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10 “Southern Ivies” As Good As The Actual Ivies

Are you a future student who is looking for a school that has academic excellence like the well-recognized ivy league schools?

Then, this article is meant for you because we will be emphasizing 10 excellent schools that are located in the southern part of the United States which are known “Southern Ivies” that are as good as the actual Ivies in this article. Let’s get started!

Ivy League universities are renowned not only in the United States, but also around the world for their record of academic excellence, prestige, important research contributions, and illustrious alumni. See if Brown University is Ivy League.

Many of today’s most influential thought leaders, politicians, researchers, inventors, business moguls, and philanthropists graduated from Ivy League institutions, which further boosts the prestige and selectivity of this group of universities.

Aside from the well known Ivy League universities, there are other universities that have programs just as good as those in the Ivies. Some of these Universities are grouped under Southern Ivy.

What is Southern Ivy?

Southern Ivy is an informal term, and not an official body, that has been used in the U.S. to compare Southern universities to the schools of the northeastern Ivy League in some way, usually in academic quality or in social prestige.

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

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

Here are the 10 “Southern Ivies” As Good As the Actual Ivies

  • Southern Methodist University
  • Davidson College
  • University of Miami
  • Vanderbilt University
  • University of Richmond
  • Washington & Lee University
  • UNC-Chapel Hill
  • Belmont University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Tulane University

1. Southern Methodist University

Southern Methodist is a school rising on the ranking charts; it currently sits in the top 100 in publications by US News, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes Magazine.

The list of accomplished alumni from SMU is extensive. They include former First Lady Laura Bush, three Pulitzer Prize winners, an Oscar winning actress in Kathy Bates, and CEOs of major airlines such as British Airways and Virgin America.

Home to a $1.7bn endowment, several of the constituent schools at SMU are as prestigious in the south as Ivies are on the east coast. See Southern Methodist University Acceptance Rate.

These include Dedman School of Law, which has graduated five Fortune 500 executives, the most of any school according to this article, White House Counsel, and Federal judges.

Although the school is affiliated with the Methodist Church, it is actually nonsectarian in education and enrolls students of all backgrounds.

Students at SMU benefit tremendously from the resources of Dallas, getting the best of a major city urban experience with the focus and academic wherewithal of a top Southern Ivy.

2. Davidson College

One of the nation’s great liberal arts colleges, Davidson is probably best known to the everyday person as the school that graduated NBA superstar Stephen Curry.

However, the list of amazing alumni does not stop at Steph Curry; an incredible 23 Rhodes Scholars have once called Davidson College their home.

Davidson is great for the student who desires exploration; an impressive 3/4ths of the student body does at least one study abroad term during their 4 years at Davidson.

True to its liberal arts college heritage, Davidson also has a small student: teacher ratio, making 1-on-1 learning and attention a staple of the Davidson experience.

One of the nation’s best schools, this Southern Ivy is currently ranked in the top 20 on the US News Liberal Arts College list.

3. University of Miami

Based in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida, the University of Miami is home to many of the south’s very best programs.

Its music program, the Frost School of Music, is widely recognized among the best programs for classical music, contemporary music, and musical theatre. The acceptance rate into Frost is among the lowest of all university-based music schools.

As a whole, the University of Miami is classified as a “R1” research institution by the Carnegie Classification; less than 2% of all schools in the United States have achieved this prestigious designation.

Several niche programs at Miami are ranked highly by US News; majors in Physical Therapy, Game Design, and Clinical Training have recently been ranked in the top 25. See University of Miami Transfer Acceptance Rate.

4. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt is widely recognized as one of the best universities in the country. Olympians, Oscar winners, MacArthur Fellows, and even a Grammy recipient have counted themselves among the numerous alumni of this prestigious university.

Like the next school on this list, Vanderbilt has been awarded the “R1” research designation by the Carnegie classification, an accolade just a tiny proportion of US schools can claim. See Vanderbilt University Early Decision Acceptance Rate.

Vandy takes the #1 prize for an unusual – but important – ranking: the school with the happiest students. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Vanderbilt among the top for this achievement.

Why is Vanderbilt such a happy school? The Princeton Review looked at the following factors in its assessment: safety, location, residence halls, cafeteria quality, and even excellent financial aid packages.

Vanderbilt is the highest-ranked school on this list according to US News, coming in at #15 of all universities nationwide.

5. University of Richmond

“Spider Pride” is ubiquitous at the University of Richmond, one of the nation’s most intriguing small universities.

With less than 5,000 total students, the atmosphere at Richmond is studious, safe, and not overwhelming; students rarely feel like they are “lost in a crowd” as they may in a large university.

Many students desire to attend this university, however, just 1/4th of all applicants are admitted to the school.

The Princeton Review rates the University of Richmond favorably, having awarded it top-5 rankings for best-run school, best career services, best schools for internships, and best classroom experience.

The campus life at Richmond is vibrant, brimming with campus tradition. Some of these traditions include the crowning of the largest goose in nearby Westhampton Lake, and Pig Roast, a large gathering of students and alumni that has featured musical artists such as Flo Rida.

The University of Richmond has the feeling of a liberal arts college with the resources and endowment of a large university, making it a great fit for the student who wants the best of both worlds.

6. Washington & Lee University

Like another school later on this list, Washington and Lee is one of the nation’s most prestigious liberal arts colleges, with US News ranking the school #10 in their recent rankings of the top liberal arts colleges.

Legacy is at the heart of the Washington and Lee experience; it is actually the 9th oldest institution of higher education in the US.

The total number of students at this school is between 2200 – 2300, making it one of the smallest “Southern Ivies” on this list.

Washington Monthly ranked Washington and Lee the #1 liberal arts college in the country.


This is the end of this article on 10 “Southern Ivies” that are as good as the actual ivies. I hope you were able to find a school that is appealing to you in it. Don’t fail to ask your questions based on this article, using the comment section.

Last Updated on July 15, 2023 by Admin

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