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Is Stanford Ivy League? Unravelling the Prestige Behind Stanford University

08/03/202417 minute read
Is Stanford Ivy League? Unravelling the Prestige Behind Stanford University

The Ivy League comprises eight universities in the US, known for their exclusivity, academic excellence, and challenging curriculum. While the Ivy League is esteemed globally, other non-Ivy League universities, such as Stanford, also hold their own prestige. In this article, we will delve into Stanford University's reputation, its position within the US, background, student life, and share insights on how one of our students secured successful admission.

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Understanding The Ivy League

Originating in 1933, the term “Ivy League” was coined by sports writer Stanley Woodward, who referred to these eight universities as “Ivy Colleges''. Over time, they were formally grouped together by athletic conferences leading to the establishment of the “Ivy League”. Initially renowned for their competitive sports programmes, this term has evolved and attracted various other associations since then.

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University are the eight Ivy League institutions each boasting their own prestige and exclusive admission rates. Remarkably, Harvard recorded the lowest admission rate for the 2023 cycle with 3.4% of its 56,937 applicants being accepted!

For many students, the Ivy League immediately comes to mind during the university search due to its prestige and excellence. However, it's crucial to recognise that there are also other universities worth considering, which, while not as widely known as the Ivy League schools, boast their own merits. In fact, the US is home to numerous world-class universities that may not enjoy the same level of fame. To provide a broader perspective, let's explore the top 20 universities in the US according to QS World University Rankings 2024. This will give us a broader view of excellent educational options beyond the famous Ivy League schools.

QS University Rankings: USA
QS Ranking (US only)University
1Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
2Harvard University
3Stanford University
4University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
5University of Chicago
6University of Pennsylvania
7Cornell University
8California Institute of Technology
9Yale University
10Princeton University
11Columbia University
12Johns Hopkins University
13University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
14University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
15New York University (NYU)
16Northwestern University
17Carnegie Mellon University
18Duke University
19University of Texas at Austin
20University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Navigate down the table for additional information.

In the rankings presented above, you'll notice that a few non-Ivy League schools secure top 10 positions. Despite being less renowned, these institutions may excel in various criteria like academic reputation, international research networks, and employer outcomes, all assessed by the QS World University Rankings. It's crucial to understand that rankings may not provide a comprehensive overview, given the distinct criteria of each ranking system. Therefore, we kindly suggest evaluating other factors when selecting your safety, target, and reach schools.

It's important to evaluate  your profile with a comprehensive perspective. Beyond focusing solely on the university's reputation, consider that some schools may specialise in specific programs more closely aligned with your academic goals, facilitating better overall growth.

In addition to academic considerations, factors like your personal interests, campus culture, available extracurricular activities, and potential career support services should also be given due weight in your decision-making process. Taking these aspects into account ensures a well-rounded evaluation, leading to a university choice that harmonises with your distinct needs and aspirations.

Stanford University stands out as an exceptional option for consideration. It's well-known for being excellent in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and it's always ranked among the best universities in the US. What's impressive is that Stanford is even more selective than most Ivy League schools, with only a 3.9% acceptance rate for the class of 2027.

Is Stanford an Ivy League school?

Stanford is not a member of the Ivy League, and this distinction arises from various factors. While Stanford is recognised as a prestigious university, it didn't have a robust athletics program during the Ivy League's formation. Moreover, the geographical distance presented practical challenges for participation in athletic conferences, as Stanford is situated on the West Coast, distinct from the primarily Northeastern location of Ivy League universities. Let's explore some differences between Stanford University and the Ivy League schools and discover what the former has to offer for aspiring students like you!

Comparing Stanford and the 8 Ivy League Schools
Feature Stanford UniversityBrown UniversityColumbia UniversityCornell UniversityDartmouth CollegeHarvard UniversityUniversity of PennsylvaniaPrinceton UniversityYale University
LocationStanford, CAProvidence, RINew York, NYIthaca, NY Hanover, NHCambridge, MAPhiladelphia, PAPrinceton, NJNew Haven, CT
Founding Year 188517641754186517691636174017461701
Campus Size (acres)8,180146362,3002695,000299600373
Notable ProgrammesSTEM, Entrepreneurship, HumanitiesOpen Curriculum, Liberal ArtsBusiness, Engineering Agriculture, Hotel Administration Liberal Arts, EngineeringBusiness, LawBusiness, Engineering Engineering, Social SciencesHumanities, Sciences
AthleticsStrong emphasis on athleticsNCAA Division I, Ivy LeagueNCAA Division I, Ivy LeagueNCAA Division I, Ivy LeagueNCAA Division I, Ivy LeagueNCAA Division I, Ivy LeagueNCAA Division I, Ivy LeagueNCAA Division I, Ivy LeagueNCAA Division I, Ivy League

Navigate down the table and scroll to the right for additional information.

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Stanford University Background

Established in 1885, Stanford is younger than the Ivy League institutions. The university was founded by California Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane Lathrop Stanford, in memory of their only child, Leland Junior.

At that time, Stanford was established to be unconventional: co-educational, nonsectarian, and affordable. Its mission is to cultivate graduates equipped for personal success and global impact, and it officially opened its doors in 1891 with 555 registered students.

Today, Stanford accommodates over 16,000 students, 2,100 faculty, and 1,800 postdoctoral scholars across seven schools and 18 interdisciplinary institutes. Some of the programmes offered include Computer Science, Economics, and Earth and Planetary Sciences from their newest school, the School of Sustainability. Stanford students are in elite company, with renowned alumni that include former Nike CEO Phil Knight, former US president Herbert Hoover, and Tiger Woods.

The Stanford Experience

Student Life

Offering a diverse array of housing options with a total of 81 undergraduate student residences and complemented by numerous dining halls, nearly all undergraduates opt for on-campus living during their academic journey. Residential education is integral to the Stanford experience, as it extends the classroom into their residences. The residential experience supports the academic curriculum by offering experiences vital for the development of leadership skills, intellectual engagement, and citizenship.

On campus, Stanford fosters a vibrant student life enriched by arts, culture, and athletics through the engagement of over 650 student groups. World-class art museums, public exhibitions, and interdisciplinary programs actively contribute to nurturing a greater appreciation for the arts. Additionally, the school's creative ecosystem relies on essential facilities such as its concert hall, amphitheatre, and underground studio cabaret.

Stanford is also committed to nurturing a culture of belongingness and well-being through athletics and recreation. Students benefit from world-class recreation and wellness programmes with a focus on lifelong well-being. Gymnasiums, climbing walls, and equipment rentals are all readily accessible. Students seeking to engage in competitive sports can also participate in Stanford’s 36 varsity sports and 43 club sports. Notably, the university has a remarkable athletic track record, boasting 128 national titles and 22 consecutive Learfield Sports Directors’ Cups.

Academic Excellence

Stanford provides an extensive range of academic opportunities with 66 majors available, spanning Anthropology, English, Chemistry, History, Linguistics, Public Policy, Political Science, and more. This diverse array empowers students to pursue their specific interests and engage in collaborative efforts to address complex global challenges. Plus, Stanford’s distinctive curriculum incorporates Introductory Seminars which are specially designed for freshmen and sophomores. This provides students with the opportunity to explore new disciplines without prior background, and establish connections with faculty mentors to expand their network.

Throughout their academic journey, students will also receive comprehensive academic guidance in areas such as professional pathways and research opportunities. Even after graduation, Stanford offers plenty of opportunities for professional development and lifelong learning with online courses and fellowships. Stanford’s student experience is simply unparalleled.

Success Story

Crimson Education proudly features a team of mentors, including former admissions officers, graduates, and faculty members from esteemed US universities like Stanford. With a track record of securing over 4,800 offers to the top 50 US universities, Crimson consistently strives to enhance each student's application.

Andrew, a student from Singapore, is among the many who have benefited from the Crimson network. Driven by a passion for liberal arts, he aspired to pursue an interdisciplinary curriculum in the US. However, navigating the complex application process presented a significant challenge. Seeking guidance, Andrew turned to Crimson. With the team's dedicated commitment, he received a personalised application strategy, comprehensive essay guidance, and research support. Through unwavering determination, Andrew successfully secured admission to his dream university, Stanford! This success story underscores how Crimson Education's dedicated mentorship can significantly impact students' academic journeys.

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Dreaming of studying at Stanford University?

With Crimson's comprehensive and personalized university admissions support, Crimson students are 3X more likely to gain admission to Stanford and 4X more likely to gain admission to an Ivy League university. Discover how Crimson can assist you today.