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30th Nov 2022
Afia Azmi

Cracking the Ivy League - A comprehensive Guide

Ph.D. is the highest academic degree that marks an end to student life. The work-life of a Ph.D. student involves intense reading, research, and working on various topics individually and in a group. Most Ph.D. students also take up teaching assistant positions in specific universities and Ivy League is the dream school of any student around the world.

These are a set of top-tier institutions located in the US. These institutions are highly reputed and offer a broad platform of opportunities. Every year millions of students work for and apply to these prestigious institutions to explore their fields of passion. Admission to any program to any level of degree is challenging. The acceptance rate for a Ph.D. program for various subjects in different universities may range from 3.6%- 35%. Below are some tips to secure admission to the Ph.D. program at an Ivy League University.

What are Ivy Leagues?

Ivy Leagues are a set of 8 schools located in the USA. These schools marked the best in the field of academic research and excellence. These elite universities were established in 1954, and all of them have ranked below 150 in the QS world ranking for years. These colleges have the highest funding for research and offer world-class education. Most of them support a holistic admission process, which attracts potential students from across the globe. The cultural diversity is rich, and students get a chance to interact and learn from Nobel Prize winners and other famous personalities in their respective fields. A degree from Ivy League is considered highly employable by most employers.

Which universities come under Ivy Leagues?

There are top 8 universities that come under the Ivy League tag. All of these are located in different regions of Northeastern USA. Some of these institutions work in close touch with national research organizations. The oldest and most famous Ivy League is Harvard University. The list of schools from oldest to newest is as mentioned below -

What are the eligibility criteria for PhD programs in Ivy Leagues?

The eligibility criteria for the PhD programs in the Ivy League may vary for different universities and subjects. Admission to some courses at specific universities may be highly competitive due to the high demand. Some of these universities may require a minimum work experience for particular subjects. Any academic achievements or non-academic achievements will help the student stand out from the rest of the competitive pool.

The general list of documents required to be considered eligible is mentioned below -

  • Academic Transcripts
  • Standardized test scores
  • English Language Proficiency Test scores
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume
Tips to get into Ivy Leagues for PhD
  • Grades-

Admission to the Ivy League for any program is highly competitive. A perfect grade is a minimum requirement to get into one of these top schools. Have straight As or try to keep the score above 90% in any exams. Numbers are not the ultimate criteria to ensure a seat at the Ivy League, but they are essential as any other requirement.

  • Standardized Test scores-

Most PhD programs may require students to take a General GRE test. Some may require GRE Subject Tests as well. Scoring the top percentile in these exams is essential. These exams are standard criteria, and most Ivy League schools have an above-average cut-off for these exams. Try to keep the scores beyond just eligible and as high as possible.

  • Research and publication-

PhD is all about intense research. Having prior experience with research is a great advantage when applying for a PhD programs at the Ivy League. Participating in various summer research programs or carrying out independent research on an exciting subject demonstrates the student’s interests. Having one or two relevant publications on a good topic helps the student stand out from the crowd.

  • Letters of Recommendation

Most universities prefer 2 or 3 letters of recommendation from professors or people who know the student in the specific field. Unlike in most universities, the Ivy Leagues care about these letters. A personal and robust letter is preferred and stands more chance in support of the student.

  • Achievements

Ivy Leagues are not just limited to studies. Most Ivy Leagues evaluate the student individually and give equal weightage to non -academic interests. If the student is the best in any other field, say, sports, arts, or literature, make sure to mention this in the resume. This highlights the student’s ability to be creative or work in groups.

  • Be early

For any program, it is important to be an early applicant. Especially for a PhD, where only a mentor can take 2 or 3 students, it is better to apply early and confirm a slot. Also, applying late indicates a lack of interest or a less time-bound approach. Give plenty of time to plan and take the tests as well.

Advantages of PhD from Ivy Leagues
  • Research support

Ivy Leagues are highly research-oriented universities. They tend to use highly sophisticated tools and advanced technologies to carry out most of their research. Studying in one of the ivy League opens a chance to explore the latest scientific or technological advancements in any field.

  • Funding-

Most ivy leagues provide generous funding options to help students entirely focus on their work. Funding can be as scholarships, grants, or fellowships.

  • Reputation-

A degree from these institutions is highly recognized and globally reputed.

  • Employability

Most employers are highly impressed to employ an ivy student. This is because the student might have demonstrated exceptional skills and knowledge in the subject to be a student of this group of prestigious universities.

  • Contacts -

The cultural mix at these universities ensures that the student gets a chance to be in close touch with experts in the subject from around the world.

A PhD is now a standard option, and the only thing that can set one apart is the institution from which the degree is awarded. It is challenging to get admitted to an ivy league, but the effort is entirely worth it. A degree from ivy league adds an extra shine to one’s personal and professional profile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1.) How hard is it to get into the ivy league for the PhD program?

The acceptance rate for ivy schools varies from 3 to 30%, depending on the demand programs. However, admission to the ivy league is generally tricky but not impossible.

2.) How to get into an ivy league college from India?

With stellar grades, test scores, and by demonstrating tremendous passion for the subject, meritorious students from India can get into the ivy league.

3.) What is the duration of the PhD program at Harvard University?

The duration of PhD programs vary depending on the guide, subject, and other factors. Generally, a PhD is 4 to 6 years long.

4.) Is GRE required for PhD in the Ivy League?

Yes, some ivy leagues may ask for a GRE Score to consider admission to any graduate program. However, not all ivy leagues require a GRE score.

5.) Can international students apply to ivy league for PhD?

Yes, international students can apply for a PhD program in ivy league universities. Before using, students must ensure region-based eligibility criteria are provided on the university website.

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