Are Ivy League Schools Really the Best in the Nation?


Darin Martin, Editor

“To be the best you have to beat the best.” This is a phrase that is heard plenty of times in all aspects of life, and in the educational system it is no different. It is generally understood that the best students throughout the country attend the best schools.

Schools such as Harvard and Princeton have spent centuries building up a reputation for themselves as the best in the country, providing students with the best possible education to help them succeed in life. But is this really the case? Are Ivy league schools really all they’re hyped up to be?

The term “Ivy League” was originally just the name of a collegiate sports league founded in 1954 and was made up of eight Northeastern universities: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. The Ivy League today still consists of those same eight schools. Over time, the Ivy League evolved and became associated with academic excellence along with athletic excellence. Today, Ivy League schools are known for their prestige and the high level of curriculum that takes place.

The answer to the question of whether or not Ivy League schools are worth it really depends on the major a student is looking to pursue. Ivy league schools may have a number of academic programs that they are rated highly in, but it is not uncommon to find a program at an in-state university that is more highly acclaimed than Harvard.

A degree from an Ivy League school doesn’t necessarily give you a better chance of securing a good job straight out of college. Degrees in business or communications, for example, can be best pursued at schools that are outside the Ivy League circle. For example, state universities such as Texas and Indiana are well acclaimed for these particular programs. 

However, Ivy League schools are known for having the best professional programs for law and medicine in the country. Harvard and Columbia are two Ivy league schools that are known for having some of the best med school programs in the nation. 

Ivy league schools are known to be notoriously expensive. The average tuition of a state university is around $20,000 for an in-state student. Ivy League schools cost over three times as much. The average tuition of an Ivy League school is around $66,000.

The return you get for the tuition paid for a public state education is MUCH greater than the return for an Ivy League school. According to, on average, Ivy League graduates will spend an extra four years paying off college debts than graduates of state universities. 

Although there are other simpler ways of getting a degree, if an individual feels that an Ivy League school is the best fit for them, then there is no harm in applying.