These Are the 10 Best “Hidden Ivies” in the U.S.

You’re probably familiar with the classic Ivy League schools. You might not be able to name all eight of them, but, chances are, you at least know Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. They’re world-renowned, after all.

But obviously these eight elite schools aren’t the only impressive schools in the U.S.

There are plenty of other options out there that rank high in academics, admissions, financial aid, and student experiences; in fact, many of these schools are equally good, or even better, to the actual Ivies in some of their programs.

Two of the foremost higher education experts in the US, Howard and Matthew Greene, classified a group of schools as “The Hidden Ivies” in a book they published by the same name. In the book (there are several editions), they list these “Hidden Ivies” and explore the true meaning of Ivy League.

Here, we rank what we consider our top 10 Hidden Ivies based on academics, admissions, financial aid, and student experiences:

10. Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)

Case Western Reserve University
Rdikeman, Case western reserve campus, CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in Cleveland’s University Circle, Case Western Reserve University is home to a little more than 5,000 undergraduate students. Interestingly enough, it has more graduate and professional studies students than undergraduates.

CWRU has a “single-door admission policy.” What that means is once you’re accepted into the school, you can take courses in any one of CWRU’s three schools: engineering, nursing and management, or arts and sciences.

CWRU places a particular importance on research. In the 2017-18 academic year, the school received $334.2 million in sponsored research funding, and it was ranked one of the top 20 private research institutions based on federal research and development funding. Projects have spanned from cancer research to Alzheimer’s treatments to job prospects for ex-prisoners.

Additionally, CWRU launches an average of five start-up companies a year, and it files an average of 40 U.S. patents each year.

Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked CWRU 40th among national universities, making it the top-ranking school in Ohio.

9. Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY)

Skidmore College
Peter Flass, Zankel Music center, CC BY 3.0

Home to a little over 2,500 undergraduate students, Skidmore College is located just a 10-minute walk north of downtown Saratoga Springs, New York, and a short drive away from the Adirondack Mountains.

The phrase, “Creative thought matters,” is at the core of Skidmore’s mission. It emphasizes the importance of combining different ideas, trying new things, and viewing the world from different perspectives.

Students at Skidmore are welcome to study more than one major. The school’s Zankel Music Center, which opened in 2010, offers more than 54,000 square feet for learning, practicing, performing, and recording music. Skidmore also offers an extensive art program. In fact, the on-campus Tang Museum offers students internship opportunities. Plus, art hubs like Boston and New York are only about three hours away by car.

The school isn’t only focused on the arts, though. It’s currently building a 200,000-square-foot Center for Integrated Sciences, which is slated to be complete by 2024. The space will house the school’s 10 academic departments and programs and will include 46 research labs.

8. Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH)

Oberlin College
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Oberlin College, located in small-town Oberlin, Ohio, has a little under 3,000 undergraduate students. Although it might be a lesser-known school on this list, it was actually the first male college to admit women, and, in 1835, it became one of the first colleges in the U.S. to admit African Americans.

The college’s history of social change and progressive thinking is still evident on campus today. It’s been ranked on the Princeton Review’s list of “Colleges with a Conscious” and has been ranked by numerous publications as one of the friendliest college campuses for LGBT students.

Oberlin’s progressive outlook is evident in its academics, too. It aims to create an inclusive environment and gives students plenty of flexibility in choosing which courses they want to take.

The campus has a big art scene, due, in part to its world-renowned conservatory of music. Students come from across the country and even the world to train with Oberlin’s artist-teachers. The school has nine concert venues and hosts more than 500 performances a year.

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