ins” where students rank their preference on a one-to-five scale and are selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. Students who decide to bicker and are not admitted to any of the six clubs are then asked for their preference for sign-ins. While students may not get into their first choice, all students who want to join an eating club through bicker or sign-in are admitted. Fraternities and sororities are a social option for those who don’t want to belong to an eating club, but most students who belong to fraternities and sororities also belong to an eating club. Other options to eating clubs are the residential colleges and cooperatives.
With a total of 27,290 applications for a targeted class of 1,310 freshmen, Princeton University Admissions admitted 1,908 students for the Class of 2019. This resulted in an overall admissions rate of 7.0 percent, the lowest in Princeton’s history.
Situated in Ithaca, New York with a magnificent view of the Cayuga Lakes, the scenic Cornell University campus is the home of seven undergraduate colleges. The Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Art and Planning, and the School of Hotel Administration comprise the private sector of Cornell University. The Colleges of Human Ecology and Agriculture and Life Sciences in addition to the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) comprise the public sector. For students sending in applications to Cornell University Admissions, know that these latter colleges are what admissions counselors at Cornell prefer to term contractual colleges.
The cost of tuition at the contractual colleges is less than at the private colleges and for in-state residents, the tuition cost is considerably lower than for out-of-staters. Students applying for Cornell University admission apply to one of the seven colleges.
The School of Hotel Administration is certainly the best in the country in this field and among the best in the world. ILR is a most unique program where students can examine relationships and conflicts between labor and management for the purpose of creating practical solutions. Aspiring veterinarians will not only find their niche at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, but they will have an easier time getting into veterinary school. Of course, let it not be said that there is only one university in the Ivy League that has an undergraduate business major. Within Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, students can major in “Applied Economics and Management.” Cornell is also considered a premier research university.
No doubt the university is a rigorous academic environment, but students who call Cornell home quite often love it and are able to balance work and play. For those who enjoy fine cuisine, Cornell’s food service is one of the very best in the nation. Good thing — because the eateries in Collegetown leave something to be desired. Ok, a lot to be desired!
For the Class of 2019, 14.9% of students who sent in applications to Cornell University Admissions earned spots. 13.3% of applicants during the Regular Decision round earned admission, while 27.2% of Early Decision applicants to the university earned admission. It was thus a bit tougher for the Class of 2019 as compared to the Class of 2018, a year in which 14% of applicants gained admission overall.
Dartmouth College, also known as “The College on the Hill” was founded by a Puritan minister, Eleazar Wheelock, in 1769. One of the eight member institutions of the Ivy League, Dartmouth is the smallest school in the Ancient Eight. As Secretary of State and Dartmouth alumnus Daniel Webster famously once said in the landmark Dartmouth College v. Woodward case, “It is, Sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it!” And love it they do. As do prospective students…even if the Dartmouth College admissions numbers are getting lower and lower.
As a student applying for admission to Dartmouth, you would be hard-pressed to find a college with a more loyal and passionate alumni base. You would be hard-pressed to find a college where so many alumni give back to their college and forge lifelong friendships with their classmates. Why’s that? Because for four years, students are in the middle of nowhere – in tiny yet picturesque Hanover, New Hampshire – where there is very little to do. There is the Hopkins Center to see a play or a band. There’s Occum Pond to do some ice skating. There’s Thompson Arena to check out Dartmouth’s always powerful hockey teams. There are fraternities. There are secret societies. There’s The Green to do some reading on a perfect New England spring day. Being as Dartmouth isn’t in a thriving metropolis, students get close with each other (especially in light of the freezing temperatures and major snowfalls). And these friendships prove quite special.
Snowball fights on The Green. Running around the bonfire as a freshman hundreds of times with the college community circled around you. The school’s famous Winter Carnivals that once attracted the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Green Key Weekend. Hikes up Mount Moosilauke. These are some of Dartmouth’s favorite things. It is a school rich in tradition and it offers one of the finest — if not the finest — education in the world. In 2005, Dartmouth College was named by consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton to be one of the ten most enduring institutions of the 20th and 21st centuries. According to the report, “‘Since its inception, Dartmouth has set an example for many universities and colleges in America’ and that the College ‘has been judicious in its planning during the late 20th century.'”
Dartmouth students are, in a word, happy. They love their College on the Hill. They love learning foreign languages with the Rassias Method — even if it involves waking up for early morning drill sessions. They love studying abroad on LSA’s and FSP’s. They love rubbing the nose of the statue of Warner Bentley in the Hopkins Center (it was even featured on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” which was created by Dartmouth alumna Shonda Rhimes).
They love their DOC Trips which they take before orientation freshman year (days in the wilderness kayaking, canoeing, or hiking, etc. with new classmates to get to know one another). They love the outdoors — even if this means wearing a big, fluffy jacket throughout much of the year. They love the departments of economics, psychological and brain sciences, government, and history. They love Dr. Seuss and Robert Frost (both attended Dartmouth). And they love the many nationally ranked Big Green Division I athletic teams. Heck, they even have their own ski slopes.
For the Class of 2019, admission to Dartmouth decreased from the previous year with the overall acceptance rate of 10.3%. In the Regular Decision round 8.8% of students were admitted, while in the Early Decision round 26% of applicants got the nod. 18,645 students applied via Regular Decision to Dartmouth, while 1,859 additional students applied via Early Decision. This most enduring institution that boasts the latest two Secretaries of the Treasury, the inventor of BASIC, the CEO of GE, and is even the fictitious alma mater of Stephen Colbert, is one of America’s finest. And we anticipate the Dartmouth College admissions numbers to be even lower next year.