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Top 10 US Universities that aren't in the Ivy League

16 AUG 2021

The Ivy League is known worldwide for its prestigious universities. Still, plenty of non-Ivy League schools in the US offer the same high-caliber education and resources.

The United States is home to more colleges and universities than almost any other country in the world, with nearly 4,000 degree-granting institutions recognized by the US Department of Education. There is no shortage of higher education opportunities in the US — meaning the competition amongst universities to attract students is fierce!

To help you understand just how far the United States’ elite education system expands, we’ve compiled a list of 10 top US universities that aren’t in the Ivy League. Their classes are just as challenging, professors just as distinguished, academic and extracurriculars just as sought-after, and acceptance rates just as competitive (in some cases, even more competitive!)

Here’s our list of the 10 best non-Ivy League Schools in the US. Read on to learn more about all of them!

10. Washington University in St. Louis

9. Rice University

8. Vanderbilt University

7. Duke University

6. Northwestern University

5. Johns Hopkins University

4. California Institute of Technology

3. University of Chicago

2. Stanford University

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Download our free eBook to learn more about how you can get into one of these top 10 non-Ivy League Schools!

Top 10 Nonivy Schools


10. Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University at St Louis is the 10th best non Ivy league school

Washington University Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
1610513%7.8229120%

Washington University in St. Louis is a medium-sized university founded in 1853. Four of its seven schools serve undergraduate students: the College of Arts & Science, Olin Business School, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, and McKelvey School of Engineering. Washington University is also one of the most beautiful campuses in the US.


Calculate your chances of admission at Washington University in St. Louis with our College Admissions Calculator


9. Rice University

Houston, Texas

rice university is the 8th best non ivy league school

Rice Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
16899.3%3,9897424%

Rice University is a private research university located in Houston, Texas. It has eight schools including its unique institute for Public Policy, a non-partisan think tank offering coursework, internships, and lectures.

Learn more about how Crimson student Oliver got into Rice University.


Calculate your chances of admission at Rice University with our College Admissions Calculator


8. Vanderbilt University

Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University is the 8th best non ivy league school

Vanderbilt Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
141876.7%7,0577010%

Vanderbilt University is a private university in Nashville, Tennessee. Its 10 schools offer undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development, and graduate programs in medicine, law, management, and more.

Read Crimson student Grace’s personal statement for Vanderbilt University.


Calculate your chances of admission at Vanderbilt University with our College Admissions Calculator


7. Duke University

Durham, North Carolina

Duke is the 7th best non ivy league school

Duke Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
12425.8%6,5425321%

Duke was founded in 1838 and is located in Durham, North Carolina, a midsize suburban city on the east coast of the US. It is one of the wealthiest private universities in the world and is well regarded for its Business, Engineering, and Public Policy schools.

The Essay that got Crimson Student Alanna into Duke


Calculate your chances of admission at Duke University with our College Admissions Calculator


6. Northwestern University

Evanston & Chicago, Illinois

Northwestern is the 6th best non ivy league school

Northwestern Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
9 (tie)296.8%8,3729017%

Northwestern was founded in 1851 and its two campuses are located along Lake Michigan in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois. The university is deeply interdisciplinary, with twelve different schools (nine of which offer undergraduate programs) ranging from Communication to Engineering to Education & Social Policy and much more.

The Essay That Got Me Into Northwestern


Calculate your chances of admission at Northwestern University with our College Admissions Calculator


5. Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins is the 5th best non Ivy League School

Johns Hopkins Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
9 (tie)257.4%6,2565219%

Johns Hopkins was founded in 1876 and has four campuses located in and around Baltimore, Maryland. It also has campuses for its School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC; Bologna, Italy; and Nanjing, China.

A Day in the Life: Johns Hopkins Student


Calculate your chances of admission at Johns Hopkins University with our College Admissions Calculator


4. California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, California

Caltech is the 4th best non Ivy League School

CalTech Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
946.4%901288%

CalTech was founded in 1891 and is located in Pasadena, California, about 10 miles north of Los Angeles. The institute is known for its academic excellence in science and engineering, receiving grants from the likes of NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read more about Zhong’s story about college life, the academic rigour of studying at Caltech and career opportunities in Silicon Valley.


Calculate your chances of admission at Caltech with our College Admissions Calculator


3. University of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

University of Chicago is the 3rd best non Ivy League School

UChicago Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
696.7%6,3065213%

University of Chicago was founded in 1890 and is located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. There are 91 Nobel Prize winners from UChicago, including 6 current faculty; and former US President Barack Obama taught at its law school for 12 years!

Learn more about how Crimson student Sylvia got into her dream university: University of Chicago.

A Day in the Life: UChicago Student


Calculate your chances of admission at University of Chicago with our College Admissions Calculator


2. Stanford University

Palo Alto, California

Stanford is the 2nd best non Ivy League school in the world

Stanford Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
625.2%6,3665824%

Stanford was founded in 1885 and is located in Palo Alto, California, about 30 miles south of San Francisco. The university houses seven schools: Business, Education, Engineering, Humanities & Sciences, Law, Medicine, and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.

Read more about how Crimson student Fresh got accepted into Stanford University.

A Day in the Life: Stanford Student


Calculate your chances of admission at Stanford with our College Admissions Calculator

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

MIT the best non Ivy League schools

MIT Admission Stats
US News National RankingQS World University RankingAcceptance RateUndergraduate EnrollmentUndergraduate Fields of StudyPercentage of International Students
414%4,5305429%

MIT was founded in 1861 and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a stone’s throw from Boston. The university offers some of the best research facilities in the world, with nearly 90% of MIT students participating in its Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.

Learn more about how to get into MIT.

A Day in the Life: MIT Student


Calculate your chances of admission at MIT with our College Admissions Calculator


Find the right school for you

All of these schools boast incredible academic resources, student organizations and alumni networks that make them highly competitive for applicants all over the world. But this list is far from exhaustive! In fact, 45 of the top 100 universities in the world are located in the US — meaning the opportunities for a top-tier college education in the US are vast.

At Crimson, we help students identify their best-fit universities based on a variety of criteria including location, size, academics, student organizations and much more, to make sure you find a school that suits all of your unique priorities.

Because our teams work with students to find universities where they can truly thrive, our students are up to 4x more likely to gain admission to leading US universities! We’ve helped over 2,200 students across the globe gain admission to the Top 50 universities in the US. To learn more about how Crimson can help you explore all that the US has to offer for ambitious college applicants, visit our Admissions Support page or click the link below to schedule a free consultation with an Academic Advisor.

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