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Which Ivy League Schools are Most Friendly to International Students

With applications readily available on Common App and a system set up that allows for easy money transfers for all applications on the website, it’s easy to treat the application process like a machine gun, shooting out as many applications as possible and hoping one of the bullets hits the target and gets you admitted. The application process should be treated like a sniper, narrowing in on a limited number of targets so you can focus on the chosen applications. With a window of time that instills pressure and a finite number of schools you can apply to, well, it is important to know what highly rated schools give you a better chance of admittance.

The majority of the Ivy League schools report that they hold the same standard for those students who submit applications domestically and those who submit their applications internationally. Most also report that they offer the same financial aid for admitted students regardless of where they currently live. Although I can’t find a citation, I would presume that each Ivy League receives a relatively similar applicant pool consisting of approximately the same ratio of 'highly qualified' to 'qualified' to 'under qualified' students. This presumption would lead me to believe that each Ivy League school would have a comparable ratio of admitted international students. Thus, hypothetically, each Ivy League university would have a similar rate of highly qualified international students to qualified international students to underqualified international students, and each Ivy League university would subsequently have a percent of international students that is similar.

Contradictorily, the percent of the student body of international students for each university (which may fluctuate by a few percent every year) actually varies greatly. According to each universities academic website and/or fact sheet of their student body’s demographics, Yale and Columbia University admit the greatest percent of international students by far at 19 percent, and at the other end of the spectrum and a whopping ten percent behind, Dartmouth University has a student body with approximately 9 percent of students coming from outside the states. Most of the other universities revolve between 11 and 12 percent of the student body being international students.

There are a few reasons these numbers could differ so significantly. Possibly, the applicant pool is not the same among the Ivies, and perhaps schools like Yale and Columbia have a stronger pool of international students to choose from than schools like Dartmouth and Cornell. Possibly, some of the Ivies use fully paying international students to help subsidize the costs of domestic students who are not able to do so. Possibly, more international students apply to those schools with a higher percentage, so even though the rate of international students may be the same, Yale is getting quantitatively more highly qualified international students applying than Dartmouth. The list of possible reasons for the variance is extensive, but the bottom line is that not all Ivy League schools give you an equal opportunity of admittance. It’s important to look at both the percent of the student body that is comprised of international students and each university’s general acceptance rate.

Ultimately, even though most universities report that they hold the same standard of admittance for international students as they do for domestic, clearly some Ivy League schools are easier for international students to gain admittance to, or to at least feel like a stronger presence within the school’s community when attending.

Yale -19 percent international students
Columbia- 19 percent international students
Penn- 12 percent international students
Brown- ~10-12 percent international students
Harvard- 11 percent international students
Princeton- 11 percent international students
Cornell- 10 percent international students
Dartmouth- 9 percent international students

Information collected from academic websites of each university

Photo Credit: Ian Lamont
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