Private Ivy League Schools- What is the Ivy League?

Private Ivy League Schools


A baby forces a square peg into a round hole and a man plants his eighth seed, failing to get growth from the first seven. The will to learn is inside us all and it is only natural. Aristotle could not have said it more in poetic fashion. Here, let’s know about the Private Ivy League Schools.

Every parent would want the best education for their child or children. It is a passing legacy to the next generation that will carry the torch of family glory. Not all families, though, have this flaming family glory. Not even the middle class. It is the elite families of American society.

And it has been so for years. The passage into an Ivy League school is hard enough as it is. The maintenance to stay in one of these is costly enough where the gates open to those who can. With good fortune, all colleges and universities are not blind. Each has a facility to help students with their financial problems.

The Ivy League does not give scholarships on a merit basis. They do provide aid for accepted students. A student can find whichever means to enter any of the members of the Ivy League. Education is a right, not a privilege, anyway. 

But what do we know about the Ivy League? If it has a price that much, do they have the educational foundation that makes every student excel? Or are the incoming freshmen already are top-notch in their high school?

The movies portray them with their old structures, manicured lawns, and libraries. Movie producers and directors, even the cast, all like them a lot. They exude the great past of America. The decades of gallantry against a colonial empire. The seen and unseen influences through our history. There are many other reasons why the movie industry loves them.

What is the Ivy League?

It is a group of colleges and universities in the USA that are selective in the admittance of students. Being so, these institutions have become so prestigious in their name and reputation. They will only accept the best and mold into them the alma mater qualities in their graduates. 

There are eight of them, all, except one, started in the colonial years. The league was to develop the athletic excellence of students in northeastern America. That was the primary consideration of the group. The name was already in long use before its official adoption in 1954. Today, it has earned the nickname, the “Ancient Eight.”

Why the name Ivy League?

The ivy is a plant that is a crawler that can reach 80 feet high. There are nine types of ivies all over the world, but only one of them is of mild toxicity. The popular poison ivy is not an ivy at all but looks like one.

A league is a group assembled to achieve a purpose. That group may be social, political, professional, academic, or has athletic nature. Samples of these would be a student league, a league of dentists, or a football league.

So, an ivy league is an association of vines? A terrible deduction it is but it is in a way. Despite that, there is a deeper meaning than one from a simpleton.

In Pennsylvania in 1850, they started a tradition of planting ivies in school. Ivy Day got instituted in due time and Princeton, in 1879, adopted the practice. The ivy name stuck. But why league?

Two theories float about this. The one with the most agreement among historians is Caswell Adams. In 1937, Caswell wrote in an upset manner about the “ivy-covered” universities. This led him to name the group the “Ivy League”.

Another theory is when four of the eight schools held a conference of sorts. The group named it the Four League but written in Roman numerals, IV League. People, by instinct, read it as I-V, and not Four. People can read with ease in English rather than Roman numerals in this modern era.

Who Belongs to the Ivy League?

The following college and universities belong to the official Ivy League. They are, in no way, appear in a particular or preferred order.

1) Columbia University

By the royal charter of George II of Great Britain, the King’s College was born in 1754 in New York. It is the oldest academic institution for higher learning in New York and the fifth in the USA. The presence of Princeton across the Hudson River sparked the interest of men. The men in New York want to have their university; though it took them decades to do so.

It has five locations in New York but also has Global Centers under its name in nine different countries. It has an average undergraduate enrollment of over 8,000. That is in the student population and they have 31 sports teams. This is a private research institution at the core if I must remind you.

Columbia University is in the Division One of the NCAA. As a  representative for the Ivy League, the university has an NCAA record of 2-4 for its current standing. It has also garnered 38 Olympic medals through its past and present students.

2) Brown University

Two years before its founding, a Baptist monk from Britain popped the idea of a Baptist school. It met with ridicule, but the idea soon fell into some sound minds. College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. That was the original name of the school in 1754.

It is the first name of the current Brown University of today. The school is one of the founding members of the Ivy League. It is also a Division One school of the NCAA, which has a membership of 350 schools alone. It has the lowest NCAA bid in all the Ivy League. The school could represent the Ivy League only twice and with a record of 0-2.

Brown University is a private, nonprofit university. It has an area of 143 acres for a student population of over 8,500 and 37 varsity teams. It is a sprawling campus of buildings and open areas for sports and personal ruminations.

3) Yale University

Found with the power of the state assembly’s edict in 1701 to “Erect a Collegiate School”. That was the essence but with not even a formal name to continued until 1718. That was the year Mr. Elihu Yale donated to the school, becoming its first benefactor. He was a wealthy merchant of British origins. The school, with promptness, changed its name to Yale College.

During the American Revolution, the school militia helped in their patriotic duties. They deterred British forces from docking into New Hampshire. Hence cementing their role into the American identity. 

With over 12,000 students on campus, it is one of the most spacious universities in the Ivy League. On a campus of over 1,000 acres, it is a respect-deserving school to come up with illustrious graduates.

Yale University is in the Division One of the NCAA. It has a record of one win and five losses in its entire history for an NCAA title. To compensate for such measly performance, Yale has the top rank among the Ivy League schools. It has 110 medals total from the Olympic Games, 52 of which are gold.

4) Cornell University

Instilled with the insight that was novel for the time, Ezra Cornell found the school in 1865. An institution where any one person can learn any field of study. And make an impact by the contribution to all branches of knowledge. That was what Ezra Cornell dreamt for. It was something nobody heard of yet from any school for the time.

Before the pandemic, the university had over 3,000 new enrollees in its 4,800 acres of rural campus. Aside from its Ithaca campus, the university also has a campus in New York City and Qatar. The class of 2023 is a testament to the university’s founder, Ezra Cornell, for diversity. The class has students that come from over three dozen other countries, excluding the USA.

Ranked 19th in all colleges in the USA, Cornell University hauled in Olympic medals that total to 63. The winning athletes from Cornell were active students or alumni athletes. The university classification in the NCAA is in Division One.  

5) Harvard University

Established in the year 1636 without ever a name in Massachusetts. But the governor and his company of state legislators went ahead. John Harvard came from England to become its first benefactor with 400 books and half his estate. A year after, the university had a name.

This is one university that produced a string of graduates that stepped into the Oval Office. The university only has 209 acres of an urban campus. It is to accommodate a thriving student population back in the current years. 

Compared to other Ivy League universities, Harvard has about 28 libraries. This may contribute to a crowded place. But is not. There are several open spaces for leisure or study as well. For games and athletic, a provision for spaces had long been in place. This has been long planned for athlete-students and implemented many decades ago.

Harvard has 110 medals in the Olympic games so far, next only to Yale among the Ivy League. This ranks the school at #10 among all schools in the USA. An NCAA Division One, Harvard has a record of 2-6 in trying to get an NCAA title.

6) University of Pennsylvania

To build a charity school that would serve also as a place of worship. That was the driving idea that the University of Pennsylvania came forth to be. This was in 1740 while the construction of the main building plodded along.  By some mistake, it became clear there were not enough resources to continue. 

The project got put on hold that took a decade to move again with the inspiration of somebody. Benjamin Franklin gathered 24 trustees he knew in person. His purpose for the group was to make a learning institute for higher education for the youth. 

The new group started its mission with the buying of the stunted building. Opened in 1751, the group gave its school a name that seem more descriptive than titular. The Academy and Charitable School in the Province of Pennsylvania. This later became the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university. 

UPenn is a Division One active member of the NCAA. Through its active players and alumni, the university has collected 76. It is the second Ivy League school with the most tries for an NCAA bid at 39, with a record of 13-26 so far.

7) Princeton University

Presbyterians built the College of New Jersey in 1746 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This would later become Princeton University. A training ground for ministers that follow the faith was the intention at first. This was when the school was located in Elizabeth, New Jersey yet. But their charter from the state legislature stated otherwise. It was to grant any person of any religious denomination entry to enroll.

Although the school adhered to the state, a deep Presbyterian influence still pervades. This influence still spread over the student down into the early 1900s. 

For the last academic year of 2020-21, it had an undergraduate population of 8,000 plus students.  With the pandemic, it is a presumption that most of the students went online. This is despite the expanse of a 600 plus acre of suburban campus.

All students research their home department from the first year already. This research activity extends to the senior year. The student collates and defends the thesis as the ticket to their graduation.

The university is in the Division One of the NCAA. Among the Ivy League, it has the most appearance for NCAA bid at 42 tries to date. Of the 42 tries, it has a 13-29 win-loss record in all its history.

8) Dartmouth College (New Hampshire)

The school had its roots in Eleazar Wheelock. He had success in teaching the ministry to a local Indian, Samson Occom. This inspired the pious Wheelock to the idea of a school for the local Indians in the land and the English Youth. 

The governor of the state signed the charter, and they found the college in 1769. Governor John Wentworth donated 269 acres of land. That land has the mark of beauty for the college until today. Being one of the purposes of the college, there is still low enrollment of American Indians. There are constant efforts done to have this number increase.

Among the Ivy League schools, Dartmouth has the most impressive record in the NCAA. Its men’s basketball has a record of 10-7. The school even reached the finals of the game, where they were at the lower end to Utah in 1944. It was the year World War 2 had ended. There were only eight teams that could take part then.

Who Much Do They Cost?

In simplification, some colleges and universities may be private or government. The lower colleges would have tuition of around $26,000 on average. There is also the middle costing institutions that run to $36,000. All there are before infusing financial aid.

The most expensive among these are the members of the Ivy League. Ivy League itself has its strata of cheapest to most expensive. The data gathered is from the last academic year of 2020-21. further

Before we go into the numbers, there are two types that a student must expect. These are tuition and the cost of attendance. Tuition payment is direct to the school for instructions of the course selected. 

The cost of attendance has many faces. It includes rent, food, books, library fees, internet charges, and others. This varies from one student to the next, especially when lifestyle is in focus. This will further widen the gap between students if rent is in-campus or off-campus. The average cost of attendance for in-campus during the 2020-21 year is at $79,000 for Ivy League.

Ivy League tuition fees for 2020-21 on average for all 8 members is at $56,000 plus. The lowest is Harvard and the highest is Columbia. Despite the cost, these universities have financial aid to help students. Some students may graduate without having to pay back any money at all.

This is because the Ivy League are all private and nonprofit academic institutions. Many of these schools started with endowments from rich benefactors. If you get to pass and enter college through the Ivy League, you are lucky to be one of the 9% that did. 

The Famous Graduates From The Ivy League

The list of Ivy League universities above comes in no particular order. The list in this section follows the same format. These graduates may be into cinema, authorship, politician, and even entrepreneur.

  • Meryl Streep, YALE, Master of Fine Arts, Actress, Producer, and others. Show business did not hinder her from seeking things she wanted to have other than what she already did. She was able to get an MFA (Master’s degree). This is rarely done by any actor or actress whether it be European, Asian, or of any other origin. 
  • Jeffrey ‘Jeff’ Bezos, PRINCETON ‘86, Businessman, Entrepreneur, Computer Engineer. Before his fate turned, he worked on Wall Street in a variety of fields. In 1994, he started Amazon as an online bookstore and catapulted from thereon. It is today the biggest online company in as many aspects as it has entered.
  • Barack Hussein Obama II; COLUMBIA ‘83, HARVARD Law ‘91; Politician, USA President. After Harvard, he busied himself with civil rights in his legal capacity. He also shared what he knew as a constitutional law teacher at the University of Chicago Law School. He served for 7 years as a representative of a district of Illinois. Fate then chased him after that to become the American president.
  • John F. Kennedy, HARVARD ‘40. Politician, USA 35th President. Born with influential parents, John had early exposure to politics. He served as his father’s secretary, who served as the ambassador to Great Britain. He also served as an enlisted man in World War 2. He became a congressman at 29, serving for three terms. His life and political career ended after  his assassination in Dallas in 1963.  
  • Robert Frost, DARTMOUTH, DARTMOUTH, and HARVARD. Poet, 4 Pulitzer Prizes. A prolific poet, Robert was born in San Francisco. The family has roots in New England, where he returned after his father’s death. In his early years as a poet, the place was his source of inspiration. He also married his co-valedictorian in high school. He lived up to the age of 88 as one of America’s influential poets. 
  • Jodie Foster, YALE (completed), Actress and Producer. A popular superstar since childhood.  She was a graduate of literature at Yale with Magna cum Laude honors. She had 2 Oscar wins and 2 Oscar nominations aside from 59 other wins in other film awards. She won awards for her role in The Silence of the Lambs, along with Anthony Hopkins.
  • Mark Zuckerberg, HARVARD ‘04, Entrepreneur. The controversial founder of Facebook is worth over a centi-billion US dollars today. That makes him one of the few people in the world of more than 7 billion people to earn that sum of money. That is money one can spend in several lifetimes, if given the chance.
  • Elon Musk, UPenn ‘97, Entrepreneur, Manufacturer. A leader of new technologies and innovations. The man adopted the name of Nicola Tesla for his automotive venture. This venture into the use of sustainable energies is one among the many. Along with Jeff Bezos, he is a centi-billionaire.

Is There An Alternative to the Ivy League?

With over 5000 colleges and universities, there are thousands of alternatives. To start, there are many schools chartered the same way as the Ivy League did. These are private and non-profit institutions in their charter. The exception is the fifth university under private universities. It is not non-profit. 

There are also excellent public universities that produce top-caliber graduates. Their tuitions are far below that of a private school.

*Private Universities

  • Stanford University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
  • University of Chicago
  • Northwestern University

*Public Universities

  • University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Florida
  • Georgia Institute of Technology

Public universities have significant tuition and cost of attendance fees expenses combined. It is, in approximation, about one-third less than the tuition only for any Ivy League school. Last on the list would be community colleges. This is for those that can not afford even public institutions.


There is no correlation that money is the key to success in this world. It is not and has never been a proven basis that money or inheritance will make the person very successful.

There are even many that rose from the prison of their quagmire. Then to elevate themselves from the mud they have been in all their lives. They never needed the money to back them up. Their family never even had the money to back them up.

What is a successful person? Does that make him or her the way we think a successful person should be? What is a success, anyway? 

He may be the son of the president, then he becomes the president. Does that make him successful? Was he able to do anything for the country at all other than make a business out of it? Who among them anyway was ever a representative of the people. 

If it is the representation of the people while sitting on the highest rung of the land, nobody is more likely to come into mind other than the man with a 3-letter first name in familiarity and a beard to come with that.

There was also somebody that came into the crowd. Everyone, in the sizable audience, was conscious of being a true and dominant race. He came from no Ivy League, and he was black. But he did his sport like what he had in mind. The world saw him, and the jackals on the side could do nothing.

In a sense, success may be the fulfillment of a desire. That desire may be in the form of knowledge. That knowledge is in books at schools of learning.

Private Ivy League Schools- What is the Ivy League?

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