10 “Little Ivies” As Good As The Actual Ivies

Some group of elite schools has gained wide and popular recognition as the Ivy schools. While they exist several other schools that equate and even beat them to standard. Among this category of schools, we have the “little Ivies” as good as the actual Ivies. Hope the term little Ivies does not sound new. Or are even you still trying to figure out what the Ivy League schools itself is? Then, not to worry, we’d ensure to give an absolute breakdown of these terms to avoid ambiguity.

Nonetheless, in the northwestern United States, a group of 8 elite schools contested in a League called the Ivy League. Although there exist many historical talks about the inception of the league, this set of schools turned out to become the best. Thus, this includes standards, quality of education, and a large alumni network. But not that the term Ivy League is by the virtue of an athletic contest. However, many other schools in another district of America possess such qualities and prowess as the Ivies possess.

So several other terms like the public ivies, hidden ivies, Southern Ivies, etc exist to cover up for the loops of not partaking in the Ivy League. As they still possess similar qualities. So, among them are the ‘little Ivies’ as good as the actual ivies. Thus, these smaller, lesser-known universities are highly selective, have academically excellent students, and have a certain historical prestige.

Hence, if you seek to study in a challenging and individualized college experience, you should look into the Little Ivies. Meanwhile, you can see options like open curriculum programs and interdisciplinary learning environments when in the respective schools. Many of the schools we highlight here offer dual degree and study abroad options at partner institutions across the country and world.

You can read more about What Are the Ivy League Schools? List of Schools, Ranking, Acceptance Rates, and Scholarships

Little Ivies As Good As The Actual Ivies

What Are Little Ivies?

Unlike the Ivy League schools that emanated from simply an athletic competition. The little Ivies are an unofficial group of 18 small, educationally competitive private liberal arts colleges in the Northeastern United States. Remember, that the Ivy League school are located in the northwest. This set of schools is classified as the little Ivies due to their relatively small student body, plus a high standard of academic excellence. Also their associated historical social prestige and highly selective admission process. So apart from the fact as a small academic body, they have a similar academic properties to those in the ivy league. Bloomberg describes the school as also having financial endowments, both absolutely and relative to its size.

Furthermore, little Ivies more or less offers limited graduate degree programs. But still, they put a great focus on their undergraduate education to make it standard.

Additionally, the little ivies have more association with the colleges of the New England small college athletic conference (NESCAC). Unlike the Ivy League which is a league on its own. With select schools from the Liberty League, Patriot League, and the Centennial Conference. The term, however, was in active circulation to portray the original “Little Ivies” schools as schools and not merely athletic rivals. At least as early as 1955.

How The Little Ivies Relate To NESCAC

As earlier mentioned, NESCAC stands for the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Several other leagues came to form the NESCAC and they include;

  • Liberty League
  • Patriot League
  • The Centennial Conference

However, among the Little Ivies are the “Little Three”, a term used to describe Amherst College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College. Also, we have the “Maine Big Three”, a term used to describe Colby College, Bates College, and Bowdoin College. The term is inspired by the “Big Three” Ivy League athletic rivalry between Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.

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AWhile Amherst College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College joined Bowdoin College to found the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) in 1971. Along with Bates College, Colby College, Hamilton College, Tufts College, College, Middlebury College, Union College, and Trinity College. However, Union left in 1977 and today competes in the Liberty League. Although, Connecticut College covered the gap in 1982.

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

Every year, the little Ivies accepts numerous applications because most students first out to study in a top school. The influx of applications results from the relatively high acceptance rate of the schools related to the Ivy League schools. Generally, the test scores of students at the Little Ivies are lower than those expected by the Ivy League schools. Thus, the average SAT score of incoming freshmen at Ivy League schools is around 40 points higher than that of freshmen entering the top 9 Liberal Arts Colleges.

Nonetheless, in terms of selectivity, the school often ensures to create a balanced college list. Hence, students should apply to 8-10 schools, with about 25% being safety schools. While 40% target schools and 35% reach schools. Therefore, your chances of gaining admission to the schools respectively depend on the safety, target, and reach.

In addition, your chances of acceptance at the Little Ivies may differ from the average acceptance rate. The school, therefore, made it easy to figure out which schools fall into which categories with our free Admissions Chances Calculator. We do this by taking into account your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars. We’ll estimate your odds of acceptance at different schools and give you tips on enhancing your profile.

Also, read about Is UC Berkeley Ivy League? Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and Scholarships

10 “Little Ivies” As Good As The Actual Ivies

Below we’ve included a good list of “Little Ivies” as good as the actual ivies. You can look through the list below to see them. Don’t hesitate to choose and do further research on anyone that catches your interest. Note that we didn’t use any ranking factor to determine their order.

#1. Connecticut College

Connecticut College is a liberal arts institution that focuses on interdisciplinary education. The school offers small classes and uses a self-scheduled exam system, trusting students to abide by the school’s Honor Code. Hence, the school has gained a strong reputation as one of the little ivies as good as the actual ivies.

Professors are generally thought of as approachable and, due to the small student population, are familiar with their students. Dorms are central to the social life at Connecticut College and allow students to explore meaningful relationships with their peers.

Location: New London, CT

Acceptance rate: 37%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1310-1420 SAT, 30-33 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,800

Visit the Official School Website

#2. Colby College

Colby College boasts strong academics and a small bonded community in the picturesque state of Maine. Thys, Colby was the first college to implement the unique 4-1-4 academic calendar, where students take four classes in the fall and four classes in the spring, as well as an additional one class (taken pass/fail) during January. Additionally, Colby is known for the “Colby Commitment,” which earns it a place on our list of schools that meet 100% of students’ demonstrated financial needs without loans

Location: Waterville, ME

Acceptance rate: 10%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1390-1530 SAT, 32-34 ACT

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Undergraduate enrollment: 2,000  

Visit the Official School Website

#3. Amherst College

Amherst College is located in the Connecticut River valley and is Massachusetts’ third oldest higher education institution. From the college town of Amherst, students can easily access Boston and New York via train. The college is part of the Five College Consortium with Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst, which gives students access to courses and resources offered at four other outstanding universities. Additionally, Amherst students can exercise independence in their education through the school’s open curriculum.

Location: Amherst, MA

Acceptance rate: 11%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1410-1530 SAT, 31-34 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,800  

Visit the Official School Website

#4. Hamilton College

Hamilton is an academically rigorous school with an open curriculum. The students, staff, and faculty at Hamilton are generally thought of as kind and accommodating. The school is regarded as one of the little over as good as the actual ivies.

Additionally, the faculty and the university’s curriculum emphasize the value of critical conversations, meaningful discussions, and excellent writing skills. Hamilton College is characterized by its numerous traditions, which include the Class & Charter Day when afternoon classes are canceled on the last day of the semester so students can celebrate their successes throughout the year. 

Location: Clinton, NY

Acceptance rate: 16%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1410-1500 SAT, 32-34 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,000

Visit the Official School Website

#5. Union College

Union College was initially an all-male school but opened its doors to women in 1970. The school offers a comprehensive liberal arts education through 21 academic departments. Union College is also ABET-accredited to offer degrees in engineering fields, which distinguishes it from other humanities-focused colleges. Additionally, studying abroad is very common amongst Union undergraduates, with around 60% of students studying abroad during their four years.

Location: Schenectady, NY

Acceptance rate: 43%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1210-1400 SAT, 28-33 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,100  

The Visit the Official School Website

Also, check out Is NYU an Ivy League School? Ranking, Acceptance Rate, and Scholarships

#6. Swarthmore College

Swarthmore was originally founded by the Quakers but lost its religious affiliation over a century ago. The college is known for its quirky and engaged student population. Swarthmore is considered one of the best little ivies as good as the actual ivies.

Students at Swarthmore have the unique opportunity to design their own majors and course plans if they so choose. Like Haverford, Swarthmore is part of the Tri-College and Quaker Consortium which affords its students, additional academic opportunities.

Location: Swarthmore, PA

Acceptance rate: 9%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1390-1530 SAT, 29-34 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,500

Visit the Official School Website

#7. Trinity College

Trinity is distinct from many other small liberal arts colleges due to its urban location. Just outside of campus, in Hartford, students have access to restaurants, shops, and vibrant nightlife. One unique aspect of Trinity is the interwoven academic and social lives of students. Incoming freshmen are required to take a first-year seminar on a topic of their choice, and then they are grouped into residence halls based on their different seminars. This arrangement allows students to get to know their peers and form relationships with students who share the same interests.

Location: Hartford, CT

Acceptance rate: 33%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1260-1420 SAT, 28-32 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,100  

Visit the Official School Website

#8. Williams College

Williams College originally founded as a men’s college, but coeducational since the 1960s—is a private liberal arts school that boasts small class sizes and individualized attention from professors. The school operates on the 4-1-4 schedule that was pioneered by Colby College. Williams is also distinguished through the opportunity students have to participate in tutorials—two-person classes that help students deepen their understanding of a particular niche subject. Williams meets 100% of a student’s demonstrated need for all four undergraduate years.

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Location: Williamstown, MA

Acceptance rate: 13%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1430-1540 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,000

Visit the Official School Website

#9. Wesleyan University

Wesleyan is known for its academic excellence, as well as its open-minded and creative student body. The school’s administration works hard to foster independence in its students as seen through the school’s commitment to an open curriculum. Through the open curriculum, students can take courses in a diverse range of subjects and explore their varied interests. Wesleyan rewards students for academic curiosity, which makes growth and exploration a central focus of campus life.

Location: Middletown, CT

Acceptance rate: 16%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1340-1510 SAT, 31-34 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 3,000

Visit the Official School Website

#10. Colgate University

Colgate students are committed to their interdisciplinary studies. Students are not required to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year and find many opportunities for exploration through the school’s ample course offerings. Additionally, students can foster intimate relationships with their professors and peers. These relationships often help students to navigate their major choices and career goals.

Location: Hamilton, NY

Acceptance rate: 23%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1340-1480 SAT, 31-34 ACT

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,900  

Visit the Official School Website

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There exist several other schools to this list of ‘little Ivies as good as the actual ivies. They have produced a significant amount of alumni and also offer varieties of programs. More so, some of their majors also rank top among others in the US. Therefore, we can as well compare them to their Ivy counterparts. Thus, a decision to attend any of the aforementioned little ivy league schools or others on the list is a wise choice.

However, we have answered further questions relating to the ‘Little ivies’ as good as the actual ivies below. You can further check them out. Although if you still have other mind-boggling questions not featured there, you can contact us via our provided platforms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Little Ivies” As Good As The Actual Ivies

What is the easiest Little Ivy to get into?

Statistic after statistic, it is clear that Cornell University is the easiest of the Ivies to get into. Its acceptance rate for 2020 is 14.1%. This rate is more than double the 4.5% acceptance rate of Harvard University, which is the hardest Ivy League school to get into, for the same year.

What is the smallest Ivy League?

The smallest Ivy League school, Dartmouth, was established in 1769 in Hanover, New Hampshire. It received a large endowment of several billion dollars. In 1754, Columbia University began thanks to King George II of England. It is located in New York City.

What is the lowest GPA to get into Ivy League?

Minimum GPA Required for Acceptance Into an Ivy League School: There is no minimum GPA to apply to any of the Ivy League schools. That said, in order to be a strong candidate for one of these competitive schools, you will almost always need to achieve a near-perfect GPA.

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