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Is Stanford University an Ivy League School?

Is Stanford Ivy League?

Research shows that Ivy League schools mostly make it to the list of the best universities in the United States and, by extension, the world. Ivy League represents more than just academic prestige; they provide the base for scientific innovation very visible in a long list of distinguished alumni.

No wonder many students aspire to make it to these historic schools. However, because a university is Ivy doesn’t necessarily make it an exclusive citadel of education that no other college can match.

Stanford is one such university. It marks its presence in Palo Alto, California, in the heart of the Bay Area and the famed Silicon Valley. That’s why it’s popularly referred to as a first-rate research institution and home to countless tech and science innovations. Also, Stanford is famous for being a hub of entrepreneurship, thanks to its impressive track record of securing funding for start-ups.

The redwood trees and distinctive buildings are not this institution’s only attractions or aspects. Its campus is cohesive, and you get a lot of brains with the students, professors, and alumni constantly leading in different academic fields, including law, medicine, and engineering.

Notable alumni include record-breaking golfer Tiger Woods, former President Herbert Hoover, and about 84 Nobel laureates. But is Stanford Ivy League? Let’s find out!

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Is Stanford University an Ivy League School?

Stanford University is not in the Ivy League category but make no mistake. It can measure up to the Ivies. Besides, Stanford’s good record and invaluable academic contribution have earned it the tag “Harvard of the West.”

The Ivy League was officially founded in 1954 and consists of eight universities: Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth, and Cornell. These universities are some of the oldest, most popular, selective, and consistently high-ranking schools in the US and the world.

Ivy league schoolsPin

The Ivy League began as an athletic conference, but over the years, the League has shifted focus to more academic concerns, including academic excellence, admissions selectivity, and research prowess. Stanford isn’t part of the group of eight, but it has all the qualities mentioned above.

Moreover, Stanford is often ranked above some of the Ivies in publications, such as U.S. News and World Report. They also have alumni leading different sectors of society, including scientific research and innovation, politics, and more.

Stanford’s record of excellence makes it a huge attraction for the most brilliant and promising students and scholars worldwide. Even with their background in athletic meets, some of the Ivies can’t match Stanford, which has a long history of incredibly strong athletic teams. The school has recorded consistent success in high-profile sports like football, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball.

Why Is Stanford University Mistaken for an Ivy League School?

If you have mistaken Stanford University for an Ivy League school before now, you’re not alone. Many people think it belongs in that category, and there are valid reasons for that. One of them is that Ivies mostly have the distinction of being the most selective schools in the United States.

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As one of the elite educational institutions, Stanford is a highly respected university, so it is only normal for people to assume it’s an Ivy League school.

Aerial view of StanfordPin

Further, Stanford has a low acceptance rate of around 4% and more than 50,000 applicants per year, and that means one thing: Stanford is clearly in high demand. To put it in perspective, Stanford’s 2019 acceptance rate of 4% was the lowest in the country.

Since its inception, the Ivy League has always represented prestige and elitism. Stanford has those in spades, even if it’s not part of the League, and can rub shoulders with other top colleges like MIT, Duke, and Caltech.

In addition, liberal arts and engineering may have been the primary focus of Stanford after its founding in 1885. However, the 20th century saw a vast increase in many other majors. Now, it runs many scientific, artistic, and technological programs. Many innovations from outstanding scholars and faculty members have led to numerous awards, including Nobel Prizes and Pulitzer Prizes.

Stanford University: Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and Prestige

One thing is clear about this great institution of learning: it is hard to get in and remain. Additionally, the acceptance rate at Stanford is 4%, one of the lowest in the United States.

That means for every 100 applications, only 4 students make it to the school. The culling of many students from its application process makes it arduous to consider many students.

The selective process is one of the reasons why it ranks highly in major national publications. For example, it has been featured on the #6 spots in US News, putting it ahead of four notable Ivy League schools: UPenn, Dartmouth, Brown, and Cornell.

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Another publication, the Washington Monthly, awards Stanford the #1 rank in the country, ahead of all the Ivies. No wonder Stanford is regularly referred to as the “Harvard of the West”; however, it has done enough to shake off that tag.

In addition, research from 2021 showed that Stanford ranks high in several other categories. For example, it ranks #3 overall among universities in America and #2 in the Best College for Student Athletes in America.

It ranks as the #3 College with the Best Academics in America and #3 in the Best Value Colleges in America category. International publications like the Times Higher Education corroborate this research and ranks Stanford as the #2 university worldwide, second only to the University of Oxford and higher than the Ivies.

James Clark center Stanford UniversityPin

How You Can Get Into Stanford

It’s already established that Stanford is not an Ivy League university, thanks to its stiff selection process. So to get in, applicants must have an impressive combination of requirements, such as high test scores, high GPA, enthusiastic teacher recommendations, stand-out essays, and extracurricular excellence.

Stanford practices holistic admissions review, which means it’s not about your academic or intellectual performance. It looks at your application as a whole, focusing on the key criteria mentioned above.

While other criteria exist, successful Stanford applicants’ GPAs and standardized test scores are often nearly perfect. If you have a shot at this college, you must meet or go above the average GPA for admission, which stands at 3.96.

That means having almost straight As in all of your high school subjects. If you can take advantage of as many AP, IB, honors, and other accelerated courses as your high school offers, you’ll have a higher chance of getting into Stanford.

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When you offer advanced courses, you’re demonstrating to the admissions committee that you’re a student serious about academics and the possible challenges you will face in college. Moreover, the average SAT score required is 1500, while the average ACT score is 34.

Students must submit scores from all test dates before developing a super score of the student’s highest individual Verbal and Math scores from each test date. Also, Stanford is much different than the traditional liberal arts-leaning Ivies because it favors STEM fields more. Hence, you have a better chance with a strong STEM record and extracurricular activities.

Final Thoughts: Stanford is Not Ivy League

Stanford University is not an Ivy League university and was never a part of the League from the beginning. However, it’s safe to say that it shares equal status on many fronts with the Ivies.

It has produced some of the most remarkable graduates in law, politics, theatre, tech, and engineering. Stanford is home to some of the world’s most intriguing research breakthroughs.

When you go over school rankings cutting across different categories, you will struggle not to find Stanford ranking as the best or one of the best. Unlike some Ivy schools that have attached less meaning to athletics and extracurriculars, Stanford is big on both, and its location in the heart of Silicon Valley makes it ideal for students.

Also, the school has produced many captains of industries, entrepreneurs, tech moguls, thought leaders, and much more. That means you’ll be in good company during your undergraduate years and as an alumnus.

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Getting into Stanford is no child’s play. It gets harder at every admissions cycle. But there’s nothing impossible about the whole process. You must ensure that your academics are near-perfect and that other necessary activities help boost your profile. That way, it’s easy to impress the admissions committee with your preparedness to study at this world-class institution.

About Martin Vernon

A lifelong learner, educator, and advocate for education as a means for individual and social change. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day!

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