The New Ivies: The Complete 2024 College List

May 17, 2024
6 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/17/24

The New Ivies are an elite group of schools that are slightly easier to get into than the official Ivy League. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about them!

While many students are familiar with Ivy League colleges, there are other schools that offer great education as well. 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 schools.

What Are the New Ivies?

New Ivies are schools that rank high in academics and faculty, even though they don't reach the size or status of the Ivies. This includes both public and private schools, such as Boston College, Carnegie Mellon, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Notre Dame.

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 (2024)

We’ve compiled a list of the New Ivies that you can look forward to putting on your college list.

School US News Ranking Acceptance Rate
Boston College #39 in National Universities 15%
Bowdoin College #9 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 7%
Carnegie Mellon University #24 in National Universities (tie) 13.5%
Colby College #25 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 7%
Colgate University #21 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 13%
Davidson College #16 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 14.5%
Emory University #24 in National Universities (tie) 14%
Harvey Mudd College #16 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 13.4%
Kenyon College #39 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 34%
Macalester College #26 in Best Value Schools 28%
New York University #35 in National Universities (tie) 8%
Olin College of Engineering Unranked 19%
Pomona College #4 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 6.9%
Reed College #67 in National Liberal Arts Colleges (tie) 44%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute #60 in National Universities (tie) 65%
Rice University #17 in National Universities 8%
Skidmore College #38 in National Liberal Arts Colleges 23%
Tufts University #40 in National Universities (tie) 10%
University of California, Los Angeles #15 in National Universities (tie) 10.8%
University of Michigan #21 in National Universities 17.8%
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill #22 in National Universities (tie) 17%
University of Notre Dame #20 in National Universities 11%
University of Rochester #47 in National Universities (tie) 39%
University of Virginia #24 in National Universities (tie) 16%
Vanderbilt University #18 in National Universities (tie) 5%
Washington University in St. Louis #24 in National Universities (tie) 11%

Here is a more in-depth look at each of the new Ivy League schools listed above:

Boston College

Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Boston College has a small student body of approximately 15,000 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 31 NCAA Division I sports.

Bowdoin College

Location: Brunswick, Maine

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Bowdoin College is a liberal arts college that offers students the choice of 43 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: 13.5%

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 50%

There are seven colleges that make up the Claremont College family, five undergraduate and two graduate. The five undergraduate colleges and their acceptance rates are as follows:

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: 7%

Located in rural Maine, Colby College is a small liberal arts college with a student body of less than 2,500 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: 13%

According to Colgate University, their alumni are famously loyal to their alma mater. 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: 14.5%

Davidson College is currently ranked as the 16th-best liberal arts college in the country. 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: 14%

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: 34%

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: 28%

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: 17.69% 

With approximately 50,000 students, 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: 8%

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: 17%

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: 11%

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 #25 by U.S. News for best study abroad programs. 

Olin College of Engineering

Location: Needham, Massachusetts 

Acceptance Rate: 19% 

As the name suggests, Olin College of Engineering focuses on training the next generation of engineers. The school has an undergraduate body of fewer than 450 students, so is a great potential fit for students who want an intimate college experience. 

Reed College

Location: Portland, Oregon 

Acceptance Rate: 44% 

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: 65%

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: 8%

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: 39%

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: 23%

Skidmore College is a small liberal arts college that’s 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: 10%

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 9.5% of applicants to the class of 2027, dipping further than the previous year’s record low of 9.7%

University of Southern California

Location: Los Angeles, California

Acceptance Rate: 9.9%

The University of Southern California attracts applicants both for its academic excellence and its idyllic location in Los Angeles. Students can explore more than 150 majors at USC. The college is well-known for its multiple schools, including the School of Cinematic Arts. 

Vanderbilt University

Location: Nashville, Tennessee 

Acceptance Rate: 5%

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: 16%

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: 11% 

Known largely for its computer science, engineering, and science programs, Washington University in St. Louis has a choice of over 1,500 courses. A city campus, students can immerse themselves in the vibrant city of St. Louis and the academic excellence of the university.

Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Northwestern University is a private research university located in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. It is known for its highly selective admissions process and rigorous academic programs across various fields. The university is home to the prestigious Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, as well as strong programs in the arts and sciences, engineering, and business.

Amherst College

Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

Acceptance Rate: 8%

Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts. It is part of the Five College Consortium and is known for its small class sizes and accomplished faculty. Amherst is consistently ranked as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country and is particularly strong in the humanities and social sciences.

Williams College

Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts

Acceptance Rate: 8%

Williams College is a private liberal arts college located in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It consistently ranks as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the nation and has a strong focus on undergraduate education. Williams is known for its rigorous academics, tight-knit community, and beautiful campus nestled in the Berkshire Mountains.

Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Acceptance Rate: 8%

Swarthmore College is a private liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Tri-College Consortium and is known for its rigorous academics and commitment to social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and encourages students to pursue their passions both inside and outside the classroom.

Middlebury College

Location: Middlebury, Vermont

Acceptance Rate: 15%

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont. It is known for its strong language programs, environmental studies, and international focus. Middlebury is home to the renowned Middlebury Language Schools, which offer immersive language learning experiences. The college also has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Location: Los Angeles, California

Acceptance Rate: 10.8%

UCLA is a highly regarded public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. As one of the most applied-to universities in the country, UCLA is known for its rigorous academics, diverse student body, and vibrant campus life. The university offers over 125 majors across its seven academic divisions, with particularly strong programs in fields such as engineering, medicine, film and television, and the social sciences.

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%. 

Dr. Nick Accrocco, Admissions Counselor at the University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University, shares his advice on how to get into the New Ivies:

"It's not about where you go, it's about that fit."
"You've got to treat applying to college like it's another class."
"It's surprisingly less important where your degree is from. Find ways to relax, find ways to take your mind off of it. This is also going to be really good for keeping your head on straight."

To be considered a competitive applicant for most of these schools, your SAT score should be well above 1400, and ideally in the 1500 range. For students taking the ACT, a score in the 30s can help bolster your application.  

The middle 50% SAT and ACT scores of successful 2023 applicants to Colby College, were 1440-1530 and 32-34, respectively. 

Dr. Anthony Shannon, Admissions Counselor at Harvard University, offers these top tips for admission:

"Make sure you prioritize yourself. Don't stress yourself too much."
"Believing in yourself is the first step into selling yourself right."
"Be realistic about who you are, what your academic achievement is, what your extracurriculars are, how you can sell yourself."
"Remember that the focus of the college application process is you. You are your only competition. You have to prove that you are the ideal candidate for the school. You're not comparing yourself to anybody else. Put forth your best self."

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

If you still have questions, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. What Is The New Ivy League?

The new Ivy League is an unofficial group of 25 schools that 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. These schools 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 that are not members of the Ivy League, and this list is a great place to begin your research.

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