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These Are the 10 Best “Hidden Ivies” in the U.S

Are you anticipating to study in the United States but don’t know the one to apply to? Here are the 10 Best “Hidden Ivies” in the United States, you can choose from them since gaining admission into a well-known ivy school is very competitive.

Attending a Public Ivy can be just as good as attending an Ivy League school for many students.

Sure, going to an Ivy League comes with name familiarity, prestige, and an acknowledged sense of accomplishment from peers.

However, what if we told you that many schools have programs just as good as those in the ivies. See 10 Non-Ivy League Schools.

There are plenty of other options out there that rank high in academics, admissions, financial aid, and student experiences; in fact, many of these schools are equally good, or even better, to the actual Ivies in some of their programs.

In fact, some universities have specific majors that, by many accounts, are significantly better than all of the Ivy League colleges in the country.

What makes a school here considered as good as an Ivy?

Two of the foremost higher education experts in the US, Howard and Matthew Greene, classified a group of schools as “The Hidden Ivies” in a book they published by the same name.

In the book (there are several editions), they list these “Hidden Ivies” and explore the true meaning of ivy league.

Here are the 10 Best “Hidden Ivies” in the United States

  • Southern Methodist University
  • University of the South (Sewanee)
  • Lehigh University
  • Colorado College
  • Macalester College
  • Colgate University
  • University of Richmond
  • Oberlin College
  • Skidmore College
  • Case Western Reserve University

1. Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist University, situated just outside of Dallas, is home to more than 6,000 undergraduate students and nearly as many graduate students, making it the largest school on this list.

Just because it is the largest doesn’t mean it sacrifices quality. This year it was ranked No. 64 in national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked it the second top school in Texas, of more than 300 colleges and universities. See Southern Methodist University Acceptance Rate.

One of the most impressive parts of SMU is its extensive list of notable alumni. They include Laura Bush, former First Lady of Texas and the United States; a number of award-winning actors, including Brian Baumgartner or “Kevin” from “The Office;”

Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS; John Tyson, the chair of Tyson Foods; and Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder, and CEO of Bumble and co-founder of Tinder.

This is good news for current students, too, who can network with these powerful graduates. In fact, the Princeton Review ranked SMU No. 6 for internship opportunities and No. 13 for its alumni network. SMU’s motto sums it up perfectly: World Changers Shaped Here.

2. University of the South (Sewanee)

Situated amongst the mountains and forest, the University of the South sits between Nashville and Chattanooga and is home to a little more than 1,700 undergraduate students, making it one of the smallest schools on our list.

Sewanee is an Episcopal school, and its values show throughout campus. In “Hidden Ivies,” Howard and Matthew Greene describe the historical All Saints’ Chapel as the focal point of the campus.

Its school of theology attracts graduate students, and the campus offers a number of optional religious on-campus programs, like Bible studies and small groups.

Sewanee prides itself on its tight-knit community. Nearly all of its students live on campus, which is called the Domain.

The 13,000 acres allow students to conduct scientific research, study the environment, and even go hiking and rafting.

The school offers 36 majors, ranging from the earth and environmental systems to medieval studies to music.

The School of Letters is particularly well known. It houses the university’s English and creative writing programs. In fact, Sewanee is home of the “Sewanee Review,” which is the country’s oldest continuously published literary journal.

According to “Hidden Ivies,” Sewanee is one of the top producers for Rhodes Scholars and has had plenty of Watson and Fulbright Scholars, too. Additionally, 96 percent of graduates who apply to law or medical schools after graduation are accepted.

3. Lehigh University

Lehigh University, a school of a little more than 5,000 undergraduate students, was established by a businessman and industrialist who was looking for more people educated in science and technology who could carry out innovative research in the 1860s.

Today, the school is still well-known for its sciences, math, computer science, technology, engineering, and business programs.

But don’t discount the arts. Lehigh, due in part to its short distance from New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, also pulls talented musical and theater students.

Greek life is popular on campus — approximately one-third of students are members of a sorority or fraternity — and the school has more than 200 student organizations. Community service is also important, with students collecting more than 65,000 hours per year.

Lehigh has produced some impressive alumni, too. They include Pulitzer Prize winners, Fulbright Fellows, and Medal of Science winners.

4. Colorado College

Colorado College, a liberal arts college of about 2,000 undergraduate students, is perfectly set amongst the Rocky Mountains.

The school’s acceptance rate for the class of 2013 was just 13.5 percent, making it the most competitive on this list.

See: Colorado College Acceptance Rate

What makes the school truly stand out from others is its Block Plan. Rather than students taking multiple classes throughout the fall, spring, or summer semesters, Colorado College students take one class at a time for three-and-a-half weeks.

This Block Plan allows students to truly immerse themselves in a subject, rather than trying to juggle Shakespeare readings with math homework and biology labs.

The same amount of material is covered in a block as it would be in a semester. Plus, students get four-and-a-half day “Block Breaks,” a time for them to recharge by hiking, skiing, mountain biking, volunteering, or taking a quick trip into Denver.

Colorado College is not one to fly under the radar, either. It’s recently snagged some state and national honors, including getting ranked as one of America’s Top Colleges of 2019 by Forbes, and it was voted the No. 3 most innovative liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report.

5. Macalester College

Macalester College is exceptional in that it is a selective, undergraduate-only liberal arts college located not in a small town but in a large Midwestern metropolitan area.

This gives its students ample opportunities to take part in community service projects and internships.

In “Hidden Ivies,” Howard and Matthew Greene quote one student who said, “Macalester benefits from a combination of big-city resources and everything that is great about a small liberal arts college — small classes, a sense of community, professors deeply committed to teaching.”

Macalester College is also dedicated to supporting multiculturalism and creating a global community.

Nearly one-third of the student body is comprised of students of color, and 24 percent of students are citizens of another country, representing 97 countries.

The school’s Civic Engagement Center encourages student activism. It brings students, faculty members, and local partners together to work on projects aimed at creating a more just and sustainable community.

From “Hidden Ivies,” students describe the school as progressive, international, engaged, rigorous, diverse, activist-oriented, and friendly.


This is the end of this article. To this end, we believe you have been able to come across various universities that you can choose to commence your admission process. Don’t forget to share your thoughts concerning this article with us using the comment section.

Last Updated on July 16, 2023 by Admin

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