25 New Ivies; the Nation's Elite Colleges These Days Include More Than Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Why? It's the Tough Competition for All the Top Students. That Means a Range of Schools Are Getting Fresh Bragging Rights

By Kantrowitz, Barbara; Springen, Karen | Newsweek, August 21, 2006 | Go to article overview

25 New Ivies; the Nation's Elite Colleges These Days Include More Than Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Why? It's the Tough Competition for All the Top Students. That Means a Range of Schools Are Getting Fresh Bragging Rights


Kantrowitz, Barbara, Springen, Karen, Newsweek


*****

CORRECTION: CORRECTION: In "25 New Ivies" we said Notre Dame University is home to football's legendary Fighting Irish. It is actually the University of Notre Dame. NEWSWEEK regrets the error.

*****

Byline: Barbara Kantrowitz and Karen Springen

You could call it a classic case of supply meeting demand. A generation ago, elite schools were a clearly defined group: the eight schools in the Ivy League, along with such academic powerhouses as Stanford, the University of Chicago, MIT and Caltech. Smaller liberal-arts colleges--like Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Swarthmore and Wesleyan--were the destinations of choice for top students who preferred a more intimate campus. But in the past few decades, the number of college-bound students has skyrocketed, and so has the number of world-class schools. The demand for an excellent education has created an ever-expanding supply of big and small campuses that provide great academics and first-rate faculties.

The bottom line: that one "perfect" school need not break a student's heart. The colleges on the following list--the "New Ivies"--are beneficiaries of the boom in top students. We selected them based on admissions statistics as wellas interviews with administrators, faculty, students and alumni. In some cases, admissions directors have also provided examples of "overlap" schools--rivals for applicants to the colleges on our list.

Boston College

Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Founded by Jesuits to teach the sons of Irish immigrants, BC today serves 9,000 undergraduates and 4,500 graduate students. About 70 percent of the student body is Roman Catholic. The school's growing popularity among students from around the country has meant a 39 percent increase in applications in five years. "The greatest thing about BC is that you have the opportunity to pursue your individual passion or take electives," says sophomore Carly DeFilippo of Madison, Conn. Students appreciate the strong academics, but also seek out other opportunities. That means wide participation in student government, theater and intramural sports. High-profile alumni include actor Chris O'Donnell and "Saturday Night Live" star Amy Poehler, who were both onstage while at BC. Boston itself is also a major appeal; the campus is about five miles west of downtown.

Bowdoin College

Brunswick, Maine

Location's high on the list of reasons students flock to Bowdoin. The star attraction: the Atlantic. The school owns 200 acres of beautiful research property on Orr's Island, off the rocky coast of Maine. In winter, students have plenty of space to ski cross-country. Not surprisingly, Bowdoin draws many mountain climbers, kayakers and hikers. Bowdoin's students work hard, but the atmosphere is not as intensely competitive as at comparable schools. The most popular major is government and legal studies, followed by economics, English, history, biology, sociology and environmental science. Bowdoin phased out its fraternities a decade ago, and most students now live on campus. Dorms are small--about 30 to 50 students per building--and feel more like apartments. Students praise the food. The school even serves fresh lobster at the first-year banquet. Overlap schools: Williams, Amherst, Brown, Dartmouth and Middlebury.

Carnegie Mellon

Pittsburgh, Pa.

A major national research university, Carnegie Mellon serves 5,500 undergrads and 3,000 grad students in seven colleges reflecting CMU's academic diversity: Carnegie Institute of Technology (engineering), the College of Fine Arts, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Mellon College of Science, the Tepper School of Business, the School of Computer Science and the Heinz School of Public Policy and Management.

Students have to apply to specific schools. Last year, CMU received a record 18,864 applications and admitted 6,357. The drama program in the College of Fine Arts has the most competitive admissions; engineering is the most popular major overall, but business is catching up. …

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