Apply to vetted scholarship programs in one clickAdvertiser disclosure
Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.
Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.
What Are the Hidden Ivies?
While you might be familiar with the term “Ivy League” when referring to certain colleges and universities, there’s a chance you might not know about the “Hidden Ivies.” These schools aren’t categorized as one of the eight Ivies, but tend to offer academic programs that rival an Ivy League education.
While all of the Hidden Ivies have stellar reputations, they are not as well-known as the eight Ivy Leagues. So, let’s get into the history of Hidden Ivies and uncover what they have to offer.
History of the Hidden Ivies
College counselors Howard and Matthew Greene wrote The Hidden Ivies to highlight some of the lesser-known schools when discussing prestigious universities. The authors came up with the term in the year 2000.
During that time, the list of Hidden Ivies has grown from a little over 20 to over 60 schools. The goal for creating this list of schools was to give students and parents “greater awareness of a distinctive cluster of colleges and universities of excellence that are available.”
Overview of the Hidden Ivies
A number of schools are dubbed Ivies, which most people think of as the eight schools in the Ivy League (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, etc.). There are also Public Ivies, Hidden Ivies, Ivy Plus schools, and also, Little Ivies, which are mostly private liberal arts colleges that don’t include graduate programs. Interestingly, all of the Little Ivies happen to be Hidden Ivies.
So, what schools are Hidden Ivies? Check out the list below to find out!
Advantages of attending a Hidden Ivy
Hidden Ivies have a lot of benefits for their attendees. Usually, these colleges have a smaller number of undergraduate students, which translates to smaller classroom sizes and better student-faculty ratios. This means students might have more opportunities to discuss their coursework with professors or get to know their peers a little bit easier.
Liberal arts college or research university?
Hidden Ivy schools offer various types of education, ranging from liberal arts colleges to research universities. Liberal arts institutions usually emphasize liberal arts and sciences, while research schools focus primarily on, you guessed it, research.
More affordable for some students
Hidden Ivies offer more opportunities for high achieving students to receive merit aid since the eight main Ivies don’t offer merit-based financial aid. Fortunately, this gives applicants more options for scholarships and tuition assistance.
Disadvantages of attending a Hidden Ivy
Students need more than grades
For some students, there are some drawbacks to attending a school classified as a Hidden Ivy. Any school that’s considered an Ivy tends to be more selective in the admissions process than other colleges.
Often, the acceptance rates are lower, and academics are highly valued. This means that while it’s important to keep your grades up, you need to do more to stand out in your major.
Is a Hidden Ivy right for me?
After reading this, you may be wondering how a Hidden Ivy might fit into your academic plans. While the schools listed above are considered a type of “Ivy,” you should choose your college based on your desired degree program along with a few other factors, such as campus life or location. Universities that are ranked highly in a major are usually well-respected in their specific field.
The Hidden Ivies are all different, so it will require some research to find the best fit for you. Check out each school’s website or read the supplemental essay guides on our website to find out what you need for your application.
Quick tips for applying to a Hidden Ivy
There are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to apply to a Hidden Ivy. For example, you should engage in volunteer work or other activities to diversify your application.
A majority of the applicants will have impressive grades, but schools pay attention to more than just academics. However, you should still try to maintain a high GPA and score well on your SAT and ACT.
Start your scholarship search
Frequently asked questions about the Hidden Ivies
How many Hidden Ivies are there?
Are Hidden Ivies hard to get into?
What’s the hardest Hidden Ivy to get into?