How Difficult Is It to Get Into an Ivy League School?


Are Ivy League schools hard to get into?  The simple answer is yes.  Of course, there are requirements to gain admission to any college or university, including standards that must be met concerning grade point average, completion of high school coursework (diploma or GED), SAT scores, and so on.

The difference is that Ivy League institutions tend to have the highest standards for academic excellence.  In addition, the competition for admission is fierce, meaning that students seeking admission must have something extra.

How can you get into an Ivy League school?  The process begins with understanding requirements for admission.  From there you need to know how to appropriately round out your application in order to stand out.


You don’t necessarily have to earn a 4.0 (weighted or otherwise) to gain admission to an Ivy League school.  Many set their baseline for admission much lower, although it is extremely rare for a student with a GPA lower than 3.5 to be offered admission.

Having a 4.0 can’t hurt, however.  Even with a virtually perfect GPA, you won’t necessarily be offered admission.  It will help you to compete with the best and brightest students, which is what you will be up against when applying to Ivy Leagues schools.

SAT Scores

Like your GPA, your test scores don’t necessarily have to be perfect, so if you don’t get a 2,400 on your SAT, don’t fret.  In addition to a solid GPA, however, you’ll probably want an SAT score of no less than 2100, as well as an ACT composite score above 30.

Extracurricular Activities

A lot of students have stellar GPA and test scores going into the application process.  Many have taken AP coursework in preparation for college.  Where you may be able to shine is through your extracurricular activities.

Although there is a common misconception that students are more interesting to colleges and universities if they’re “well rounded”, this is not entirely true.  In fact, many Ivy League institutions would prefer a student that is exceptional at one or two things rather than a jack of all trades, so to speak.

Whether you enjoy performing arts like music or drama, you prefer to express yourself through art, you are athletically inclined, or you excel in leadership through student council, the extracurricular activities you choose and the success you enjoy could play a major role in the admission process.  So think carefully about which activities (and how many) you participate in during your time in high school.

Charity Work

Whether you intend to apply to Marylhurst University or an Ivy League school like Harvard, it’s important to make sure you have something on your application that makes you stand out from your peers.  Charity work could fit the bill.

However, it won’t do to participate in a fundraiser once and call it a day.  You need to find a charity that you’re passionate about and really spend some time cultivating your devotion to a cause, whether it’s building homes for low-income families, captaining a Relay for Life team annually to raise funds for cancer research, or donating time to special needs children through programs for swimming or horseback riding, just for example.

When you show that you are committed to improving your community and helping others, you’re sure to impress any admissions board.