Discovering the Ivy Canopied Underbrush

Published Tuesday, February 8, 2011 by Tarang

Pull up your stockings, juniors, because you’re going to be taking the SATs this year. But besides taking this life defining examination, you have to do some target practice as well. This means that it is time to start thinking about the schools you want to apply to for the fall. If your mind is set on red brick buildings, gabled roofs, and top-ranked names, you must be thinking about the Ivy League schools (or UCLA, the only red brick UC out there). Now as a Californian, you are familiar with certain Ivies such as Harvard, Princeton, or Yale. These are, of course, admirable schools to apply to but don’t count out a lesser known league of schools called the Little Ivies.

These are small, private liberal arts schools that are referred to unofficially as the Little Ivies. While they started off as small arts programs, many of them have blossomed into full-fledged research schools boasting of top-notch undergraduate and graduate programs. If you aim for the arts or humanities, then these schools are obviously good choices for you.

However, science and math inclined students tend to lean towards large research universities and sometimes forget about the smaller schools. But if you are not comfortable with large class sizes (I’m talking 300 people in one lecture hall), then never forget to look into liberal arts colleges. Here is a list of the Little Ivies:

  • Amherst College
  • Bates College
  • Bowdoin College
  • Colby College
  • Colgate University
  • Connecticut College
  • Hamilton College
  • Haverford College
  • Middlebury College
  • Swarthmore College
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College

Here are some notable facts about some of these institutes:

  1. Wesleyan University premeds have a high matriculation rate into US Medical Schools. Sometimes over 90% of Wesleyan premeds get accepted into medical school.
  2. Hamilton College strongly believes in an honor code, so that means you might be taking a test without a proctor. Wouldn’t that be nice for a change?
  3. Amherst College revels in the fact that their undergraduates are prone to take on double majors, triple majors, and sometimes even design their own major. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.

You can find more info about these schools at their websites (duh) and also look for digested facts about them on US News or Forbes Magazine. Also, if you’re looking for light reading before bed like any good student should, read Hidden Ivies: Thirty Colleges of Excellence.

Just as J. K. Rowling felt that the wand chooses the wizard, sometimes the school chooses the student. Visit schools of all sizes, shapes, and prestige and get a feel for their campus. While you may go to Bowdoin College and all your Cupertino friends will look confused as to what school you’re talking about (and how to pronounce that name), you might just find the satisfaction you were searching for in a college.


comments powered by Disqus