The Academic Elite

“A group of eight old, distinguished colleges and universities in the East, known for their ivy-covered brick buildings.”

– from

Brown University. Columbia University. Cornell University. Dartmouth College. Harvard University. Princeton University. University of Pennsylvania. Yale University.

For those seeking to pursue an education in some of the most prestigious universities in the United States, set their sights on these eight schools fondly referred to as The Ivy League.

How did the “Ivy League” get its name?

I’ve actually come upon two explanations for this question.

One states that the group coined its name from the ivy that grows in the eight universities’ brick buildings; while the other story stated that when an athletic league was formed by Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Princeton (the ‘Four League’), the Roman numeral ‘IV’ was used in the said league – which when spoken became ‘Ivy League.’

No matter the etymology of the said term, there are certain characteristics these eight academic institutions have in common that make them eight of the most esteemed universities in the country :

(*taken from Wikipedia)

All of the Ivy League institutions share some general characteristics :

(a) They are among the most prestigious and selective schools in the U.S., they consistently place close to the top of college and university rankings.

(b) They rank within the top one percent of the world’s academic institutions in terms of financial endowment.

(c) They attract top-tier students and faculty.

(d) They have relatively small undergraduate populations, ranging between 4,078 for Dartmouth College and 13,700 for Cornell University and modestly sized graduate student populations, ranging between 1,666 for Dartmouth and 14,692 for Columbia.

Also worthy of being noted down :

(a) Seven of the eight schools were founded during America’s colonial period with the exception of Cornell, which was founded in 1865. Ivy League institutions, therefore, account for seven of the nine colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

(b) The Ivies also are all located in the Northeast region of the United States and are privately owned and controlled.

(c) Although many of them receive funding from the federal or state governments to pursue research, only Cornell has state-supported academic units, termed statutory colleges, that are an integral part of the institution.

Though the term is being used rather loosely nowadays, to be a true Ivy Leaguer means being part of an academic institution which is known around the globe for its academic excellence, admission selectivity and academic elitism.


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Source by Nikki Alfonso