The Ivy League is a group of eight private institutions of higher education in North-eastern United States—Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale. These schools enjoy remarkable reputation for academic excellence. Ivy League schools are often viewed as some of the most prestigious universities, not only in the U.S., but at the global level.

The Ivy League originally started with an athletic conference in which the sports teams of the eight colleges competed. However, later it spread out of that shell and became a renowned group of universities. All eight schools receive millions of dollars in research grants and other subsidies from the federal and the state governments.

The league was formed in the 1940s. There is a story behind the term ‘Ivy'. It is a reference to the plants that climb all over many of the old campus buildings at each school. The term was inspired by a sarcastic comment from a sports writer assigned to cover a Columbia-Pennsylvania football game. When he received his assignment, he grumbled about "watching the ivy grow." Another reporter overheard the comment and dubbed the prestigious group of schools "the Ivy League." Though there is much in common among these universities, there are great differences as well. What follows is an indication of the possible comparisons.

The numbers given in the table is just an indication of the range.

These may vary from year to year. These universities are larger than the private liberal arts colleges, but smaller than public state universities. A degree from an Ivy League university enriches your resume. It will certainly enhance your acceptability both for admission to institutions of higher education and for job recruitment to reputed organisations.

Business schools

Out of the eight members of the Ivy League, six have business schools attached to them. Brown and Princeton do not have business schools.

University of Pennsylvania: The Wharton School

Dartmouth College: Tuck School of Business

Harvard University: Harvard Business School

Columbia University: Columbia Business School

Cornell University: S.C. Johnson Graduate School of Management

Yale University: Yale School of Management

All these business schools occupy top slots in most rankings, Wharton or Harvard usually coming at the very top.

Law schools

Ivy Law schools do appear high in the U.S. rankings, though all of them are not at the very top.

The Harvard Law School, the Yale Law School, and the Columbia Law School usually occupy top slots. Cornell Law School and Pennsylvania Law School also maintain fine quality in learning.

Applying for admission

A crucial decision in our life is often the choice of an academic programme and an institution for higher studies. It is natural that those who have excelled in high school want to continue to excel in college, so that they can realise their dreams and aspirations.

Very often it is not just the classrooms alone that determine the quality of education, but the people that you come across, the culture, the co-curricular activities, sports, and the environment in general. The Ivy League schools offer you fine opportunities in all these significant elements.

Careful planning, timely gathering of data, and meeting deadlines and strict compliance of instructions are essential in securing admission to programmes of our choice in our favourite school. Any mistake may shatter our chances.

Among other things, you will have to prepare a fine admission essay. It is essentially a convincingly written argument.

You should formulate and articulate it well. Why you want to join the programme and school of you choice should be brought out realistically. An Ivy application material that comes to you will have detailed instructions on what all should be submitted. Information about your background, family, interests, aptitude, and the area of study desired will have to be furnished.

Other important data to be covered are your academic history, examination scores, co-curricular activities, and teachers' recommendation.

The recommendation letter from your teacher should provide ample insight about what you are as well as what you can become through education and training.

You have to prove that you fall in line with the Ivy standards. Never be shy in spelling out your achievements, distinctions, and honours received.

Of course, they should have relevance in your studies in the school. It is risky to make false claims. Never blow your trumpets.

You may put a cover letter that sounds like a summary of the material you are submitting. You can stress your confidence that the school, which is your first choice, will help to realise your well-planned goals.

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