What is ‘Ivy Day?’ Your guide to elite college admissions’ big day (2023)

Whether you’re itching to become a Columbia Lion or Yale Bulldog (or for your kid to), you may have heard of mumblings of “Ivy Day” as of late in these parts.

You may recall eagerly checking the mailbox during your senior year in high school to see if you were accepted to one or more of your top colleges. For the elite waiting to hear back from prestigious Ivy League schools, the preparation began long before many of us were even thinking about school.

These days, the nail-biting remains the same, though the big reveal now takes place in cyberspace, and all on March 30, aka “Ivy Day.”

It’s no surprise that given the fierce competition, families start preparing early in the tri-state area.

“While starting on the college admissions process over a decade in advance may sound excessive, parents are right to be concerned about the stakes of admissions to Ivy League schools. Over the last decade, these elite universities have become more competitive than ever before,” said Christopher Rim, Founder and CEO of Command Education, based in the West Village in New York City, pointing to the fact that for the Class of 2026, Harvard received 61,221 applicants, 3.2% of which were accepted and Columbia received 60,377 applicants, 3.73% of which were accepted.

“There are going to be a lot of stressed-outteens and families as Ivy League applicants frantically hit refresh on their portals to see their results,” said Laurie Kopp Weingarten, president and co-founder of One-Stop College Counseling, based in Marlboro, New Jersey, and offering college consultant services nationwide specializing in students applying to the most selective colleges in the country.

(Worth noting: Ivy Day only occurs in the spring with the Regular Decision release; In the fall, each of the Ivies release their early results on a day of their choice, with no coordination among the group, said Kopp Weingarten.)

“There will be lots of happy tears and screams, but many more expressions of dismay, and sometimes, even anger,” she said, conceding that the odds are not in a student’s favor. “The competition is tough; there aren’t enough beds in the Ivy League to take all of these high-achieving students,” continued Kopp Weingarten. “And if a student isn’t admitted into an Ivy under the Early Decision (Cornell, Penn, Brown, Dartmouth, and Columbia) or the Restricted/Single Choice Early Action plan (Harvard, Princeton, and Yale), the odds are low, in the single digits.”

In fact, as Kopp Weingarten shared in an example below, for the classes of 2025 and 2026, the chances of getting accepted into the esteemed Ivies are about as likely as walking into Levain Bakery without a line:

  • Brown (class of 2026): 15% Early Decision; 4% Regular Decision
  • Columbia (class of 2025): 12% Early Decision; 3% Regular Decision
  • Cornell (class of 2026): 19% Early Decision; 5% Regular Decision
  • Dartmouth (class of 2026): 20% accepted Early Decision; 5% Regular Decision
  • Harvard (class of 2026): 8% Restricted Early Action; 2% Regular Decision
  • Penn (class of 2025): 15% Early Decision, 4% Regular Decision
  • Princeton (class of 2025): 4% total
  • Yale (class of 2026): 11% Single Choice Early Action; 3% Regular Decision

(Note: In the media, colleges report total admission rates, not Regular Decision admission rates, which are even lower.)

But wait, there’s more.

“When you speak with admission officers, they’ll share with you that up to 80% of the applicants to these colleges are highly qualified, meaning competition is incredibly fierce,” Dr. Robert Kohen, PhD, an independent educational consultant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, who holds a Certificate in College Admissions and Career Planning from UC Berkeley, a Ph.D. from Harvard and a B.A. from Columbia.

That means that even if you or your child or loved one had the chops to get accepted into the selective eight, the admissions team may still pass you over in favor of someone else. “Truly exceptional students who do everything right in the admissions process still have no guarantee of acceptance, given these numbers and each institution’s focus on its own set of priorities for any given year,” said Kohen.

“With such steep competition, Ivy League admissions are no longer about whether a student is valedictorian of their class or received a perfect SAT score — elite schools are looking for students with singular focus and demonstrable passions,” Rim added.

And going to Trinity or Chapin isn’t your surefire ticket to the Ivies, either. “While some families assume that the rigor and prestige of a private school will all but guarantee admissions to a top-tier college or university, this is not the case — even prestigious private schools largely lack the resources to help students develop their admissions profile in the focused way that appeals to Ivy League and other top-tier schools,” said Rim. “Many parents find that despite paying the steep price for private school, they require the assistance of private college admissions consultants who are able to devote individualized attention to their student’s needs and goals.”

(Speaking of which, 100% of students working with Rim’s company who applied Early Action to Harvard during the last admissions cycle were admitted, as reported in The Post.)

Whether you win, lose, or waitlist, here’s how to play the game come March 30.

What to do if you’re accepted

Congrats, kid. Let your parents book that celebratory dinner reservation at Mory’s or head up to Morningside Heights for a tipple at 1020.

“You are now a member of a select group of students from across the globe. Take a minute, or a day, to let this victory soak in,” said LeeAnne Jackson Rogers, owner and college admissions coach of Life Design with LeeAnne in Dallas, Texas. “But then it’s time to get to work! If you were in this group, you were likely accepted to multiple top-tier universities,” she said, noting that you have until May 1 to commit, so you should prioritize visiting the campus in person or speaking to an alum who can tell you about their experience. “And don’t forget to consider any scholarships you may have been offered from other schools. Ivies are elite and come with a price tag that reflects their status,” added Jackson Rogers.

Kohen echoed this sentiment, adding that “students should attend an admitted students’ day, trying to spend the night and sit in on a class of interest,” he said. “They should speak with existing students, especially those in their intended major.”

Kopp Weingarten has one more piece of hard-won wisdom for accepted students on Ivy Day: She reminds students that there are many more disappointed teens than happy teens coming out of the occasion. “It’s nice to not brag or go overboard with your celebrations for the students who are dealing with the rejection.” she said.

What to do if you’re waitlisted

Fall into this camp? You’re a rare breed. “Waitlist admit rates tend to be low and can vary by year,” said Kohen.

“One of the best things a waitlisted applicant can do is write and send a letter of continued interest, which is a brief note addressed to the college’s admissions committee updating the school on a student’s progress since their application was submitted,” Rim explains.

“Students should include important academic updates such as positive changes in their GPA, academic awards and honors, or independent academic projects — whether research, online courses, or academic internships.” But, as Rim stated, these letters should not be generic: “letters of continued interest should be memorable, unique, and quirky to make the student stand out from the hundreds of other applicants who were waitlisted.”

You “might even consider revisiting the school to express their interest in enrolling in person if it’s their first choice,” Kohen adds. On the emotional front, Kohen urges students to reconcile themselves to the fact that an acceptance is very unlikely and turn their focus to colleges that have accepted them.

Along those lines, Jackson Rogers said that with the number of students who are applying to more top schools due to the continuation of test-optional policies, there will be students who do get off the waitlist, although not many.

“First, prioritize your list of where you were accepted and narrow down your top waitlist school,” she said, elaborating that you will have to submit a deposit for your second choice, which is likely non-refundable, however, you can remain on the waitlist for your dream Ivy. Like Kohen, Jackson Rogers advocates sending a letter of continued interest.

Additionally, she commented that you should update the school with details of what you have accomplished since submitting your application. “An updated transcript with higher grades won’t hurt, either. This is also why college counselors tell you senior grades matter,” she said. “You’ll need to move forward with plans for your admitted school but know that you might need to pivot if you are offered a spot off the waitlist after each Ivy receives their enrollments and can determine if they have any open spots.”

Bottom line: “It’s not healthy to sit around hoping to get off a waiting list!” said Kopp Weingarten. That’s why she says to go get excited about a college where you were admitted and treat yourself to a t-shirt or sweatshirt from that school instead.

What to do if you’re rejected

Maybe we should have started here first, since the reality is that the vast majority of aspiring Lions, Tigers and Bears don’t get into an Ivy League school.

Since Kopp Weingarten and her team focuses on Ivy League and other highly selective admissions, they try to let students know early on if they have zero chance at admission to colleges at that level. “For example, a straight B student should not be applying to Dartmouth, even if they took all Honors/AP classes and have a perfect SAT or ACT score,” she said of setting expectations early in the process. (Always helpful, in all aspects of life, folks.)

“But if a student who truly seemed qualified is rejected, part of growing up is learning to deal with disappointments and set-backs,” said Kopp Weingarten, stressing that a college decision does not and should not define you. “So if a student is rejected, they can wallow for a day or two, then take the attitude of, ‘It’s the school’s loss; I’m going to love the colleges that loved me back.’ They should enjoy choosing among the choices they have, and dive head-first into the college they select,” she continued. “Most students we work with love their colleges, but if it doesn’t work out, they can always try to transfer.”

Students should also focus on composing themselves in this scenario for the sake of their friends and siblings. Seeing your rejection letters might help them pave their own college applications’ path. “For younger students who may be witnessing older siblings or friends receive rejections, the experience should instill the value of a balanced college list. While rejections are always disappointing, a balanced college list ensures that an applicant has an ample amount of other solid options that align with their skills and interests,” said Rim. “Having desirable secondary options can eliminate some of the stress of receiving a rejection from a student’s top school.”

You can also take solace in embracing Jackson Rogers’ attitude: “Remember, there’s always grad school, and you can apply to seek redemption in another three years.”

Quips aside, while Ivy Day seems like the biggest day of your life, know “that there are many more accomplishments in your future, and you should take the time to feel proud of all the hard work you have put in twelve years of education to graduate and move on to college,” she said.

Or, as Kopp Weingarten framed it, the bumper sticker is nice, but the goal is to be happy where you end up and to take advantage of all that is offered. “It truly is important to find a ‘best fit’ college,” said Kopp Weingarten, right before casually weaving in that her son graduated in 2018 with a Princeton diploma.


What is ‘Ivy Day?’ Your guide to elite college admissions’ big day? ›

Ivy Day is the day, usually in late March, when all Ivy League schools release their regular admissions decisions online. The eight Ivies—Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale—typically release their decisions at the same exact time as well.

What day is Ivy decision day? ›

When is Ivy Day? Ivy Day typically occurs in late March or early April every year. Ivy Day 2023 will occur on March 30, 2023. Ivy Day 2022 fell on March 31, 2022.

What is Ivy Day in college? ›

In the world of college admissions, “Ivy Day” is the day that most, if not all, Ivy League colleges release their admissions decisions. This year, the big date is March 30! In case you were wondering, Ivy Day happens without direct coordination between the colleges.

What day is Ivy Day 2023? ›

Right now, Ivy Day is March 30, 2023.

What is Ivy Day in high school? ›

A pivotal moment in many high-achieving students' lives is the one day a year – colloquially referred to as Ivy Day – on which all the Ivy League schools release their Regular Decision admissions decisions in the evening.

What is the most accepting Ivy League? ›

1. Which Ivy League School has the highest acceptance rate? Recent data shows Cornell University is the Ivy League school with the highest acceptance rate.

Which Ivy League is the easiest to get into early decision? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.

Why is it called Ivy Day? ›

These were traditions in the 1800's where the classes would plant ivy around the school. Penn, for example, planted ivy at every building in the spring and the day was known as “Ivy Day.” A number of these colleges shared the same traditions!

Is Ivy Day the same every year? ›

This day, known as Ivy Day, varies slightly each year but usually takes place in late March or early April.

What are Ivy Day acceptance rates? ›

Other Ivy League institutions, including Harvard, Yale, Brown, and Columbia, have released admissions statistics on Ivy Day the past two years. This year, Harvard accepted 3.41 percent of its applicants, Yale accepted 4.35 percent, Columbia accepted 3.9 percent, and Brown accepted 5 percent.

What colleges release decisions on Ivy Day? ›

Ivy Day is the day, usually in late March, when all Ivy League schools release their regular admissions decisions online. The eight Ivies—Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, and Yale—typically release their decisions at the same exact time as well.

Which Ivy is the most fun? ›

Campus happiness: Brown is widely known as the happiest Ivy, perhaps because of students' freedom to choose courses with almost complete autonomy. Students report feeling less competition amongst themselves and an overall sense of campus community.

Has anyone gotten into every ivy? ›

"I just decided to shoot my shot at all of them and see if it would land," says Ashley Adirika, a Nigerian American teen who was accepted into all eight Ivy League schools.

Which high schools send the most kids to Ivy League? ›

Top US Private Schools with the Most Graduates Getting Into Ivy League Universities
  • The College Preparatory School, Oakland, CA. ...
  • Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH. ...
  • Harvard-Westlake School, Los Angeles, CA. ...
  • Chapin, New York, NY. ...
  • St. ...
  • The Dalton School, New York, NY. ...
  • The Winsor School, Boston, MA.
Oct 15, 2015

How to impress an Ivy League school? ›

10 Application Tips To Stand Out To Ivy League Colleges During The Admissions Process
  1. Start early. ...
  2. Do thoughtful college research. ...
  3. Take time to write strong essays. ...
  4. Answer optional supplemental questions. ...
  5. Submit supplemental materials. ...
  6. Emphasize uniqueness, leadership, and impact. ...
  7. Submit test scores strategically.
Sep 6, 2022

What is Hidden Ivy school? ›

The Hidden Ivies are colleges and universities considered to rival the eight Ivy League schools without being part of that prestigious group. These schools offer similar academic opportunities to students but might get overlooked because of their lack of popularity when compared to the famous Ivies.

Will one C ruin my chances of Ivy League? ›

Just one bad grade in an advanced level course is not going to ruin your chances at an Ivy League. However, consistently underperforming in advanced classes in your area-of-interest classes will penalize you in the applications process.

What is the lowest GPA an Ivy League will accept? ›

None of the Ivy League schools have a minimum GPA requirement for applications, which means anyone can apply regardless of their GPA.

What is the lowest GPA ever accepted Ivy League? ›

And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA. We've always stated that the lowest GPA student we've ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we're not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too.

Which Ivy League has the prettiest campus? ›

The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus. But beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Which Ivy gets the least applicants? ›

Dartmouth University is the Ivy League school that receives the least amount of applications. On average, they receive nearly 23,000 applications each year, and this year they received 28,841 applications.

What is the lowest GPA to get into Harvard? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.

Why is Stanford not an ivy? ›

Duke, MIT, and Stanford aren't Ivy League universities only because they didn't have strong athletic programs when the Ivy League was established.

Why is Georgetown not an Ivy League? ›

Georgetown is often confused as an Ivy League school because of its highly selective acceptance rate: 14%. That's a smidge higher than the least selective Ivy League — Cornell — but all things considered, Georgetown is definitely an Ivy-level school without the branding.

Is Vanderbilt an Ivy? ›

No, it is not. Eight North East colleges make up the Ivy League. Despite having a higher ranking than Cornell and tying with Brown, Vanderbilt is not actually a member of the Ivy League.

What years do Ivy Leagues look at? ›

Ivy League universities (and most universities, for that matter) consider student accomplishments from the ninth to 12th grades.

Is Ivy League a big deal? ›

Ivy League schools are considered the most sought-after institutions of higher learning in the country and around the world. These eight private Northeastern schools are known for their highly selective admissions process, academic excellence and promising career opportunities for those who attend.

Will any other schools join Ivy League? ›

Can More Schools Become Ivy League? The Ivy League still consists of the original 8 schools that founded the League in 1954. Because of the recognition and prestige they enjoy, they are unlikely to admit other institutions into the League.

What GPA do Ivy Leagues want? ›

If you're aiming for a top university such as one in the Ivy League, Stanford, MIT, or others of the same caliber, a 4.0 GPA — or close to it — is expected.

What is the hardest university to get into? ›

Top 10 Hardest Universities to Get Into In The World
  • Stanford University.
  • Harvard University.
  • Columbia University.
  • London School Of Economics And Political Science.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Yale University.
  • Princeton University.
  • University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom.
Feb 28, 2023

Does Ivy accept 3.7 GPA? ›

Yes, you can get into an Ivy League with a 3.7 GPA. Though, the lower your grade, the less your chances of getting into an Ivy League, but with a strong personal statement and a properly packaged application, you can get in with a grade even less than 3.7 GPA.

Do Ivies do rolling admissions? ›

No, none of the Ivy League schools have rolling admissions. As for other top schools, Purdue University is the only university with rolling admissions that cracks U.S. News World and Report's top 50 Best National Universities.

Should I do Early Decision for Ivy League? ›

Applying through Early Decision is best for students applying to their first-choice schools. Please keep in mind that the terms of your Early Decision agreement can differ: some Ivy schools are restrictive, while others are non-binding.

Do Ivies talk to each other about admissions? ›

Schools often accept the same applicants! The Ivy League communicates if they see the need, but not so they can reject someone who has been admitted elsewhere.

What is the smartest Ivy League? ›

Ivy League Schools Ranked 2023
IviesCrimson RankingQS World Ranking
U Penn413
4 more rows
Feb 28, 2023

Which Ivy is the most preppy? ›

Different Ivy League schools have different reputations in regard to the types of students they attract and admit. Princeton students are often viewed as more preppy, for example, whereas Brown students are perceived as more progressive. Some stereotypes might be more accurate than others.

What is the cheapest Ivy League school? ›

Princeton. Princeton is commonly regarded as the “cheapest Ivy” thanks to its extensive financial aid offerings. 62% of admitted students receive financial aid.

How many hidden Ivies are there? ›

Experts Howard and Matthew Greene introduced the term "Hidden Ivies" in their 2000 book with the same name. The eight Ivy League schools are famous for their name recognition, prestige, and notable alumni.

What college is called the Harvard of the Midwest? ›

Truman stands out amongst colleges throughout the Midwest. There aren't many schools out there that compare to Truman. They call it the "Harvard of the Midwest" or "Princeton of the Prairie" for a reason.

Which school is the Harvard of the South? ›

Vanderbilt University is known as the Harvard of the South and with good reason. The campus is an urban one and a located on West End Avenue and 21st Avenue.

What is the #1 public high school in America? ›

1. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

What is the hardest Ivy League school? ›

The most challenging Ivy League school to get into is Harvard, established in 1636 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Harvard Admissions, only 2,008 out of 43,330 candidates were accepted to the college. These figures translate into an acceptance rate of 4.6%.

What billionaire sends kids to college? ›

Chicago millionaire makes shocking announcement to 5 local high schools. On 60 Minutes Sunday, Scott Pelley highlighted Chicago businessman Pete Kadens, who is sending thousands of people to college, promising to pay in-state tuition, along with covering room and board as well as books through his charity, Hope Chicago ...

What kind of students do Ivy Leagues want? ›

A competitive application shows that the applicant has taken the most challenging curriculum available to him or her, and that student has achieved high grades on top of that. In other words, they have both a high GPA and many AP, IB, or Honors classes. For the Ivy League, a high GPA is, on average, a weighted 4.0.

Do most billionaires go to Ivy League schools? ›

As you might expect, the colleges that produce the most billionaires are largely Ivy League universities. But even for those who never reach 10 figures, Ivy League universities can still generate wealth.

How stressful are Ivy League schools? ›

Ivy League schools are comprised of high achieving students that can be three times more anxious and depressed than the average pupil. This can result in elevated rates of substance abuse and delinquent behaviors.

What is the easiest Ivy school? ›

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.

Which Ivy League school called her a liar? ›

Mackenzie Fierceton was championed as a former foster youth who had overcome an abusive childhood and won a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Then the University of Pennsylvania accused her of lying.

Is MIT a little ivy? ›

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) MIT ranks as the #1 non-Ivy school in the country.

What time are Harvard decisions released? ›

Restrictive Early Action candidates apply by November 1 and receive notification by mid-December. Regular Decision candidates apply by January 1 and receive notification by the end of March.

What is May 1 college Decision Day? ›

May 1st is National Decision Day in the United States, which means the pressure is on for high school seniors to make final college and university decisions. National college decision day is a deadline the Class of 2023 has been preparing for since their junior school year!

Can you get into ivys with b? ›

Realize that you don't need straight "A" grades to get into the Ivy League, but every "B" on your transcript is lessening your chance of admission. Most successful Ivy League applicants have unweighted GPAs that are up in the 3.7 range or higher (3.9 or 4.0 is more common).

Is getting waitlisted at an Ivy good? ›

Over the last 30 years, slightly less than 40% of applicants who first come to Ivy Coach after being waitlisted by the Ivy League institution have earned admission. Many students believe that being waitlisted is akin to being rejected.

Does anyone get off the waitlist at Harvard? ›

There's no set number for how many students get in from the Harvard waitlist. According to the Harvard FAQ page, the number of accepted students can vary greatly. Some years, more than 200 students have made it off the waitlist and earned a seat in the upcoming class.

Can you accept 2 college offers? ›

Double Deposits

Double depositing means putting down a deposit, and thus accepting admission, at more than one college. Since a student can't attend multiple colleges, it is considered unethical.

What happens if you don't pick a college by May 1? ›

Since the May 1st deadline is widely known, many colleges don't accept late decisions. Some universities may give an extension beyond this date, but don't bet on it. If you've missed the May 1st deadline, you need to contact the college admissions officers at your intended university's admissions office immediately.

When should I accept a college offer? ›

When should you accept a college offer? You should accept a college offer once you decide for certain that the college accepting you aligns with your desires, goals, and personality. It's important to research each college that accepts you to learn more about it and see if it's the best fit for you.

What is the 2nd easiest Ivy League to get into? ›

How Hard is It to Get Into Ivy League Schools?
School NameAcceptance Rate
Princeton University5.8%
Harvard University3.41%
Yale University4.35%
4 more rows
7 days ago

Which Ivy is the hardest to get into? ›

Harvard University

The most challenging Ivy League school to get into is Harvard, established in 1636 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Harvard Admissions, only 2,008 out of 43,330 candidates were accepted to the college. These figures translate into an acceptance rate of 4.6%.

What not to do when waitlisted? ›

Waitlisted students can accept or reject the offer presented by the college. However, don't take up a spot on the list if you're not planning on attending the school anymore. You'd be taking the spot away from another student who may be more interested.

How can I increase my chances of getting off the waitlist? ›

Inform the school where you submitted a deposit.
  1. Accept a Spot on the Waitlist.
  2. Express Interest Again in the School.
  3. Submit a Deposit to Another University.
  4. Manage Expectations in the Admissions Process.
  5. Continue to Focus on High School Academics.
  6. Be Ready to Make a Decision if Admitted.
May 11, 2022


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