Admission to the Ivy League from India

Ivy League and India, Indians to the Ivy League, Ivies and India

Apologies to Purdue for singling them out, but Purdue just isn’t one of America’s most elite universities. And yet many students from India are under the misimpression that it is (photo credit: Abhijitsathe).

Thinking about applying for admission to the Ivy League from India? As Ivy Coach has opened up an office in India, we figured we’d open up a discussion about some common misconceptions that students in India (and their parents) have about the U.S. highly selective university admissions process. And by highly selective university admissions process, we are referring to gaining admission to a university that is ranked among the top twenty or twenty-five universities as according to “US News & World Report.” So that includes the eight Ivy League universities (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Columbia, Brown, Penn, and Cornell), Stanford, MIT, Caltech, Duke, Northwestern, Wash U, UChicago, Johns Hopkins, and so on.

One common misconception in India, as ridiculous as this may seem to students and parents within the United States, is that attending a university in America is great and that it doesn’t really matter which one they choose. This could not be more wrong. There are some incredibly terrible universities in the United States. There are universities that few have ever heard of. There are universities that pay admissions agents in India (and in China) to help sway students from within these countries to apply. The very best schools don’t need to resort to such tactics.

Attending one of America’s most prestigious universities from India is an outstanding investment and one of the best decisions a student can make. But attending an OK university in the United States often just isn’t worth the investment. There’s MIT, Caltech, UChicago, Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Amherst, Williams, Wash U, the eight Ivy League schools, Johns Hopkins, and a few other elite universities in America. Note we just named a couple handfuls of schools. And then there’s every other school. There are hundreds of universities in the United States. Most, we would argue, simply aren’t worth the investment for students from India — or from any nation for that matter.


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  • Shivani says:

    Yes I’m planning any wishing an Ivy League education for my children

  • Shivani says:

    I’m trying for an Ivy League education for my children

  • Nilesj says:

    Yes, I m planning for IVY League education for my son.

  • Pankaj Kaprwan says:

    I am from India and sent both of my children to Purdue. It is a fantastic school, both of my sons received outstanding engineering educations and their degrees are very well respected here in Hyderabad. They are working alongside people who attended far more expensive American colleges. I completely recommend Purdue without any hesitation.

    • sharmeela says:

      How did they prepare for their admission to Purdue, did they take up any summer programme to make their application stronger. My son wants to do Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering in Purdue. Would appreciate any guidance.

  • Steve says:

    True, Purdue is not considered an Ivy league school, but according to US News & World Report, out of 209 schools ranked for engineering and offering doctorates, Purdue ranks 9th in the nation. If we broaden the ranking to overall rankings of all colleges, then out of 1,921 schools listed, Purdue ranks 57th, placing it in the top 5% of schools in the US. This article makes it sound as if attending Purdue, is not worth the money because it won’t result in a good return on investment.

    If I went one step further out on engineering alone, and looked at international ranking through US News & World Report, the numbers might be even more telling. For instance, Harvard ranks 36th for engineering on the international rankings list, while Purdue comes in at 44th, and the first ranking school is Tsinghua University, beating out the highest ranking US engineering college at MIT by 2 places.

    However, if you were to look at the starting salary average for engineers at MIT, $88,900, compared to the 4 year tuition room and board(TR&B) cost of $249,000, and compare this to Harvard engineers who average a starting salary of $82,000 compared with $254,000, and to Purdue, whose engineers start lower on average at $70,900, but whose TR&B is only $92,300, the return on investment starts looking substantially better, even if you make a bit less money. In fact, annual ROI for a Purdue engineer, compared with someone who skipped college and went straight to work is 10.2%, compared to 8.5% for MIT and 7.2% for Harvard. Over 20 years, The MIT grad will certainly make more money, on average, than the Purdue graduate, at $1,015,000 more than the High school grad, compared to $557,000, with Harvard in-between, at $760,000, but Purdue is certainly a viable school worth looking into.

    For comparison, the highest ranking Indian college for engineering is the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, which ranks 111th for engineering. The 4 year tuition, room and board there is roughly $16,500, and the average starting pay for graduates is around $16,000.

  • Viswajeeet Balaji says:

    Purdue grad here. Purdue is easily one of the best schools in America, very well respected. I have had the privilege of working with students from several universities and Purdue students always stand apart. This article states that Purdue isn’t one of the elite institutions but that seems to stem from misinformed prejudiced opinions. It offers the best return of investment for any college in United States.

    • PurdueEng says:


      Speaking as a Purdue grad, it is an “ivy league” education. . .for engineers. The salary and ROI is quite attractive. I paid a total of $60k for tuition room and board. My salary plus bonus 15 years after graduation is above $200k. My advice is make sure you’re picking the best school for your expected major. Also, how you use your degree is just as important and where you got it from.

      Purdue Engineer c/o 2005

  • Karthik says:

    Between Duke & Purdue Master of Engineering Management Programs, is it really worth paying extra to attend Duke? (total expense $85k vs $58k)

    I have been a Design engineer (4 years) at an engineering firm and wish to switch functions to marketing and sales or operations at other (not bound to this) engineering firms.

    So which one would be a better pick?

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Duke vs. Purdue? Hands down: Duke.

      • Dr. Heyro says:

        Hands down? Eh… Duke is a great institution and if you have unlimited monetary resources, sure – choose Duke. The education you receive at Purdue will be on par with Duke, but sadly the name of your university matters more than your learning. That being said, Purdue had a great reputation and you will have no issues landing a great job and then the advancement is up to you. Purdue is by far the better value and you will get an education as good as Duke.

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