Is an Ivy education worth it? To find out, let’s ask an Ivy League university

Guides / USA

Now that admissions statistics are out, we can see that so many of the hyper-selective US universities are, once again, admitting a tiny proportion of their applicants. Some of the statistics (which I detail here) show that only 1 in 20 applicants is successful.

Given all this stress and angst, is getting an Ivy League (or Ivy like) education actually worth it? Does it give you the advantages people think it does?

To find out, we can actually look at an Ivy League university’s own policies. As well as admitting students straight from school into undergraduate courses, universities also admit students who are at university getting their first degree onto postgraduate, masters courses. If the mantra held that a hyper-selective education was all-important, then surely these postgraduate courses would be full of people from Ivy League colleges. Wrong.

Here is the list of colleges that Harvard Law School admitted students from for 2018 entry: There are 173 colleges on that list. Yes some of the top names appear, but so do many, many other universities. Clearly, the admissions officers at Harvard Law School look at those universities and see that students have gained an excellent education

Extending the point, US News & World Report looked at which colleges the CEOs of the Fortune 500 companies in the US went to, which you can see here:

Again, there are some ‘brand name’ colleges on the list, but it’s not as if everyone in the US who was successful went to only 15 or so universities.

And then, finally, there’s the Rhodes Scholarship: perhaps the most competitive postgraduate scholarship a student can win in the USA. Recently the Rhodes Trust published a list of the colleges that EVERY Rhodes scholar had attended. Once again, it’s not only the brand name schools that make the list here, the list runs to 9 pages of institutions:

So, if you think that only the brand name US colleges are worth considering as otherwise you’ll have no future, think again.