Why Are Stanford, Duke and MIT Not Ivy League Schools?

Over time, the name “Ivy League school” has been associated with exceptional standards of education.

That’s why prestigious schools such as Stanford, Duke, and MIT are mistaken to belong to the Ivy League schools which has raised questions on why they aren’t among.

So in this article, I will analyze what makes a school belong to the Ivy League, and why Stanford, Duke and MTI aren’t among the Ivy League schools.

What Is The Ivy League School?

The Ivy League school was created in 1954, and it was used to describe schools that distinguished themselves through exceptional involvement in sporty performances, like in basketball and hockey.

All Ivy League schools are extremely selective and highly ranked though this isn’t the initial motivation behind the schools’ unification.

These Ivy League Schools are made up of basic 8 schools. They are known to be one of the few schools that attended sporting activities and showcased their talents. 

Below are the 8 Ivy League Schools

  • Brown University which is located at Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Harvard University located at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Cornell University located at Ithaca, New York.
  • Princeton University located at Princeton, New Jersey.
  • Dartmouth University located at Hanover, New Hampshire.
  • Yale University located at New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Columbia University located in New York City, New York.

Having listed the basic schools above, if we are to compare these schools to the other Universities who share the same qualities as them, then there wouldn’t be any need to regard these colleges as being prestigious just because they belong to the Ivy League Schools.

Though, their academic standards of education are still exceptionally high and it is the desire of the majority of students to study there.

These colleges listed above are known to offer the best law and medical programs across the United States Of America with a strict selective process making it impossible for just anybody to enroll and get accepted.

These schools are also popular and respected based on the fact that the majority of the past U.S presidents graduated from these universities.

With this, it has helped to further boost their reputation.

Nevertheless, there are many other colleges acting as though they are as good as the other schools, though they aren’t Ivy  League Schools such as the Stanford, Duke, and MIT which are all clearly prestigious schools with high national rankings and low selectivity rates comparable to those of Ivy League schools but they are not regarded as Ivy League schools.

Regardless, people still assume they are ivies because of the strong similarities.

The Case of Stanford, MIT, And Duke Schools

Since being an Ivy League college requires you to be in a specific situation at a specific time, there’s no way to get into the Ivy League as of now. 

Does it mean these colleges don’t offer qualitative education? 

Clearly not, as they still rank easily in the top 15 best schools for most of the courses they offer, sometimes outranking their Ivy League counterparts.

They just so happened to not have outstanding sports performances when the Ivy League started. 

Based on education, your degree will be just as valuable, but realize cultural changes take a while to happen, so the shift in mindset is still not fully completed.

Some employers will still prefer candidates who graduated from an Ivy League school over others from Stanford or Duke.

Why Are Stanford, Duke And MIT Not Ivy League Schools

There are many reasons why Stanford, Duke and MIT are not recognized as Ivy League Schools regardless of their rankings and low acceptance rate etc.

The main reason why these schools, Duke, MIT, and Stanford aren’t Ivy League colleges is that they didn’t excel at sports when the Ivy League was created.

Below are other reasons why these schools aren’t the right school for life goals.

  • Acceptance Rates

Ivy League schools are known for their abysmal acceptance rates which makes it hard to get into with a rate beneath 10% excluding Cornell which has a 11% acceptance rate.

While Stanford, MIT, and Duke acceptance rate respectively is 4%, 7%, and 8% making it also hard and low to secure an admission.

By low acceptance rates, it shows that the school considers its students and thus, doesn’t want to accept applicants who might not be able to complete their courses.

Let’s look at the graduation rates of these schools.

  • Graduation Rates

The average graduation rate for these above schools is about the various graduation rates for Ivy League Schools and the other three universities.

  • Ivy League Schools Graduation Rate is 95.93%
  • Stanford’s Graduation Rate is 96%
  • Duke’s Graduation Rate is 95% 
  • MIT’s Graduation Rate is 93%
  • Employment Rates

Another important option to consider is how likely it is for graduate students to find a job after getting their degree in these respective schools.

All Ivy League schools and MIT, Duke, and Stanford basically guarantee you a job right after graduation.

The employment rates for post-graduates at all of the schools is well above 90% within 3 months, and usually they’ll get you internships in prestigious businesses during your studies.

What Schools Are Often Mistaken For Ivy League Schools?

Stanford, Duke, and MIT are not the only schools often thought to belong to the Ivy League. 

Other schools commonly mistaken for those in the Ivy League are those that are:

  • Highly Ranked And Extremely Selective.

Ivies are always ranked in the top 15 nationally with acceptance rates below 15%. 

Schools commonly mistaken for Ivies tend to be those with similar rankings and acceptance rate though many aren’t located in the northeast where the Ivy League is based.

  • Located In Or Near The Northeast. 

All Ivies are in the northeast, but not all schools in the northeast are Ivies.

Highly acclaimed or well-known schools in Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and other nearby states are often mistakenly assumed to belong to the Ivy League.


I hope that by now, you will be able to distinguish the ivy league schools and also why Stanford, Duke and MTI schools aren’t regarded as I’ve schools.

In my opinion, regardless of any of these schools you choose to enroll in, you will still be on the right track.

So what are you waiting for? 

Start Applying!

Leave a Comment