these eight universities have some educational and institutional traits in common beyond their athletics programs. All are long-established, private universities; all are in the Northeastern U.S.; all benefit from sizeable endowments and generous alumni financial support; all are highly selective – and all provide need blind aid that often make them less expensive than in-state public colleges.
The term "Ivy League" was born in the 1930s as a name for the fledgling football league that included eight prominent Northeastern colleges: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale. Today, the Ivy League is less synonymous with sports than its academic rigor, professional achievement and exclusivity.
"Some of our nation's political leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs have come out of Ivy League schools, but there are still many more who did not and succeeded," Cohen explains. "Employers are more interested now in what a student has made of his or her college experience."
Applicants, who shared similar high SAT scores with Ivy League applicants could have been rejected from the elite schools that they applied to and yet they still enjoyed similar average salaries as the graduates from elite schools. In the study, the better predictor of earnings was the average SAT scores of the most selective school a teenager applied to and not the typical scores of the institution the student attended.
The Ivy League institutions have each agreed to accept athletic recruits with an Academic Index no lower than 176, which roughly translates to a B average and 1140 on the first two parts of the three-part SAT exam. There are exceptions made, but they represent a small number of the approximately 1,500 applicants chosen from preferred recruit lists compiled by hundreds of coaches.
“There is always the human element. Some things don’t translate into numbers.”
“When a teacher says on a recommendation, ‘This person is the brightest student I’ve ever taught,’ that jumps off the page,” Mr. Goldberger said. “Or if the teacher writes that a particular student was more inventive at problem-solving than any student in the school for the last four years, that kind of thing sky-rockets an applicant beyond any number.
While Ivy League colleges have some of the lowest acceptance rates in the country, they also have some of the most generous financial aid policies. That's because they boast insane institutional endowments.
The only bad news about financial aid and scholarships at Ivy League schools is that they are entirely need-based. Ivy League schools are prohibited from offering athletic scholarships and none of the schools offer merit-based or talent-based awards. That said, Ivy League students are free to win merit-based scholarships from outside institutions and organizations, including state, federal and private scholarships.