With record number of students applying to Ivy League schools you may wish to ask, WHY the Ivies?

With record number of students applying to Ivy League schools you may wish to ask, WHY the Ivies?


By Admissions Expert, Dr. Lowe

The annual cost to attend (tuition, fees, housing, food, books, misc.) gives pause to many potential applicants: Harvard: $76,479; Brown: $78,688; Princeton: $75,210; Dartmouth: $79,967. So, what’s really happening here? Tuition is rising, yet U.S. as well as international students are competitively applying to these schools. What do these institutions have that others may not? This is a question I hear, year after year, and from several parents in my recent webinar.  

Let’s start with the seemingly intangible characteristics:

  • The institutions have prestigious brands
  • They have global alumni networks
  • They maintain international connections on every continent.

And then there is more – money! Or in the non-profit lexicon, endowments (in 2020) for example: Harvard: $41.9 billion; Yale: $31.2 billion, Princeton: $25.9 billion, UPenn: $14.9 billion, Columbia: 41.0 billion, Cornell: $7.2 billion, Dartmouth: $6.0 billion, Brown: $4.7 billion. The Ivies have the financial assets to weather the COVID-19 tsunami and provide top-rate education without any drastic financial cuts.  

You might ask why this even matters. Far fewer than 1 percent of undergraduate students at American colleges and universities attend the Ivy League or similarly selective schools. But who gets into these institutions makes a difference for the United States, because their graduates are so overrepresented in our country’s Judicial Branch. Every current Supreme Court justice, save one, attended an Ivy League law school: Justice Alito (Yale), Justice Barrett (Notre Dame), Justice Breyer (Harvard), Justice Gorsuch (Harvard), Justice Kavanaugh (Yale), Justice Kagan (Harvard), Chief Justice Roberts (Harvard), Sotomayor (Yale) and Justice Thomas (Yale).

Several recent U.S. presidents including Donald Trump have been educated, at some point, at an Ivy League school — including Yale double legacy George W. Bush, Bill Clinton (Yale) and Barack Obama (Columbia and Harvard). More than 40 Harvard alumni — either undergrad or graduate — won seats in Congress in 2016. Newly appointed and current Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen Brown (Economics/AB) Yale Economics/PhD).

So why attend an Ivy League university? When you imagine the possibilities, the question should be…”Why not?

Each year, admissions policies and strategies change, so stay tuned for my upcoming, informative, helpful and thought-provoking admissions blogs!

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Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Greenwich Admissions Advisors and founder affiliates – Ivy League Admissions Advisors and Private School Admissions Advisors of the Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network.

Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive service for families and students who are interested in applying to top private schools, Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs. Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been wait-listed and rejected.

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