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How to get into an Ivy League School

Our guess is that you've heard of the Ivy League colleges before – that’s why you’re looking at information on how to get into one!

There are eight universities in the Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton, and University of Pennsylvania, each with their own offerings and specialities, yet all considered to be some of the world’s best institutions.

These prestigious Ivy League schools have produced countless number of tech geniuses, fortune 500 CEOs and young startup founders, including Crimson’s very own founder, Jamie Beaton, who graduated from Harvard!

While the Ivy League admissions process can be extremely difficult, once admitted the rewards are plentiful, exposing you to a world of opportunity you may never have imagined existed.

At the end of the day, that one word – opportunity – sums up the Ivy League difference.

As an Ivy League student, you gain access to an elite network of alumni, a higher starting salary, a feeding system into global companies, and an edge on all other graduates purely because you have an Ivy League name on your CV.

Crimson helps students get into top colleges and beyond.

It's no simple task - in order to even be considered for admission, every aspect of your application needs to be near perfect as the smallest error may mean the next candidate takes your spot.

Disclaimer: There is no formula or secret sauce to getting into top colleges. Crimson knows that everyone is different, and helps every student reach their own potential through bespoke service offerings.

But here's some help to get you started.

How to get into Harvard

Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard was founded in 1636 and was named after the college’s first benefactor, John Harvard, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. Sounds like a pretty decent guy, ol’ John Harvard.

Since its humble beginnings, Harvard has grown from an institution of nine students to one that now offers more than 20,000 students – undergraduate, graduate and professional – with world class degrees.

Harvard is the oldest tertiary education institution in the United States and arguably the most well known of all the Ivy League colleges – and for good reason.

Of all the Ivy Leagues, Harvard graduates have the highest average income with alumni earning approximately $87,000 USD in their first year, more than double the amount of the average college graduate. In fact, Harvard graduates make more money than graduates from any other university in the US (with the exception of MIT).

Last year, the three most popular degrees at Harvard were:

  • Economics
  • Government
  • Computer Science

The acceptance rate at Harvard for the class of 2021 was a slim 5.2%, the smallest of all the Ivy Leagues, so knowing how to stand out on your application is key to gaining admission.

How to get into Yale

Yale is one of the most recognizable and desirable colleges in the US and is also one of Harvard’s fiercest rivals in everything from sports to academics.

Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale was founded in 1701 and has over 300 years of tradition under its belt. The college has always been on the right side of history, too; in 1854 Yale awarded Chinese native, Yung Wing, with a BA, which made him the first Chinese man to earn a degree from an American university. Moreover, in 1876, Edward A. Bouchet, a New Haven native and Yale graduate, became the first African American to earn a PhD in America. Not a bad track record.

Like any Ivy League, Yale is pretty strict when it comes to admissions, with this year’s acceptance rate a low 6.9%. To gain admission, you’ll need more than just strong grades. Extracurriculars, interviews, and essays are all part of the admissions process, so you need to make sure you’re on top of your game when preparing your application. Getting into Yale.

The most popular degrees at Yale in 2016 were:

  • Economics
  • History
  • Political Science

No real surprises there!

How to get into Princeton

True to its Ivy League status, Princeton is ranked as the number one in the world by US News World Rankings and is one of the oldest colleges in the US, founded in 1746.

Located in Princeton, New Jersey (makes sense, right?), Princeton offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering. Many of Princeton’s programs rank in the top 10 worldwide, including Economics (6), Arts and Humanities (7), Mathematics (7), and Computer Science (8) among many others.

Princeton also offers popular degrees in policy making, public affairs and international relations at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, which is highly regarded.

The school’s most popular programs in 2016 were:

  • Economics
  • Woodrow Wilson School (policy making, analysis, and evaluation)
  • Computer Science

According to QS World University Rankings, Princeton is ranked number 10 in the world for Graduate Employability, so finding a job upon graduation won’t be an issue! After graduating from Princeton, the most common career pathways pursued by students were in the fields of Finance, Education/Health and Management Consulting, pretty standard stuff for an Ivy League, really.

With a degree from Princeton, a world of possibilities is opened up to you and understanding the nuances of the Princeton application process can be key to gaining admission!

Insight: To gain admission, Princeton likes you to have exceptionally strong academic grades!

Are you Ivy League material?