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What are the Ivy Plus Schools?

Earning an Ivy education doesn’t always mean attending one of the eight Ivy League schools. There are other alternatives, such as the Hidden Ivies, Little Ivies, and Ivy Plus schools. Universities like these are often less well known, but offer a rigorous curriculum that could rival any Ivy League. In this article, we’ll take a look at what colleges and universities make up the Ivy Plus list. Keep in mind that an “official” Ivy Plus list does not exist. Therefore, the schools we profile are known for their rigorous academics and low acceptance rates. Let’s get started!

Overview of Ivy Plus Schools

Continuing your education is a big step, and it’s always good to know all your options. Ivy Plus schools are ranked quite highly for academics, but they can also be a way for you to network for your future career. Some are also research universities, which means an area of research is their core focus. 

Ivy Plus schools are predominantly in northern states, though some are located in California. Take note that the original eight Ivy Leagues schools are all located in the Northeast, corresponding to the fact that they were among the first colleges in the country. The following list is in alphabetical order, and includes location, acceptance rates, and the most popular majors. We also link to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard website for further research on each school. 

California Institute of Technology

  • Location: Pasadena, California
  • Acceptance rate: 7%
  • Most popular field of study: Computer science 

Duke University

  • Location: Durham, North Carolina
  • Acceptance rate: 8%
  • Most popular field of study: Computer science 

Johns Hopkins University

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Acceptance rate: 11%
  • Most popular field of study: Public health 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts 
  • Acceptance rate: 7%
  • Most popular field of study: Computer science 

Northwestern University 

  • Location: Evanston, Illinois 
  • Acceptance rate: 9%
  • Most popular field of study: Economics

Stanford University 

  • Location: Stanford, California
  • Acceptance rate: 5%
  • Most popular field of study: Computer science 

University of Chicago 

  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Acceptance rate: 7%
  • Most popular field of study: Economics

Washington University

  • Location: Saint Louis, Missouri 
  • Acceptance rate: 16%
  • Most popular field of study: Computer science and Research and Experimental Psychology

Supplemental essay guides for the Ivy Plus schools

California Institute of TechnologyDuke UniversityJohns Hopkins UniversityMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Northwestern UniversityStanford UniversityUniversity of ChicagoWashington University 

Advantages of attending a Ivy Plus School

Worthwhile education

At any “Ivy” college, there is an emphasis on education, which can result in a rigorous curriculum and a busy schedule. Fortunately, you’ll be receiving the education that you deserve and much more! All of the Ivy Plus schools are private research colleges with computer science and economics being popular choices of study. This is good news since a degree from any of these colleges will be sought after once you graduate.

Multiple avenues of funding

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to fund your education at any of the Ivy Plus schools that can make your college experience affordable. Some of these universities offer merit-based scholarships, which isn’t a common option for Ivy League colleges. However, you should still consider applying for all the grants and need-based aid that’s available. 

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Disadvantages of attending a Ivy Plus School

Lower acceptance rates

Similarly to Ivy Leagues, Ivy Plus schools feature low acceptance rates, but high graduation rates. This means that it’s going to be more difficult to get into these colleges, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Interested candidates should be sure to make their application stand out with supplemental essays and extracurricular activities. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality as well as your grades because the admissions faculty wants to get to know their future students. 

Is an Ivy Plus School right for me?

Deciding which college you want to attend can be both a stressful and exciting process. Ideally, applicants should choose schools according to their desired degree or career. Even though computer science and economics are quite popular amongst the Ivy Plus colleges, there are still a variety of options that are highly respected in the workforce. 

Try to remember that “Ivy” is just a name, and you should make the best decision for you and your personal goals. There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing a college from financial aid to location, so weigh your options carefully. 

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Tips for applying to an Ivy Plus School

It’s important to take your application process seriously, and that starts even before you submit it to the college of your choice. SAT/ACTs are a major factor in the admissions process since these schools  rely on academic achievement for admission. Taking your admission tests as soon as possible offers you an opportunity to take tests multiple times to improve your scores. Applicants should also try to diversify their application by getting involved in extracurricular activities and volunteering in their communities