ivy league schools

At C2, we’re often asked how hard it is to get into an Ivy League school. To provide an accurate answer, we’ll need to explore:

  • Acceptance rates as well as how and when they’re released
  • Seats available in Ivy League schools
  • How test-optional policies impact the competition

While the acceptance rates released on Ivy Day are traditionally low, these rates only account for regular admissions students. The acceptance rate of students who applied during early admissions are traditionally released after Ivy Day results.

What is Ivy Day?

Students interested in applying for college can submit their applications early or during the regular application period. Only applicants who applied to Ivy League schools during the regular admissions period learn their application status on Ivy Day. Ivy Day is when admissions decisions are announced for first-year regular applicants who applied to:

  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
  • Yale University

In 2022, Princeton University announced they will no longer publicize their acceptance rates on Ivy Day. Their acceptance rates will be available through the U.S. Department of Education.

Ivy Day occurs around late March or early April. In 2024, Ivy Day landed on March 28 and covered the acceptance rates for the graduating class of 2027.

Ivy Day 2024 Results

Ivy League schools look for applicants who meet specific criteria when vetting potential students. They also have a limited number of seats despite an expanding applicant pool. As a result, they commonly have low acceptance rates.

The chart below only covers the percentage of students accepted during the regular decision application period. These figures for the class of 2027 differ from the overall acceptance rates for each school. Overall acceptance rates include the students accepted during the early decision and regular decision periods.

School Regular Decision Acceptance Rate
Brown University 5.16%
Columbia University 3.85%
Cornell University TBA
Dartmouth College 5.3%
Harvard University 3.59%
University of Pennsylvania TBA
Yale University 3.7%

Is It Hard to Get into an Ivy League Schools?

Ivy League schools have a limited number of seats available. As a result, they are highly selective during the application process to ensure they select applicants best aligned with their principals. With the introduction of test-optional policies, Ivy League schools have expanded the applicant pool without expanding the seats available.

Although these applicants may have exceptional GPAs or test scores, academics alone aren’t enough to secure a spot. Ivy League schools look for students who excel academically and can make meaningful contributions to their community. They look for students who have demonstrated their curiosity and interest in a specific field of study by:

  • Tapping into local resources to develop a working knowledge
  • Joining or creating a club related to this interest
  • Becoming a leader or captain in a club
  • Conducting independent research
  • Volunteering for causes aligned with their interests and more

5 Ways for an Ivy League Application to Stand Out

While the admission rates will likely remain low for Ivy League schools, getting into one is not impossible. As long as students are proactive and have proper guidance, they can get into the school of their dreams.

1. Have a Reason for Choosing This School

Applicants can express interest in and apply for any school of their choosing. What sets applicants apart is their reason for choosing this particular school.

This reason could be as simple as wanting to be part of a prestigious alumni network. It may be as practical as choosing a school renowned for helping graduates find placement in their field.

2. Maintain High Grades and Test Scores

Five of the eight Ivy League schools require test scores for admission. Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Brown require SAT or ACT scores, and Yale requires SAT, ACT, AP, or IB scores. To be competitive at an Ivy League school, a student needs to have top test scores, an excellent GPA, and a rigorous high school course load.

3. Choose Extracurriculars Aligned with Areas of Interest

Ivy League schools want to see an applicant has passions beyond academics. Choosing and actively participating in an extracurricular activity is an excellent way to demonstrate interests outside of school. It also shows applicants are proactively learning more about and participating in this area.

Having a dream is wonderful, but taking actions to turn them into reality is better. Doing so demonstrates an applicant’s commitment and dedication to accomplishing their goals.

4. Demonstrate Intellectual Curiosity in Areas of Interest

If applicants can’t find extracurriculars relating to a specific field, they can demonstrate their commitment and curiosity in other ways. This can include self-studying, joining online groups, creating a new group, or participating in upcoming competitions. These passion projects can be referenced and further explained in an applicant’s personal essay.

Highlighting how an applicant carved their own path when none were available speaks volumes regarding potential contributions and leadership opportunities.

5. Apply Early

Early admissions rates are often higher than regular decisions admission rates. Although the admissions rates are higher, the application process remains the same. Applying earlier allows applicants to compete for all available seats rather than competing for the remaining seats.

College Admissions Assistance with C2

Over the last 25 years, C2 Education has proudly helped students prepare for their dream college. We work with students to create high school plans suited to their goals. Our counselors and tutors help students raise their GPA, prepare for upcoming exams, and create strong college applications.

We help students explore volunteer opportunities, challenge themselves intellectually, choose activities aligned with their interests, and more. Our services are tailored to each student’s needs to provide the individualized support and guidance they deserve.

Next Steps

Gaining admission into an Ivy League school can be difficult, but not impossible. While grades and high GPAs are key factors, applicants should also consider opportunities for personal and professional growth. They should also consider how a specific school and its programs align with their overall goals.

At C2 Education, our team remains well informed regarding policy changes to provide students with the most accurate information.

In need of ACT test prep, SAT test prep, college admissions counseling, or help writing an upcoming college essay? Call us at (888) 312-3814 or submit this form to request additional information.