The United States has over 5,300 universities, and only eight of these are Ivy League institutions. The numbers say it all about how prestigious these universities are, which obviously makes them the hardest from the admissions perspective. The Ivy Leagues have an average acceptance rate of only around 9%, so you can well imagine how challenging it is to achieve the feat. Studying in these institutions offers unique advantages, from mentorship by the best professors to valuable networks of peers, excellent resources for student support, and access to innovative research opportunities.

It comes as no surprise that American and international students do their best to get into one of these coveted colleges. While there isn’t a perfect formula to make it, a combination of hard work, dedication, and strategic planning can get you a step closer. Additionally, knowing what it takes to get into each of the Ivy League institutions can give you a head start with your preparation. Let us explain the primary admissions factors for undergraduate courses for each of them in detail. Here is a list that we will cover across this series.

Brown University | Columbia University | Cornell University
Dartmouth University | Harvard University |University of Pennsylvania
Princeton University | Yale University


The overall acceptance rate to this reputed university is only 7.1%. It is acclaimed for its History, Economics, Computer Science, and English programs, while The Warren Alpert Medical School is one of the most revered names in the field of medical education.

School location: Providence, Rhode Island

University Ranking: 14th in the U.S.

Entry requirements: A GPA of 4.08 or higher is required to get admission in this extremely selective institution. Aspirants must aim for the 75th percentile, with a 35 ACT or a 1550 SAT to have the best chances of getting in. If you are an international student, you will also need to clear TOEFL or IELTS with recommended scores of 600 and 8.0 respectively.

Application procedure: If you qualify with the entry criteria, you can apply online through a common application process. Apart from the requisite test scores, you will need letters of recommendation and application essays. The process also includes interviews for prospective students. 

When To Apply: Nov 1 for Early Decision/ Jan 5 for Regular Decision*

% International students: 17.2 %

Salary expectations: $84,466 per year for graduates

Average tuition fees: $60,696 for undergraduates

On-campus accommodation: Available

Notable Alumni: John F. Kennedy Jr., John D. Rockefeller Jr., and CNN founder Ted Turner 


A hub for business and engineering education, Columbia University is one of the premier institutions that attract students from across the globe. Other popular programmes include Social Sciences, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services, and Visual and Performing Arts. The acceptance rate sits at a challenging 6%, which means that you need solid preparation to increase your chances.

School location: New York City

University Ranking: 3rd in the U.S

Entry requirements: You need a minimum GPA of 4.12 to make it into this acclaimed university. A score of 33-35 ACT or a 1480-1560 SAT is needed to get through. You will also have to qualify for English proficiency with a TOEFL score of 600 or an IELTS score of 7.0 and above.

Application procedure: International students can apply online through a common application process. Requirements include official educational transcripts, personal essays, and teacher recommendations, though they may vary from programme to programme. The Alumni Representative Committee of Columbia will also call you for an interview.

When To Apply: February 15 (Fall); October 1 (Spring)*

% International students: 16 %

Salary expectations: $85,134 per year for graduates

Average tuition fees: $61,671 for undergraduates

On-campus accommodation-: Available

Noted Alumni: Former President Barack Obama and John Jay, founding father and first Supreme Court Chief Justice

If you want to get entry into either of these Ivy League colleges, it is important to start preparing well in advance. There is a lot you will need to do, from preparing for the admission exams to gathering documents and fulfilling the visa requirements. Parents will have to get a step ahead with financial planning as well.

We will be covering more Ivy Leagues in the next parts of this series.

Stay tuned!

*tentative only kindly check the university website for the latest application deadlines

If you are considering studying abroad this year why don’t you discuss your opportunities with Lurnable’s study abroad education counselling division at LurnPathways?

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