Most people are familiar with Ivy League colleges and have a good idea that attending one is extremely prestigious. There are many, many other academically rigorous and difficult colleges to attend. The terms The Little Three, The Little Ivies and The Hidden Ivies are sometimes confusing to follow. Not only do they have similar names, I was shocked to hear from some parents who had never heard of some colleges and didn’t realize the extent of their daughter’s success being accepted. Below is an explanation of the different groupings. Hope having a list in one place helps.

The League of Ivy it is made up of 8 schools that all compete in the same NCAA Division 1 athletic conference. The schools are Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Brown, Dartmouth and Cornell.

Ivy League schools are considered to be some of the most prestigious and best ranked universities. According to US News and World Report on college and university rankings, all Ivy League institutions place in the top 15 with 5 finishes in the top 5.

They are all found in the northeastern region of the United States.

Enrollment ranges from 4,000 to 14,000 undergraduates, making them larger than most private liberal arts colleges but smaller than a state university. There are no athletic scholarships; financial aid is based on need.

The “Little Three is an unofficial athletic conference of three elite liberal arts colleges: Amherst, Wesleyan and Williams. These are three of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation and very hard to get into. The Little Three first began competing in this triangular championship in 1899, and by 1920 they took on the nickname the “Little Three”. This is in contrast to the “Big Three” universities (Harvard, Yale and Princeton, HYP), in the Ivy League.

The NESCAC or New England Small College Athletic Conference is an NCAA Division 3 athletic conference of 11 highly selective liberal arts colleges: Amherst, Williams, Wesleyan, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut, Hamilton, Middlebury, Trinity, and Tufts. There are rules regarding the length of the season, the number of races, and postseason competition. There are no athletic scholarships; financial aid is based solely on need.

The “Little Ivy” it is not an official term or group. Refers to a small group of highly selective liberal arts colleges. The list includes all colleges in NESCAC (above) except Connecticut College, along with Colgate, Haverford, Swarthmore, and Vassar. Also note that Tufts is no longer a small Liberal Arts College, but has grown into a larger research university.

As you can see, all of the colleges listed above are highly selective, very difficult to get into, and are highly regarded. One of the biggest differences between the Ivy League and the “Little Ivies” would be their athletic grouping. Ivy League schools are part of the Division 1 league, which trains and competes year-round. Little Ivy Colleges are in the Division 3 athletic team and compete only during their respective sports seasons.

For an outstanding student-athlete who wanted to compete in 2 sports, a NESCAC Division 3 college could satisfy both academic and athletic desires and be a great match!

Currently, here is a list of the top 20 colleges and another for the top 20 universities listed in US News and World Report on college and university rankings. Keep in mind that there are many lists that vary. US News rankings are most often used.

Liberal Arts College Rankings:

When colleges are ranked equal, they share the same number in ().

  1. Williams College
  2. Amherst College
  3. Swarthmore College
  4. Pomona College
  5. Middlebury College
  6. Bowdoin College
  7. (6) Carleton College
  8. (6) Wellesley College
  9. Claremount Mckenna College
  10. Haverford College
  11. Davidson College
  12. University of Washington and Lee
  13. Wesleyan University
  14. United States Military Academy
  15. United States Naval Academy
  16. Vassar college
  17. Hamilton College
  18. Harvey Mudd College
  19. Grinnell College
  20. Smith college

National university rankings:

  1. Harvard University
  2. princeton university
  3. Yale University
  4. Columbia University
  5. California Institute of Technology
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  7. Stanford University
  8. University of Chicago
  9. University of Pennsylvania
  10. Duke University
  11. Dartmouth College
  12. Northwest University
  13. Johns Hopkins University
  14. Washington University in St. Louis
  15. Brown University
  16. Cornell University
  17. Rice University
  18. Vanderbilt University
  19. University of Notre Dame
  20. Emory University

To learn more about how to ensure your student has the best chance in the college admissions process, check out http://www.harvardmomadvice.com

By skadmin

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