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How Hard Is It to Get Into an Ivy League School?

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How Hard Is It to Get Into an Ivy League School?

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Ivy League institutions are renowned worldwide for their academic excellence and long-standing traditions. But how hard is it to get into one of the top universities in the U.S.?

In this graphic, we detail the admission rates and average annual cost for Ivy League schools, as well as the median SAT scores required to be accepted. The data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics and was compiled by 24/7 Wall St.

Note that “average annual cost” represents the net price a student pays after subtracting the average value of grants and/or scholarships received.

Harvard is the Most Selective

The SAT is a standardized test commonly used for college admissions in the United States. It’s taken by high school juniors and seniors to assess their readiness for college-level academic work.

When comparing SAT scores, Harvard and Dartmouth are among the most challenging universities to gain admission to. The median SAT scores for their students are 760 for reading and writing and 790 for math. Still, Harvard has half the admission rate (3.2%) compared to Dartmouth (6.4%).

School Admission rate
SAT Score:
Reading & Writing
SAT Score: Math Avg Annual
Harvard University 3.2 760 790 $13,259
Columbia University 3.9 750 780 $12,836
Yale University 4.6 760 780 $16,341
Brown University 5.1 760 780 $26,308
Princeton University 5.7 760 780 $11,080
Dartmouth College 6.4 760 790 $33,023
University of
6.5 750 790 $14,851
Cornell University 7.5 750 780 $29,011

*Costs after receiving federal financial aid.

Additionally, Dartmouth has the highest average annual cost at $33,000. Princeton has the lowest at $11,100.

While student debt has surged in the United States in recent years, hitting $1.73 trillion in 2023, the worth of obtaining a degree from any of the schools listed surpasses mere academics. This is evidenced by the substantial incomes earned by former students.

Harvard grads, for example, have the highest average starting salary in the country, at $91,700.

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