College Prep

Top 20 Non-Ivy League Universities in the US

Building at William & Mary

The debate between whether Ivy League schools are worth the time and expense has raged for decades. Let’s start by answering this question: which schools are considered Ivy League?

  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Yale University

The allure of the Ivy League has been losing its luster lately. One leading source offers these criticisms:

  • The “Ivies” are typically double the cost of any public university at nearly $300,000 per year.
  • The quality of an undergraduate education at Ivy League schools does not differ drastically when compared to other top colleges and universities.
  • At public universities, the ROI is more than double that of Ivy League schools.
  • Finally, a study that examined 30 schools reveals that students that got into Ivy League universities but chose non-Ivies instead, earned the same amount as those who chose Ivy League schools.
  • Even more interesting, Forbes recently discovered that of the top 100 CEOs of the largest companies who obtained an undergraduate degree (yes, some did not even complete college), a dominant 89% graduated from non-Ivy League schools.

Here’s what else Forbes has to say about the Ivy League, Non-Ivy conundrum:

“First and foremost, it is important to note that for most families, an Ivy League education is a significant investment. Annual tuition fees for Ivy League schools range from $76,000 to $85,000, and while that number may be mitigated to an extent by scholarships and awards, most families must make strategic and thoughtful financial decisions when it comes to the ballooning cost of a prestigious degree.”

In spite of all that, many are convinced that having Harvard, Princeton, or Yale on your resume opens doors to prestigious corporations and networking opportunities. Before you say, “Yes, that’s what I want,” know that there are a variety of non-Ivy League schools that can provide you with an equally challenging and rewarding education. 

Let’s take a look at some of the top non-Ivy League schools. 

Top 20 Non-Ivy League Colleges and Universities

There are a plethora of non-Ivy League options with a similar panache and success scorecard as their Ivy League counterparts. So what elements did we weigh in making our list? Each of these schools are home to compelling degree programs, accomplished faculty, and the abundant resources students expect from world-class institutes of higher education. Our list of the top 20 non-Ivy League schools is:

  1. Stanford University
  2. MIT
  3. Duke University
  4. Rice University
  5. Georgetown University
  6. William & Mary
  7. Columbia Business School
  8. UC Berkeley
  9. Wake Forest University
  10. University of Rochester
  11. University of Chicago
  12. Northwestern University
  13. Williams College
  14. John Hopkins University
  15. Washington University
  16. Tufts University
  17. University of Michigan
  18. Notre Dame
  19. California Institute of Technology
  20. Vanderbilt University

Many non-Ivy League schools also offer college prep courses, which give motivated teenage students the opportunity to engage before even graduating high school! Furthermore, many of these universities have pre-college enrichment programs that can be taken fully online. The flexible format allows you to fit in study time whenever your schedule allows. You even have access to mentors and interactive tools that ignite the learning experience.

What Non-Ivy League Schools Have to Offer 

Let’s start with Rice University. 

This highly respected Texas-based university’s Precollege Program has a broad array of courses that can satisfy almost any interest, whether you lean toward STEM, economics, law, global affairs, and physiology. Take your pick of eight popular courses — even aerospace.

Georgetown University’s Pre-College Online Program

Georgetown lives up to its original tenet: “At Georgetown, we believe that you are more than a mind. You’re an individual with unique talents, dreams, and passions.” They make good on this promise by including high school students in their Pre-College Online Programs that are available both online and via summer enrichment programs for high school students. You’ll find nearly 20 courses to choose from, and topics range from anatomy & physiology, and biology to entrepreneurship, investing, international law, medicine, and even surgery, to name a few.

William & Mary

Founded in 1693 in Williamsburg, Virginia, William & Mary is a highly respected liberal arts and research university. The school attracts some of the best and brightest to its pre-college online program which runs all year and features courses in constitutional law, entrepreneurship, medicine, and psychology.  

Wake Forest University

If you are a high school student looking to get a jumpstart on college, you’ll want to know more about Wake Forest University’s Pre-College Immersion Program, where you can experience a whole portfolio of online courses that you can take at your own pace. And, rather than one-note video presentations, you’ll experience college prep classes through dynamic videos, where experts share a wealth of insights you’ll need as you prepare for your future.

Wake Forest’s pre-college online courses include medicine, psychology, business, sports medicine, criminal law, finance — even bioscience.

University of Rochester

The University of Rochester has a long tradition of breaking boundaries in education. They are known for their pursuit of new adventures in thinking — whether in science, engineering, healthcare or the arts. Through pioneering new ways to learn, they equip students with the tools to make the world ever better.

Rochester offers a wide variety of pre-college online course options, including biomedical engineering, orthopedic medicine, video game design, and medicine and genetics. 

Is a non-Ivy in your future? Consider what they have to offer, and then give teen academic enrichment a try. That’s the best way to determine if a school is a good fit for you.

If a high-profile non-Ivy makes sense to you, getting a taste of a good enrichment program for high schoolers is the best way to start.

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