These Universities Present a Challenge to Ivy League Schools

The hallowed halls of Ivy League institutions are revered for their academic rigor, exclusivity, and the longevity of their reputations. After all, many Ivies are some of the United States’ oldest universities.

While Ivy League schools maintain stellar reputations and are considered to be the epitome of higher education both in the United States and around the world, they do not stand alone. There are many schools in the United States that have the same reputation but are not considered to Ivy League.

In other words, there is more to life than Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

Here are a few of the challengers – each with a pristine reputation, exclusive admissions process, and incredible student opportunities:

1.   California Institute of Technology

Caltech is quickly becoming the premier destination for STEM subjects in the United States and around the world. The school isn’t Ivy League, but it was the top school in the world for five years from 2012 according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Caltech is dedicated to teaching pure science (and engineering) in small classes. How small are these classes? The acceptance rate is only 8% and there are only 979 undergraduates studying there.

2.   Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT isn’t an Ivy League school, and at this point, it’s unclear why.

If you’re a STEM student, then there’s no better place in the United States or the world (with the exception of Cal Tech) to study. MIT is more than a name; it offers students the opportunity to not only be taught by the world’s best researchers but to participate in researcher programs even at the undergraduate level.

3.   University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is known not only for academic rigor in obscure disciplines but also for the general quirkiness that can only be afforded to high-level institutions. From the bizarre admissions questions to the infamous ScavHunt, it’s the place for those who don’t fit the cookie cutter mold of traditional Ivies to thrive.

UChicago is the place to study economics in the United States. It’s home to 5,500 students and has an acceptance of rate of 7.9%, so it’s exclusive as they come. It just hasn’t been awarded the title of Ivy League.

Ivy institutions aren’t the be all and end all of the universities. In fact, they’re not even the top universities in the world and there are many other universities outside of the three listed here that are coming for their top spots.

Are you considering an alternative Ivy? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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