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Best Ivy Fits for 2025?

julia387julia387 2 replies2 threads New Member

I am a rising senior going through the college process right now, and I am trying to figure out which colleges will fit my personality, passions, and goals the best. I haven't done a ton of in depth research into the Ivies, but I am leaning toward Yale and Brown currently from the research I have done.

I go to a boarding school, so there will be a lot of competition for these schools. I am not super concerned about getting in based on grades/test scores/ECs, because I am in good shape academically among my peers and I am very involved at my school. My main concern is fit I guess, so if anyone can offer any insight it would be appreciated!

I am really passionate about academics, specifically politics, history, and science, and I love learning and am dedicated to being in spaces where I can learn the most in. I am also very sociable and extroverted, so I guess it isn't all work and no play, and I consider myself easy going and always open to meeting new people. I am also involved in social movements and activism in my community, and I consider myself to be a leader type who loves to mobilize groups and teach others about the things I care about. I guess I really want to find a school where the culture pushes students academically while giving them an outlet to do what they care about and get involved outside of the community as well.

I am most likely going to apply with an Undecided major, but whichever major I pick will probably have something to do with history or politics, and I want to go to law school after college and pursue a career as an attorney or legal advocate. As for my own preferences for schools, I think I would do best in an urban environment or a suburban environment near a city, and I'd like to go to a school with a large and diverse undergrad student body. I am also looking for places where students have more say in the classes they take and where experimentation is okay. I also appreciate a competitive culture (I do come from a boarding school, after all), but not an extremely cutthroat or intense one.

Do you think I fit what the two schools I'm leaning toward are looking for? Are there any other schools (Ivy or non-Ivy) where I would likely fit well and should do more research on?
edited August 26
11 replies
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Replies to: Best Ivy Fits for 2025?

  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 515 replies2 threads Member
    Disclaimer: I'm an incoming First-Year at Brown who did not apply to Yale, but I do know students who go to Yale.

    You should probably post in the Yale or Brown threads on CC to get more people familiar with each school to comment.

    Brown and Yale are vastly different schools curriculum-wise, so that should definitely be part of your decision.

    I wrote a brief guide for pre-health students (but applies to everyone,) that gives comparisons and differences IMO between the schools: https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/ivy-league/2193795-a-pre-healths-guide-to-the-ivies.html#latest

    If you do like Brown more, I highly, highly recommend that you apply ED, but ONLY if ALL of the following are true:

    1. You LOVE Brown and would 110% attend if admitted.

    2. You are confident that you can write a well thought out and crafted application by the ED deadline of November 1st.

    3. You and your family can afford Brown if admitted (run financial aid calculators if applicable.)

    If you still have any questions about Brown or the admissions process, feel free to let me know! My ADVICE is definitely more geared towards a more normal application cycle, but definitely applies since I applied last year. Make sure to write @PikachuRocks15 at the beginning of the post as otherwise CC will not notify me lol.

    Hope this helps! Good luck with admissions! :smile:
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  • MWolfMWolf 3005 replies14 threads Senior Member
    julia387 wrote: »

    I go to a boarding school, so there will be a lot of competition for these schools. I am not super concerned about getting in based on grades/test scores/ECs, because I am in good shape academically among my peers and I am very involved at my school. My main concern is fit I guess, so if anyone can offer any insight it would be appreciated!

    I applaud your attitude of considering what a college could offer to you, and whether the colleges fits you. However, you should likely be putting a lot more effort in doing the same thing to colleges which are targets and to a safety than to colleges which are reaches or high reaches.

    While I am sure that you are in very good shape academically, so are at least 1/3 of all students who are applying to colleges like Yale. Since these colleges are accepting about 5%-7% of all applicants, AND half of those places are going to applicants with various "hooks", the chances of any applicant, no matter how good their GPA or ECs, are pretty low.

    Unless you are a legacy and your parents are donating a lot of money, a recruited athlete, or have gained national fame for some reason or a another, there are about 5 times as many applicants like you as these colleges will accept. If you apply RD, that ratio will increase.

    Apply, by all means, but don't start planning your life at the Ivy of your choice.

    In any case,
    julia387 wrote: »
    I am also looking for places where students have more say in the classes they take and where experimentation is okay.

    I would say that you should choose Brown, and start looking at other colleges.

    In any case, for people to help you, you will need to provide a bit more info, like GPA, classes, a bit more about your ECs, what your parents can afford, etc. Nothing that can make you identifiable, of course, just basics.

    Good luck!
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  • julia387julia387 2 replies2 threads New Member
    @MWolf Hi! Thank you so much for the info. Again, it isn't really a chance me thing because that's in the colleges' hands based on what they're looking for (I already know I am baseline academically admissable, as many applicants are!) and as for my ECs, most are related to social justice, community service, and the humanities, and I have a lot of high-up leadership positions. I fill out all ten spots on the Common App activities list (with one being my summer program and one being my summer job), but all others are year round school organizations I've been involved in 3-4 years of high school. I'd say I have a pretty unique background among applicants from my school, and I go to a 'feeder' (although I hate that word and that concept) boarding school-- think Exeter, Andover, Choate, Taft, Groton, Deerfield, etc. My experience at a PWI has definitely made me want to look for a place that is community-centric and inclusive with the same academic rigor and prestige, so a student activist culture is important to me. I am low-income, but I am not super worried about paying for college, because most of the schools currently on my Common App have very generous aid packages and I have done cost calculators for Yale and Brown. Other schools I have done research on that I am interested in include UWash, Amherst, UVA, CMC, and a couple of the UCs (harder to pay for!), but I guess I just want the input of people more familiar with these schools on whether I seem to be a good fit for them, since they are my reaches and I will apply to one of them (leaning toward Yale) early. I definitely do have a hook, but again, I don't want to be identifiable for personal security!

    Again, thank you so much.
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  • MWolfMWolf 3005 replies14 threads Senior Member
    I'll second that proposal for Questbridge - I think that you are pretty much what they are looking for - high achieving, low income applicant.

    As for being a good fit - I still think that Brown would be a good fit.

    However - what is your safety? What college are you certain will accept you, you will be able to afford, AND you would be happy to attend?

    I think that Pomona would be a better fit for you than CMC, and Pitzer would be even better, because of their curriculum, and WashU would not be a good fit at all, IMO (I assume that you are talking about WashU, St Louis). Williams is rural, so perhaps not a good fit for somebody interested in an Urban/Suburban school.

    I would swap WashU out for a "match" college
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 3108 replies5 threads Senior Member
    I'd recommend Yale because of the SCEA option and the flexibility it gives. Both colleges look like good fits for you, but I'm not a big fan of ED especially for strong applicants.

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35696 replies403 threads Senior Member
    You've researched what you want. But what gets you closer to an admit is understanding what they want. They do the choosing.

    The most competitive colleges will care less about declarations of your confidence and extroversion, leadership, etc. It can be a risky approach. It's more about the energies you actually show, choices you've made, how you stepped outside the hs "box." And more, including some nice gal/guy who'll fit and thrive, interact in multiple ways, try different things, not just what drives him or her. Some humility matters.
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  • julia387julia387 2 replies2 threads New Member
    @lookingforward I mean I'm obviously not going to just write "I'm extroverted and I have leadership skills please accept me" on my application-- what I share on the internet isn't exactly what is going on my common app, and for privacy reasons I already said I wasn't going to specifically list all of my extracurriculars and achievements. I was just asking people familiar with these schools whether my interests and priorities would make me fit in on the campus. This isn't a chance me by any means.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35696 replies403 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for clarifying. Yes, the diversity and drives of students at a highly competitive and urban college could suit you well. But there are, as you know, others where activism, compassion, energy are also fostered. Your own impact may come from "city" or could be from the opportunities in less urban settings with issues you can dig into.

    The opportunity for community engagement and impact factored very large in D1's targets. Huge, after her major. Plus diversity, size and the rest of "fit."

    It is not a major city, but just to see one example, look at Bates, in Maine. Look at what the city is facing and the college's substantial "community partnership" program. She had the opportunity to engage in multiple ways, politics, advocacy, schools, the immigrant community, and more. And good financial aid.
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  • compmomcompmom 12095 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Amherst and Brown but have curricula with a lot of freedom. As I remember Yale has quite a few distribution requirements. Colorado College has students take one class at a time- does that interest you?

    Brown's financial aid is not as good as Yale's and probably Amherst's (or at least that was true a few years ago; Brown did get rid of loans). Make sure to compare costs.

    Check out the "little Ivies" (google), and the Colleges that Change Lives website. Schools like Tufts, Vassar, Barnard (if you are female), Pomona....many others. By all means look into Questbridge.

    Since we don't know much about your EC's, your background or your hook it is hard to answer about fit.

    It's good that you seem to realize that academics just puts you in the pool.
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  • XAB235XAB235 11 replies0 threads New Member
    Providence and New Haven are both small cities, but with very different feel to them. For my money, I would pick Providence, which was looking so lovely last time I visited. Both towns would offer plenty of opportunity for community engagement and activism and put you on the direct train line to DC, NYC and Boston.
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