What are the "Little ivy," tea "Little three" and the "Hidden ivy?"

Most people are familiar with Ivy League colleges and have a pretty good idea that it is extremely prestigious to attend one of them. There are many, many other colleges that are academically very rigorous and difficult to get into. The term The Little Three, The Little Ivy and The Hidden Ivy is sometimes confusing. Not only do they have similar names, I was surprised to hear that some parents had never heard of some of the colleges and had not realized the magnitude of the achievement of their daughter being accepted. Below is an explanation of the different groupings. Hope having a list in one place helps.

The ivy league consists of 8 schools competing 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 some of the most prestigious and highest ranked universities. According to US News and World Report on college and university rankings, all Ivy League institutions rank in the top 15, with 5 ranking in the top 5.

All are located in the northeastern region of the United States.

Enrollment ranges from 4,000 to 14,000 undergraduate students, making them larger than most private liberal arts colleges, but smaller than a state university. Sports scholarships are not awarded; financial aid is based on need.

The “three little ones 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 it is very difficult to get into. Los Tres Pequeños began to compete in this triangular league in 1899 and in 1920 they took the nickname “Tres Pequeños”. 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 contests, and the 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 NESCAC colleges (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 very selective, very difficult to get into, and highly respected. One of the biggest differences between the Ivy League and the “Little Ivies” would be their athletic grouping. Ivy League schools belong to the Division 1 league, which trains and competes year-round. Little Ivy colleges are in the Division 3 athletic group and only compete during their respective sports seasons.

For an outstanding student-athlete who would like to compete in 2 sports, a NESCAC Division 3 college could meet academic and athletic desires and be a great combination!

Currently, here is a list of the top 20 universities and another of the top 20 universities featured in US News and World Report on college and university rankings. Please note that there are many lists that vary. US News ratings are used most frequently.

Liberal Arts College Rankings:

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

  1. Williams University
  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 University
  10. Haverford University
  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 University
  18. Harvey Mudd University
  19. Grinnell College
  20. Smith College

National University Rankings:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Princeton University
  3. Yale University
  4. University of Colombia
  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 University
  12. Northwestern University
  13. Johns Hopkins University
  14. Washington University of St. Louis
  15. Brown university
  16. Cornell University
  17. Rice University
  18. Vanderbilt University
  19. University of Notre Dame
  20. Emory University

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

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