7 Ivy Leagues myths busted – Truth about Ivy League admissions

The Ivy League is a group of eight private research universities in the Northeastern United States. Isn’t admission to a prestigious Ivy League college always a dream for all? They are among the most selective and prestigious universities in the world. However, many myths exist about getting into an Ivy League school. 

Here are a few of the most common myths around ivy leagues, and the reality behind them:

Myth 1: If you were a top student and a high achiever in school, you would excel in Ivy League institutions, or you are a perfect fit for an Ivy League institution.


There are more than 20,000 high schools in the US and let us assume 5000 worldwide schools apply. The valedictorians of these schools(top rankers) will apply to the Ivy Leagues and the admission officers are not just looking at the students who excel academically. They are looking for well-rounded personalities who can fit into their culture. Ivy Leagues are not just looking at one’s academic performance but also the extracurriculars, internships, letters of recommendation from previous employers, teachers, or other people in a higher position as well as one’s sheer will and personality traits that match the prestige and magnitude of the college. 

Myth 2: Athletic ability is just one of the attributes that Ivy Leagues look for.


Athletes are treated differently than other recognized groups since they are a special instance. Varsity coaches have a big effect by giving the admissions office a list of recruited athletes who are often well-respected. This preference dwarfs those for minorities or inherited preferences. In a survey of 30 elite universities by James Shulman and William G. Bowen, the former president of Princeton, athletes were 48% more likely than candidates without a hook to get admitted. Athletic ability is just one of the many factors that Ivy League schools consider when making admissions decisions. Other factors include academic performance, extracurricular activities, personal qualities, and letters of recommendation. Ivy League schools are known for their academic excellence, and they want to admit students who are likely to succeed academically. They also want to admit students who are well-rounded and have a variety of interests and talents. Athletic ability can be a valuable asset, but it is not the only thing that matters.

Myth 3: To enroll in an Ivy League school, you must possess superhuman intellectual ability.


Ivy Leagues do not see it as their primary duty to produce the next generation of professors, scientists, and other intellectuals. Instead, they choose children who exhibit characteristics that make them appear to be most likely to belong to the “leaders,” as sociologist C. Wright Mills described it, as well as the “ruling class,” as Marxists and Ivy League presidents refer to it. In reality, a number of criteria are taken into consideration while assessing applicants, including extracurricular activities, physical fitness, and the enigmatic “personal” ranking. One of them is simple academic competence.

Myth 4: Attending Ivy League institutions is a necessity if you want to succeed in life or become famous. They are also the only colleges with the greatest facilities and career chances.


Not only Ivy League colleges possess enticing campuses, demanding academic standards, robust alumni networks, and other characteristics that make an Ivy League college desirable. So consider what first attracted you to Yale. You might be able to locate it at a different university. In actuality, a lot of well-known figures achieved success without enrolling in Ivy League institutions. In fact, a study by the Pew Research Center found that only 16% of millionaires in the United States graduated from an Ivy League school. The fact is that the Ivy League makes it easier for you to be recognized and find good opportunities due to its brand name and alumni circuit as well as the years of reputation of producing excellent professionals but that does not mean that every successful person belongs to the Ivy Leagues. It is very fairly possible to achieve success even after graduating from a non-Ivy League college if you are great at what you pursue and passionately work on it.

Myth 5: Enrolling in a summer program at a desired school can help with admissions at Ivy Leagues.


Participation in any other program or school has no bearing on the student’s ability to be admitted to any other program or school. There are several causes for this, to begin with, many of the programs provided at Ivy League institutions are farmed out to an outside organization rather than being delivered by the Ivy League campus itself. In other words, despite the fact that the course is given in a Yale classroom, neither Yale nor its admissions examiners are associated with the presenters or the course material. Ivy League schools are looking for students who are academically strong, well-rounded and have a passion for learning. They want to see that you are capable of succeeding at their school and that you will contribute to the diversity of the student body. If you are interested in attending an Ivy League school, the best thing you can do is to focus on your academics, get involved in extracurricular activities, and write strong college essays. If you are able to enroll in a summer program at a desired school, it can be a valuable experience. You will get to learn more about the school, meet other students who are interested in attending, and get a feel for campus life. However, it is important to remember that this is not a guarantee of admission.

Myth 6: The most selective colleges in the country are Ivy League institutions


While the Ivy League schools are some of the most selective colleges in the country, they are not the only ones. There are many other colleges that have acceptance rates below 10%. MIT and Stanford are not Ivy but getting admissions in these colleges is much harder than most Ivy Leagues with an acceptance rate of 7.4% at MIT and 4.8% at Stanford. Caltech has a very low acceptance rate of 5.9% as well and is regarded highly in academic stature. There are other small schools like Olin, that have an acceptance rate in single digits and it is equally tough to get in, if not more. These colleges are all highly selective and have rigorous admissions standards. They are looking for students who are academically strong, well-rounded, and have a passion for learning.

Myth 7: Giving your time and energy to benefit society is an important aspect that Ivy League universities give preference to while assessing applicants. Those who indulge in the acts of giving back to their communities and social services have a higher chance of getting admission to the Ivy League.


This is not entirely a myth. While Ivy League universities do not explicitly require community service or other forms of giving back to society, they do value students who are involved in extracurricular activities and who demonstrate a commitment to making a difference in the world. In fact, a 2018 survey of 264 U.S. college admissions leaders found that 53% agreed that community service gave students an advantage over applicants with equal academic qualifications, effectively acting as a tie-breaker. This statistic increased to 61% when asked only of admissions officers working at private colleges. Most high schools provide several options for community service, and some even make it a requirement for graduation. It has lost its distinctiveness since so many students list their participation in community service on their applications. Community service may be mentioned in the application as long as the student is prepared to put in many hours of work in a way that relates to their subject. On the other side, volunteer work that solely serves as application material needs to be avoided.


Here are some additional tips for busting Ivy League myths:

  • Talk to current students and alumni. They can give you firsthand insights into the admissions process and what it is like to attend an Ivy League school.
  • Read books and articles about the Ivy League. This will help you learn more about the schools and the admissions process.
  • Attend college fairs and events. This is a great way to meet admissions officers and learn more about the schools.

Don’t let myths about the Ivy League discourage you from applying. If you are a well-rounded student with a passion for learning, you have a good chance of getting into an Ivy League school.

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