New Ivies: What You Need to Know

Carnegie Mellon
October 17, 2022
What Are the New Ivies?List of New IviesHow to Get Into the New IviesFAQs: New Ivies


Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

The New Ivies are an elite group of schools that are slightly easier to get into than the official Ivy League. What are the New Ivies and how do you get into them? Keep reading to find out!

While many students are familiar with Ivy League colleges, the New Ivies may be a relatively unfamiliar term. What does it mean for a school to be a New Ivy, how do they compare to the traditional Ivy League schools, and how can you get in? Below, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the New Ivies.

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What Are the New Ivies?

Conceived by Newsweek in 2006, the term New Ivy references a school that is not a member of the traditional Ivy League, but still ranks highly in academic excellence. 

While these schools often do not have the same endowment size or international reputation as the traditional Ivy League schools, they are highly regarded, respected, and have competitive admissions. 

New Ivies represent an opportunity for an Ivy League education outside of the conventional eight schools of the League. Another allure of the New Ivies is that they are spread across the United States, rather than being located in the east of the country like the Ivy League schools.

List of New Ivies

Below are the 25 colleges coined the New Ivies by Newsweek in 2006. 

Boston College

Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Acceptance Rate: 26.4%

Boston College has a small student body of under 10,000 undergraduate students. Located twenty minutes outside of Boston, the institution is known for liberal arts and science. The school is also well known for athletics and competes in almost 30 NCAA Division I sports

Bowdoin College

Location: Brunswick, Maine

Acceptance Rate: 9.2%

Bowdoin College is a liberal arts college that offers students the choice of 40 majors in rural Maine. Students complete a mandatory two year curriculum that includes a wide range of subjects before declaring their major. 

Carnegie Mellon

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Acceptance Rate: 17.3%

Well known for its computer science and engineering programs, Carnegie Mellon is a research university based in Pittsburgh. According to Carnegie Mellon, over 400 startups linked to the university have raised more than seven billion dollars of funding, and their students are known for their entrepreneurship. 

Claremont Colleges

Location: Claremont, California

Acceptance Rate: 10 to 32%

There are seven colleges that makeup the Claremont colleges family, five undergraduate and two graduate. All provide a liberal arts education, and are independent bodies that act as a consortium. Located in southern California, they are all a fantastic place to both study and live. 

Colby College

Location: Waterville, Maine

Acceptance Rate: 10.3%

Located in rural Maine, Colby College is a small liberal arts college with a student body of only 2000 undergraduates. It is often referred to as a ‘little Ivy’ in reference to its small student body, and is one of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the country. 

Colgate University

Location: Hamilton, New York

Acceptance Rate:  27.5%

According to Colgate University, their alumni are famously loyal to their alma mater. Perhaps it is because its location, Hamilton N.Y, was named by Forbes as one of the friendliest towns in the country. Colgate provides a liberal arts education and prides itself on its small class size and highly educated faculty. 

Davidson College

Location: Davidson, North Carolina

Acceptance Rate: 20%

Davidson College is a liberal arts college currently ranked thirteenth by U.S News in the Liberal Arts. With a small undergraduate body of approximately 2000 undergraduates, it still boasts over 200 student organizations on campus. 

Emory University

Location: Atlanta, Georgia 

Acceptance Rate: 19.2%

Emory University is a research university well known for its School of Medicine and Law, as well as its Business School. Uniquely, Emory students are required to take two physical education courses, regardless if they participate in athletics. 

Kenyon College

Location: Gambier, Ohio

Acceptance Rate: 37%

Well known for its English Language and Literature program, Kenyon College is a liberal arts college located in the small town of Gambier, Ohio. It is also known for its literary magazine, the Kenyon Review

Macalester College

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota 

Acceptance Rate: 39%

Exclusively undergraduate, Macalester College is a liberal arts college located between the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Malcaster has no application fee, a quality many applicants find attractive. 

University of Michigan

Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

Acceptance Rate: 26.1%

With a student body of about 48,000 the University of Michigan is one of the largest New Ivies. It is currently ranked the third best public university in the country. Learn more about UMichigan in our complete guide to the University.

New York University

Location: New York, New York

Acceptance Rate:  21.1%

Better known as NYU, New York University is located centrally in the bustling metropolis of New York City. NYU boasts more international students than any other American University, so you can count on a diverse student body in a vibrant city. To learn our expert tips on building an excellent NYU application, read our NYU guide.

University of North Carolina

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Acceptance Rate: 68.4%

The first public university in the country, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a well respected college with the highest acceptance rate of any of the New Ivies. 

It is part of the ‘research triangle’ of schools whose students are known for their research and entrepreneurship. Home of the Tar Heels, the school is also well known for its basketball team and supportive fans

University of Notre Dame

Location: South Bend, Indiana 

Acceptance Rate: 19%

Notre Dame is a research university that prides itself on its Catholic roots. According to the school's website, “Notre Dame’s Catholic character informs all it does.” Over half of its students spend at least a semester studying abroad, and it is ranked nineteenth by U.S. News for its study abroad program. 

Olin College of Engineering

Location: Needham, Massachusetts 

Acceptance Rate: 16%

As the name suggests, Olin College of Engineering focuses on training the next generation of engineers. As of 2020 It has an undergraduate body of only 310 students, so is a great potential  fit for students who want an intimate college experience. 

Reed College

Location: Portland, Oregon 

Acceptance Rate: 42%

Located in the northwest of the country, Reed College is a liberal arts and sciences college. Referred to affectionately as ‘reedies,’ all students undertake a yearlong humanities course and complete a senior thesis

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Location: Troy, New York

Acceptance Rate: 57%

America’s oldest technological research university, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was founded in 1824. The university offers various degrees, but there is a focus on science and technology. The school is located in the rural town of Troy and overlooks the Hudson river. 

Rice University

Location: Houston, Texas

Acceptance Rate: 11%

Rice University is located in Huston’s museum district, an area widely considered the cultural heart of the city. A small university with a research focus, the student body is made up of about eight thousand students, of which almost half are postgraduates

University of Rochester

Location: Rochester, New York

Acceptance Rate: 35%

The University of Rochester is yet another New Ivy located in New York state. Located on Lake Ontario, Rochester is a mid-sized city and allows students to have both a city and rural college experience. The University of Rochester is a research university that prides itself on its collegiate nature. 

Skidmore College

Location: Saratoga Springs, New York

Acceptance Rate: 32%

Skidmore College is a small liberal arts college and consistently ranks as one the of nations ‘best value colleges.’ The school is proud of its commitment to green living and sustainability and has various ways for students to get involved and improve their green living habits. 

Tufts University

Location: Medford, Massachusetts

Acceptance Rate: 16%

Located in the Greater Boston Area, Tufts University is a research university well known for its innovative research programs, and also boasts the country’s oldest school of international relations program. The University accepted a record low of 9% of applicants to the class of 2026 , indicating a high probability of it remaining extremely selective in the future. 

University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, California

Acceptance Rate: 14.3%

Known as UCLA, the University of Southern California attracts applicants both for its academic excellence and its idyllic location in Los Angeles. Its programs all consistently rank highly and overall it is ranked the number one public university by U.S News

It also has a well regarded theatre and film program and was recently ranked the fourth best in the country by Hollywood Reporter. Quad Education has a full guide on how to gain admittance to the school. 

Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, Tennessee 

Acceptance Rate: 11.6%

Vanderbilt is ranked highly both for its academics and its financial aid program. Vanderbilt Opportunities is a program designed to make the university’s world class education accessible for all, and will meet 100% of a student's demonstrated financial need. 

University of Virginia

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Acceptance Rate: 23%

Founded by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia is a public university located in suburban Charlottesville. There is a mid-sized student body of approximately 17,000 undergraduates and an active Greek Life, so is a great prospect for students looking to join a sorority or fraternity. 

Washington University in St. Louis

Location:  St. Louis, Missouri 

Acceptance Rate: 16%

Known largely for its computer science, engineering and science programs, Washington University in St. Louis has a choice of over two thousand courses. A city campus, students can immerse themselves in the vibrant city of St. Louis and the academic excellence of the university.

How to Get Into the New Ivies

Like their Ivy League namesakes, New Ivies are highly competitive and selective schools. Their acceptance rates are higher than Ivy Leagues like Harvard and Yale, but the majority still sit well below 50%. 

To be considered a competitive applicant for most of the New Ivies, your SAT score should be well above a 1400, and ideally in the 1500 range. The median score of successful applicants to Colby College, one of the New Ivies with the lowest acceptance rates, was 1520. 

Competitive schools are looking for well rounded applicants who not only have excellent academic records, but have been involved in extracurriculars and have interests outside of school. Putting together a strong and compelling application is very important, so make sure you take the necessary time on all of your applications.

Finally, it is important to remember that every school considers different factors when looking at applicants.  Doing proper research on what is required by each school is important. 

Sending the same generic application to multiple schools tells the admissions officers that you either didn’t read the requirements properly, or that you simply don’t care enough to put in the effort.

FAQs: New Ivies

Some of the most frequent questions about the New Ivies are what the name actually means, and how difficult they are to get into.

1. What Is The New Ivy League?

The new Ivy League is an unofficial group of 25 schools who are not members of the Ivy League, but that are well regarded for their academic excellence and high rankings in the United States and abroad. 

2. What Does New Ivy Mean?

New Ivy refers to a university that is not a member of the Ivy League but that is still considered an excellent and highly ranked school. New Ivies typically have higher admission rates than Ivy League schools, but are still competitive and selective institutions.

Final Thoughts

When applying to any school, it is important to consider if the school is the right fit for you. While all excellent schools, the 25 New Ivy schools all offer something different to students. 

It is important to consider not only academic excellence, but also student life, location and programs offered when deciding on the right school for you. Doing your own research can help you find the one that best fits what you want out of your college experience; it’s an important part of the application process. 

The New Ivies provide an opportunity for students to receive world class education at institutions who are not not members of the Ivy League, and this list is a great place to begin your research.

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