What Makes Ivy League Colleges so Special?

4 minutes read

Anyone who has learned the first thing about Western education is well-aware of the existence of the so-called Ivy League schools in the United States. These schools are supposed to be the pinnacle of modern, Western-style education, but getting into one of these schools is still considered a thing of prestige.

Ivy League- Princeton university image

Source: Flickr.com (Harshil Shah)

But what exactly makes these colleges so special and why is it a good idea to find your way into them, if in any way possible?

Why are they called that?

The eight colleges that make up the Ivy League include: Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Dartmouth University, Cornell University, Brown University and University of Pennsylvania. As you can see, all of the schools are located in the Northeastern United States and that is actually one of the reasons for this particular group of colleges sharing the name associated with Ivy.

Namely, these eight colleges were part of the collegiate athletic conference (NCAA Division I) which was established in 1954 and nicknamed Ivy League. The exact reasons as to why Ivy League are unknown, although there have been quite a few theories thrown around, about it.

While the origin of its name is still shrouded in secrecy, the fact is that these 8 colleges are among the oldest and most renowned colleges in the United States, often featured on the lists of the best universities in the world.

Facilities and Faculty

Among the things that make Ivy League schools what they are, we simply have to give credit to the facilities these universities feature and the people who teach there. Talking facilities, it is safe to say that these eight colleges are among the best equipped in the world. The tuition’s charged for enrolling these colleges, the endowment and alumni donations, all contribute to labs research facilities and amenities that most other colleges cannot dare to dream.

When it comes to the people who teach at these colleges, they are really “crème de la crème” as they say. It is an honor and a privilege to teach at these universities and they often feature Nobel Prize winners and other distinguished scientists providing top notch education to their students.

Alumni Networks

Ivy League alumni’s traditionally keep close ties after graduating from one of these schools. Thus, if one is looking for the most unique advantages of graduating from these schools, it’ll have to be an extremely influential alumni network.

In other words, once you graduate from any of these eight colleges, the doors open for you in your career. There will always be an Ivy League alumnus in a position of power somewhere, and it is safe to say that you will be getting the job over someone who has finished a college that is just as good as yours.

Ivy League alumni are often ridiculed for this, and many (especially financial) companies, have been falsely accused that they hire for the Ivy League appeal instead of for merit. Still, when you graduate from Ivy League, you are pretty much set for life.

Harvard Alumni image

Source: Flickr.com (U.S. Embassy New Delhi)

Comparing Ivy League to other Schools

One very important thing to remember is that there are several universities in the United States and many others in the world that have courses that are just as good and better than those you will find at these eight Ivy League schools.

There is not a single university in the world that does everything well, but you will often find that certain courses at Ivy League schools leave much to be desired.

In addition to this, it should be pointed out that Ivy League schools feature fantastically competitive university admissions processes; which ensures that only the brightest and the hardest working get in. For the troubles you go through finding your way to one of these colleges, you can easily get into a school that is just as good, if not better.

Closing Word

Ivy League universities are among the finest in the world. However, it is important to remember that much of it is prestige and that you can get education that is just as good at places that are nowhere near competitive and ruthless.

James D Burbank imageAbout the author: James D. Burbank has always been interested in the ways technology is changing our world, especially when it comes to education and business. If you have the time, check out his blog, BizzMarkBlog.

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