So You Want to Study in an Ivy League School: Here's What You Need to Know


For many ambitious Filipino students, the dream of studying at an Ivy League institution represents the pinnacle of academic achievement. These esteemed universities offer world-class education, exceptional resources, and unparalleled opportunities for personal and professional growth. These establishments are renowned for their academic excellence, prestigious alumni networks, and vast opportunities for personal and professional growth.

The Ivy League schools include: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

These schools offer an extraordinary educational experience, shaping students into leaders and changemakers. Beyond the academic rigor, Ivy League schools provide a unique and enriching environment that leaves a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to attend.

Here are some amazing benefits of pursuing further scholastic growth in these well-renowned academic institutions:


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1| Academic excellence and intellectual stimulation

At the heart of the Ivy League experience lies a commitment to academic excellence. Students are immersed in a vibrant intellectual community, surrounded by brilliant minds and distinguished professors. The rigorous coursework challenges them to think critically, analyze complex problems, and engage in cutting-edge research. The stimulating academic environment fosters a love for learning and prepares students to tackle real-world challenges.

2| Access to world-class resources and facilities

Ivy League schools attract world-class professors who are leaders in their respective fields. Interacting with and learning from these distinguished faculty members can be a transformative experience. Moreover, Ivy League schools often offer state-of-the-art facilities, research centers, libraries, and access to extensive academic resources, giving you the tools and support necessary to excel in your studies. Students have access to a wealth of resources, from extensive book collections to cutting-edge technology. These resources enable them to pursue their academic passions, conduct groundbreaking research, and explore diverse disciplines. The opportunity to learn from leading experts and engage in hands-on experiences enhances the educational journey.


3| Cultural and global exposure

Ivy League schools attract students from around the world, fostering a vibrant and diverse campus culture. Interacting with individuals from different backgrounds and cultures broadens perspectives, promotes tolerance, and nurtures a global mindset. The rich tapestry of experiences, traditions, and perspectives contributes to a dynamic learning environment that prepares students to thrive in an interconnected world. Studying alongside students from various backgrounds and cultures exposes you to a range of perspectives and ideas. This multicultural environment encourages collaboration, broadens your worldview, and helps develop cultural sensitivity, preparing you to navigate a globalized world.

4| Networking and connections

Ivy League institutions provide unparalleled networking opportunities. Alumni networks span the globe and include influential individuals in various fields. Students can connect with successful professionals, renowned scholars, and industry leaders through mentorship programs, alumni events, and career services. These connections open doors to internships, research opportunities, and career advancements, giving Ivy League graduates a distinct advantage in the professional world.

Ivy League schools have a long-standing reputation for excellence, and their name recognition carries weight globally. Being associated with an Ivy League institution generally opens doors and provides instant credibility in various industries and professional circles. Additionally, the extensive alumni networks of these schools offer valuable connections and opportunities for mentorship, internships, and career advancement.

5| Personal growth and leadership development

The rigorous academic environment and extracurricular opportunities provided by Ivy League schools offer abundant avenues for personal growth and leadership development. You can engage in student organizations, clubs, and community service initiatives, honing your communication skills, teamwork abilities, and organizational acumen. These experiences shape your character, foster resilience, and nurture the qualities needed to become a future leader.

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6| Career advancement and professional development

Ivy League degrees are highly regarded by employers across industries. The education, skills, and networks gained from studying at an Ivy League school can significantly enhance your career prospects. These institutions often have robust career services departments, offering tailored guidance, internship opportunities, and access to prestigious job fairs and recruitment events. Employers value the rigorous training and caliber of graduates from Ivy League schools, positioning you for success in a competitive job market.

7| Lifelong learning and alumni support

The benefits of an Ivy League education extend far beyond graduation. These institutions encourage lifelong learning and provide resources for continued professional development. Alumni networks offer ongoing support, networking opportunities, and access to exclusive events, enabling you to stay connected and continue to grow both personally and professionally.

8| Supportive and engaging faculty

Ivy League professors are not just experts in their fields but also dedicated mentors. They invest in their students' success, offering guidance, support, and personalized attention. Faculty members encourage critical thinking, challenge assumptions, and inspire students to push their boundaries. The opportunity to work closely with accomplished scholars and benefit from their expertise is invaluable and contributes to a transformative educational experience.

9| Holistic personal growth

Beyond academic pursuits, Ivy League schools emphasize holistic development. Students are encouraged to explore their passions, engage in extracurricular activities, and develop leadership skills. From performing arts to community service, there are numerous avenues for self-expression, personal growth, and making a positive impact on society. The Ivy League experience cultivates well-rounded individuals equipped to navigate the complexities of the world.

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How to achieve the Ivy League dream

Studying at an Ivy League institution is a life-changing experience that transcends the confines of a traditional education. The intellectual stimulation, access to resources, diverse community, networking opportunities, and supportive faculty shape students into well-rounded individuals poised for success. The journey through an Ivy League education leaves an indelible mark, fostering a lifelong love for learning, and an unwavering pursuit of excellence.

While the road to an Ivy League education may seem challenging, with the right mindset and preparation, Filipino students can turn their dreams into reality. If you're dreaming of studying in an Ivy League school, this article will serve as your guide, tailored specifically for Filipino students looking to embark on this transformative journey. Here are some recommendations on how to achieve the Ivy League dream:

1| Set clear goals and research about your dream school

Begin by defining your academic and career goals. Identify the Ivy League universities that align with your interests and aspirations. Research each institution's majors, programs, faculty expertise, and campus culture to find the best fit for you. Utilize online resources, attend information sessions, and connect with Filipino students or alumni who have experienced Ivy League education firsthand.

2| Focus on academic excellence

Excel academically throughout your high school years. Ivy League schools prioritize applicants with outstanding academic records. Challenge yourself with rigorous coursework and maintain excellent grades. Seek guidance from teachers and mentors to develop strong study skills and explore advanced courses in your field of interest.

3| Broaden your horizons

While maintaining academic excellence is crucial, Ivy League schools also value well-rounded applicants. Engage in extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership, teamwork, and passion. Participate in community service initiatives, sports, cultural organizations, and clubs related to your interests. Seek opportunities to showcase your talents and develop a diverse skill set.

4| Standardized tests preparation

Most Ivy League institutions require standardized test scores, such as the SAT, GMAT, or ACT. Dedicate time to rigorous test preparation. Utilize study materials, online resources, and practice tests to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content. Consider enrolling in test prep courses or seeking guidance from tutors to maximize your scores.

5| Craft a compelling application

Devote ample time to craft a strong application package. Write a captivating personal statement that showcases your unique experiences, challenges, and aspirations. Highlight your achievements, leadership roles, and community involvement. Request recommendation letters from teachers, mentors, or employers who can speak to your character, abilities, and potential.


6| Seek financial aid and scholarships

Financing an Ivy League education can be a concern for many Filipino students. However, Ivy League schools are committed to providing financial aid to qualified applicants. Research scholarships, grants, and work-study programs offered by both the institutions and external organizations. Contact the financial aid offices of your desired schools to explore available options and submit the necessary documentation.

7| Leverage networking opportunities

Building a strong network can significantly benefit your Ivy League journey. Connect with Filipino students and alumni who are currently attending or have graduated from Ivy League institutions. Reach out through social media platforms, alumni associations, or student organizations. Attend virtual events, webinars, and career fairs to expand your professional connections and gain valuable insights.

8| Prepare for cultural adjustment

Studying at an Ivy League school means immersing yourself in a new cultural environment. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the challenges of adapting to a different country. Familiarize yourself with the local customs, academic expectations, and support services available to international students. Seek guidance from Filipino-American communities or organizations that can offer support and a sense of belonging.

Not easy, but definitely worth it

Achieving the Ivy League dream is an ambitious goal, but with perseverance, dedication, and meticulous preparation, Filipino students can make it a reality. By setting clear goals, excelling academically, engaging in extracurricular activities, and leveraging networking opportunities, you can maximize your chances of admission to an Ivy League institution. Remember, success requires hard work and determination, but the rewards of an Ivy League education can open doors to a bright and fulfilling future filled with limitless possibilities and unparalleled achievements.

The path you have chosen is not an easy one, but it is undoubtedly worth every ounce of effort you put into it. You have a unique set of talents and abilities that make you stand out. Trust in your capabilities and believe that you deserve a place among the best and brightest. Self-confidence is the key that unlocks doors to success. Inevitably, there will be setbacks and moments of self-doubt. When faced with obstacles, remember why you embarked on this journey in the first place. Keep pushing forward, even in the face of adversity, and never lose sight of your ultimate goal.

Remember also that you don't have to navigate this journey alone. Reach out to your mentors, teachers, and peers for support and guidance. They will provide you with valuable insights and help you stay motivated when the going gets tough.

Failures are not setbacks; they are stepping stones towards success. If you stumble along the way, learn from your mistakes, adapt your strategies, and use each setback as an opportunity to grow stronger and wiser. Your mental and physical well-being are crucial components of your success. Make time for self-care, engage in activities you enjoy, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Taking care of yourself will ensure that you can perform at your best.

Along your journey, take a moment to celebrate every milestone you achieve, no matter how small. Acknowledge your hard work and dedication, and let these moments of joy fuel your motivation to keep striving for even greater heights.


Stay focused, stay determined, and never lose sight of your dreams. Have complete faith in your abilities, and I am certain that you will thrive in this pursuit.

Atty. Maria Veronica Manalo completed a Masters in Law degree from the Carey Law School of the University of Pennsylvania. She was the commencement speaker of this year's graduating class. 

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