10 Best Non Ivy League Schools you should consider - World Scholarship Vault (2023)

The Ivy League is known for its exclusivity and distinction, and its universities are among the greatest in the world. Although Ivy League institutions have varying rankings and reputations, they are all recognized for their high tuition, rigorous academic requirements, low acceptance rates, and substantial financial endowments.

Despite the fact that these universities sometimes referred to themselves as melting pots, not everyone or even the majority of Americans can benefit from an Ivy League education. However, there are a few US colleges that can compete with Ivy League institutions. Refer to our previous article to know theIvy League acceptance rates and all admission requirements.

These elite best non ivy league schools can both brag about their competitive admittance rates, exorbitant costs, and top-notch academic programs. These are the top 10 non-Ivy League institutions.

Table of Contents

Best Non Ivy League Schools

The top 10 non-Ivy League colleges in the US are listed below. To learn more about them all, continue reading!

10. The Washington University, St. Louis

10 Best Non Ivy League Schools you should consider - World Scholarship Vault (1)

Washington University in St. Louis, a leader in teaching and research, is renowned among its students and staff as a creative, progressive, and community-minded institution that is academically demanding as well as encouraging and fostering of each student’s individual educational passions.

Washington University is associated with 24 Nobel Laureates who attended the institution or did award-winning research there. It is a place where students are encouraged to push the limits of learning and ask what else there is to learn. Students have the option to take courses from over 90 different fields of study, giving them a truly flexible education. Additionally, with a faculty to student ratio of 7:1, participants get the devoted attention of professors, many of whom are well-known experts in their field and have won awards on the national and international levels.

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9. Rice University (Houston, TX)

10 Best Non Ivy League Schools you should consider - World Scholarship Vault (2)

In addition to being among the top non-Ivy League universities in the US, Rice University is also ranked as the best in the nation for resources by The Wall Street Journal, the best for access to racial and socioeconomic diversity by Princeton Review, and the best for overall quality of life by Princeton Review.

Rice University is the location of ground-breaking research, with a number of renowned centers, institutes, and research groups covering hundreds of academic facets, from 16th century English literature to bioengineering to medical ethics and health policy. Rice University fosters curiosity and encourages students to take risky action.

The fact that Rice University and NASA have a long history of collaboration may also excite many potential students. The university is situated in Houston, Texas, also referred to as Space City, USA. As of this writing, 14 faculty members and alumni have achieved the distinction of having worked as astronauts.

8. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University, which ranked eighth among the best universities outside the Ivy League in the US, is renowned throughout the world for its eminent teachers, generous support for research, and rich academic offerings. In fact, Vanderbilt is frequently mentioned in relation to the “Southern Ivies.”

Students attending Vanderbilt University will discover a demanding yet encouraging academic environment where they are surrounded by similar minds, much as they would at an Ivy League institution. Students can create a network of academic contacts during their time in college, which may benefit their long-term career ambitions.

Additionally, Vanderbilt University works to ensure that all admitted students can attend, regardless of their financial condition.

to ensure that each admitted student may attend the university, regardless of their financial status. Because of its dedication, U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanderbilt as the ninth-best value school in the country.

7. Duke University (Durham, NC)

According to U.S. News & World Report, Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, is the #12 best college in the country overall. All of this is due to Duke University’s exceptional track record of education, innovation, and student achievement, which complements the institution’s international position as one of the greatest research schools in the nation.

The chance to join Duke University’s remarkable current legacy and rich tradition, which dates back to 1838, draws a lot of students to the university. Nobel Prize winners, Olympic medalists, heads of state, celebrities, journalists, and leaders of all stripes have been notable alumni over the years, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole, and comedian and TV actor Ken Jeong.

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6. Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)

Northwestern University is ranked #9 in the nation for colleges overall by U.S. News & World Report. Northwestern University stands out for its dedication to high-impact research and great teaching, both of which take place in a friendly campus environment that prioritizes diversity and inclusion.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all strategy at Northwestern, which prefers to emphasize. The school’s present students and former graduates demonstrate how this idea is put into action.

Former students have included judges for the U.S. District Court, jazz musicians, astronauts, and many more. The desire to work hard and make outstanding contributions to their communities and the globe unites Northwestern’s diverse alumni, staff, and students.

5. John Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

John Hopkins University, which has a distinguished academic history that dates back to 1876, is also ranked as the ninth-best university in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Although John Hopkins University was the country’s first research institution to be founded, its contemporary achievements are just as noteworthy as its distinguished past. The Bloomberg School of Health at John Hopkins has been ranked as the top public health school in the nation for more than 20 years, making it a popular choice for students interested in science, medicine, and public policy.

Additionally, John Hopkins is home to equally strong programs in the arts, sciences, business, music, and other fields. All of these programs offer excellent classroom and research opportunities, in addition to having top-notch faculty who devote their days to guiding motivated students toward success.

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4. California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA)

The California Institute of Technology, also known as Caltech, rounds out the three-way tie for the country’s ninth-best school, according to the rankings published by U.S. News & World Report.

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Most likely, Caltech is most recognized for its outstanding scientific and engineering departments, where students carry out ground-breaking research in a wide range of fields, including astronomy, technology, medicine, and more.

Less than 1,000 undergraduates and slightly more than 1,200 graduate students make up the small student population, with an excellent student to teacher ratio of three to one. International acclaim for the university’s teachers, students, and graduates’ creative work: Caltech is home to 64 National Medical of Science recipients, 42 MacArthur Fellows, and 44 Nobel Laureates.

3. University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

The University of Chicago encourages students to question tradition and effect change because it is situated in the center of one of the world’s most dynamic and varied cities. According to U.S. News & World Report, University of Chicago is the sixth-best university overall.

Six of the 92 Nobel Prize winners who have attended the institution since its founding by John D. Rockefeller are currently on the faculty.

Students who enroll in the University of Chicago will take part in a stimulating core curriculum that combines multidisciplinary studies with demanding, cutting-edge work in their major. Education, engineering, the arts, and medicine are all offered as academic disciplines. Whatever degree program students choose, they will gain from a faculty of academics, scientists, and researchers who will collaborate with them to support their academic success.

2. Stanford University, California

Stanford University is one of the most sought-after colleges in the world, tied with the University of Chicago for the #6 overall ranking in the country by U.S. News & World Report. The Stanford University prepares students to take their place as leaders, thinkers, and doers in a world that doesn’t stand still. Stanford University has been a leading institution in advancing new ideas and discoveries for more than 125 years.

There are currently 19 Nobel Laureates, four Pulitzer Prize winners, and two Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients among the academic community of Stanford University. With notable individuals like Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, actress and producer Reese Witherspoon, and Yahoo! Inc. co-founder and former CEO Jerry Yang citing Stanford University as their alma mater, the school’s alumni are as diverse in their professions as they are exceptional in their accomplishments.

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the top non-Ivy League university in the US, is in charge of fostering the creativity and drive of gifted students who frequently go on to become inventors, business owners, and extraordinary leaders of many kinds.

Although MIT places a strong emphasis on science and technology, creativity and the arts also play a significant part in how students learn. In fact, MIT is renowned for giving students not only a solid intellectual basis but also the lateral thinking abilities to consider other possibilities. Perhaps this explains why MIT graduates are frequently acknowledged for their contributions to the world, to the point where alumni-founded businesses generate annual profits comparable to the GDP of the world’s tenth largest economy.

(Video) Applying to an Ivy League?

10 Best Non Ivy League Schools you should consider - World Scholarship Vault (3)

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Ivy League institution is the lowest?

Princeton. Due to its strong financial aid program, Princeton is frequently referred to as the "cheapest Ivy."

Why isn’t MIT an Ivy?

Despite their reputation and heritage, there are many more top institutions in the United States. Academically, schools like Stanford, MIT, and the University of Chicago frequently outperform Ivies. But they aren't Ivy League colleges in the strictest sense because they participate in different athletic conferences.

Which Ivy has the weakest competition?

Based on acceptance rates, Cornell is the easiest Ivy to get into. With over 4,000 courses offered through its seven undergraduate schools, students are sure to find an area of study they are interested in.

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What GPA must you have to get into MIT?

Although there is no minimum necessary GPA, strong applicants typically have a GPA of 3.5 or above and receive the majority of As in scientific and mathematics classes. For spring (February) entry and fall (September) entry, testing must be finished by the test dates of October and March, respectively.


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What is the most prestigious non-Ivy League? ›

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) MIT ranks as the #1 Non-Ivy school in the country.

What is the tier below Ivy League? ›

Among the Little Ivies are the "Little Three", a term used by Amherst College, Wesleyan University and Williams College, and "Maine Big Three", a term used by Colby College, Bates College and Bowdoin College. The term is inspired by the "Big Three" Ivy League athletic rivalry between Harvard, Princeton, and Yale.

What is considered the Harvard of the South? ›

Vanderbilt University is known as the Harvard of the South and with good reason. The campus is an urban one and a located on West End Avenue and 21st Avenue.

What is the lowest Ivy League school? ›

Princeton. Princeton is commonly regarded as the “cheapest Ivy” thanks to its extensive financial aid offerings.

What is MIT not an Ivy League? ›

Schools like Stanford, MIT, and the University of Chicago often outrank Ivies in terms of academics. However, since they aren't in the same athletic conference, they technically aren't Ivy League schools.

What is the easiest Little Ivy to get into? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.

What is a lower ivy? ›

lower Ivy (plural lower Ivies) (US) any of the Ivy League universities, such as Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania, that are generally seen as less prestigious than Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

What is the least competitive Ivy? ›

Cornell University

The easiest Ivy to get into based on acceptance rate, Cornell offers over 4,000 courses through its seven undergraduate schools, meaning that students are sure to find a subject of interest to study.

What are Harvard top 3 majors? ›

Sociology, Biology, and Economics make up the Top 3 majors of the Harvard majors list.

What is the lowest GPA to get into Harvard? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.

Which university is the closest to Harvard? ›

The Best 10 Colleges & Universities near Harvard Square, Boston, MA 02138
  • Lesley University. ...
  • Radcliffe Institute For Advanced Study. ...
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1.6 mi. ...
  • Harvard University. 0.1 mi. ...
  • Harvard University. 0.1 mi. ...
  • Harvard University. 0.0 mi. ...
  • Harvard University. 0.2 mi. ...
  • Harvard University Health Services. 0.1 mi.

What are the second tier Ivy League schools? ›

The following four Ivy League universities comprise the second tier:
  • Pennsylvania.
  • Brown.
  • Dartmouth.
  • Cornell.
Jan 27, 2017

Is Vanderbilt considered an Ivy League school? ›

For years, Vanderbilt University has been known as an "Ivy League of the South." But in a 2022 reunion weekend event last week, Chancellor Dr. Daniel Diermeirer says COVID-19 has changed the way the school thinks about itself.

What is the happiest Ivy League school? ›

Our Ranking:
4 more rows
Nov 28, 2018

What is the company thats harder to get into than Harvard? ›

Blinkist's acceptance rate was 4.6%, and Harvard's acceptance rate—5.2%. It's common knowledge—Harvard is tough to get into. Once there, expect to be surrounded by the smartest people—with the biggest and brightest ideas. Having Harvard on a CV opens up a lot of doors—and it's the same with Blinkist.

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into? ›

1. What's the easiest Ivy League school to get into? While all Ivy League schools have a low acceptance rate, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate among them. Cornell's acceptance rate is 11%, but try not to get too hung up on the numbers.

What is the most prestigious Ivy League? ›

Princeton University

1 in our National Universities ranking.

What school is harder to get into than Harvard? ›

Yale ranks as one of the hardest colleges to get into with a 4.47% acceptance rate for the class of 2026, down just slightly from its 4.62% acceptance rate for the class of 2025. The university differs slightly from other Ivies regarding the factors it considers during the admissions process.


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