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A Comprehensive Guide through the Ivy League Admission Process


Table of Contents:


Stats and Facts about Ivy League Schools

Admission requirements

Admission Tips and Tricks




Attending grad school at an Ivy League university is an unparalleled experience. It means getting in touch with the top-notch scholars you may have just heard about as an undergrad, interacting with Nobel prize winners, and having access to a conspicuous amount of academic and financial resources to enrich your research. This seems wonderful. However, remember that to be able to get admission in one of these schools you will need to work very hard and be prepared to compete with other outstanding applicants. No matter if you are at the beginning of this journey, or if you are already close to completing it, this article will offer you some valuable help to guide you through the Ivy League admission process.

Stats and Facts about Ivy League Schools

Before we dig deeper into the admission process, it may be helpful for some of you to have an overview on the key stats about Ivy League schools. Let’s begin!

1. The main characters: The Ivy League is a group of eight prestigious universities: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

2. Acceptance Rates: Every Ivy League program (from college to postdoc) is highly selective. This also applies to graduate school programs, where acceptance rates are often below 10%.

3. Distinguished Alumni: As already mentioned in the introduction, attending an Ivy League school will give you the opportunity to connect with notable scholars and global leaders. The alumni of these schools often include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and members of renowned international organizations.

4. Financial Support: The commitment behind most Ivy League programs is that every talented student should be able to afford quality formation. To make this vision a reality, Ivy League institutions are engaged in providing generous financial aid schemes, so that students from different socioeconomic backgrounds can afford a top-notch education.

Admission Requirements

Ivy League universities are known to have high selection criterias when it comes to admitting graduate school candidates. It is always important to check each of the requirements of your dream program, as these may vary depending on the university, the faculty, or even on the year in which you are applying. Having said this, here you can find some overall prerequisites that Ivy League admission committees will look for:

1. Grades Matter: Grad school applicants are expected to have an impeccable undergraduate record. A competitive GPA for these programs is often above 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. Although this may sound quite hard to achieve, remember that progress over time is also highly valued. So don’t be afraid to apply if you started your undergrad studies as an average student and managed to achieve excellence as you went through college.

2. Strong GRE/GMAT Scores: The majority of programs require applicants to take the GRE or GMAT tests and submit their scores. Even in the case that these exams are optional for your dream school, sharing competitive scores will make you a stronger candidate.

3. Memorable Letters of Recommendation: When it comes to asking for letters of recommendation, don’t be afraid to reach out to professors and experts that you can connect with. This means also contacting the faculty members in your dream school. Although there are chances that they won’t answer your email, you should definitely try to share your passion and academic interests with them.

4. Statement of Purpose and CV: Your goal when writing these documents should be to select only the experiences that are qualitatively relevant to your desired field of study. Even if there is no exact rule to predict whether your activities will impress the admission committee, my advice is to be honest with yourself, to think about your life holistically and extract meaning from your most relevant academic and personal experiences.

Admission Tips and Tricks

It’s time to consider some strategies you can use to maximize your chances of admission:

1. Start Early: Begin well before the deadline. For example, I started around one year in advance and in this way I am able to prepare all my documents with no rush, plus I can still participate in meaningful experiences that I can discuss in my application.

2. Customize Your Application: The more a school is selective, the more you will need to customize your application to make it unique. For example, this means that you should identify the Ivy League faculty members that resonate with your research interests, and refer to their work in your statement of purpose.

3. Networking is never enough: Connecting with people and expanding your network can lead you to many meaningful experiences. It can be hard and a bit intimidating to reach out to professors and experts and ask to have a conversation with them, but this is truly one of the determinants for getting admitted.


Admission to Ivy League graduate programs demands dedication, preparation, and a genuine passion for your chosen field. In this article I have provided you some insight that can help to improve your application and increase your admission chances. I hope you will find it useful, and if you have any question, suggestion, or simply would like to get in touch with me, just leave a comment below. Good luck!

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