• Shaina Grover

Ivys and UCs

As high schoolers, we have to start thinking about our future, and regardless of which field you plan on going into, it’s important to understand the difference between the different types of colleges. There are several types of colleges including the Ivy League and the UC’s. Each one has its own benefits and disadvantages, and it’s up to you to decide what you prefer.

You’ve probably heard of the Ivy League, and when someone you know gets into one, you’re super impressed. Why? Because their acceptance rates are extremely low. The Ivy League is made up of eight universities on the Northeastern Coast: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Upenn, Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. These schools have been around since the 17th century and are known for their rigorous academics (the average GPA is a 3.9) and strict admission standards. Because they are all located on the Northeastern Coast, the winters are very cold with harsh snowstorms, but the summers are warm and humid. Each Ivy League school offers early admission programs and these applicants are more competitive and are admitted more often than regular applicants. Early action programs are non-binding, which means students are not forced to attend if they are accepted. It’s more likely to be deferred than rejected with early action. This is offered by Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. The other early admission program that’s available is early decisions. This program is legally binding, so if you are accepted, you are required to attend. If you see Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, or UPenn as your first choice, you should consider early decision. However, keep in mind that if you apply, you will not have an opportunity to compare and negotiate financial aid with other schools, especially since tuition is on the expensive side. The average undergrad tuition for an Ivy League school is $56,425 per year and $47,573 for grad school. Columbia has the highest average tuition at $60,578 per year and Harvard has the lowest average at $47,573 per year. The acceptance rates for Ivy League colleges can range from 5 to 15% with an average of 7%. Columbia is the hardest to get into with an acceptance rate of only 5%. Yet despite these low acceptance rates, there are about 150,000 students enrolled in Ivy League schools each year, and 95% of them will graduate. Aside from the prestige that going to an Ivy League brings, it can also give you a head start in specific careers in competitive fields. They are considered “feeder schools” because many companies will employ students directly out of school. You will be able to network and gain contacts, which is very beneficial when you are looking for a job after graduation. On average, a student who goes to an Ivy League will make $70,000 a year after graduation, while typical students will make $59,124 a year, ten years after graduation. Furthermore, you gain access to many resources such as internships that can provide future employment opportunities, high-quality research materials, and well-educated and passionate professors.

On the other side of the country, we have the UCs, which are often considered some of the best public universities in America. There are 10 campuses located across California: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, LA, Merced, Riverside, Santa Bárbara, Santa Cruz, and San Diego. UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UCLA are ranked among the top five. The weather in California is the exact opposite of the East Coast. The summers are hot and the winters are fairly mild and wet. The application process is a little different for UCs. There is no early decision option and all UC schools use the same application. When filling out the application, you pick which schools you want to apply to. A $70 fee is required for every school you apply to, but it can be waived if you are unable to pay it due to financial reasons. Although there is a common application, one school’s decision does not affect the other’s. For example, if you get rejected from UC Berkeley, your chances of getting into UC San Diego are not impacted. Out of all 10 colleges, UCLA and UC Berkeley are the most selective and prestigious; UCLA’s acceptance rate is 12%. UC Santa Cruz, Riverside, and Merced have higher acceptance rates (Merced has the highest with a 72% acceptance rate). The acceptance rate has a huge range, making the average 37.22%. On average, 25,000 undergraduates are admitted every year and approximately 83% of them graduate. The UCs are well-regarded, selective, and are very research oriented, which means that they are good preparation for graduate school as teaching is research based. Furthermore, they have strong STEM, humanities, and social sciences divisions. Also, there is a lot of diversity in the students. Lastly, the UCs have a great financial aid system and ⅔ of undergrads receive some sort of rewards, averaging $15,000.

There are countless more types of colleges aside from the Ivy Leagues and UCs, but it’s clear that there are major differences and researching them is important. In the end, it comes down to what you are able to do, what you prefer, and what type of college will fit you best