- Life at an Ivy League school isn’t as glamourous as Hollywood would have you think.
- While it’s true Mark Zuckerberg graduated from Harvard, the dorm room from which he started Facebook was no more luxurious than a dorm room at any other top school.
- When it comes down to it, eating, sleeping, studying, and working out at an Ivy looks a lot like it would at any other university.
It’s no wonder people put Ivy League schools on such a pedestal. Between all the movies and television shows featuring Harvard and Yale – remember Rory Gilmore’s inner struggle when it came to choosing between the two? – and the clout of having a degree from one of the elite eight northeastern universities, who wouldn’t think everything about the schools is a dream?
While the academics at these schools is unquestionably prestigious – and they have educated some of the country’s most well-known minds – it doesn’t mean life on the campuses is as well.
Dorm rooms are small and dining hall food is exactly that. The campuses are beautiful, but there are a vast amount of non-Ivy campuses that are as well. While the Ivy League was originally formed to create a sport conference, and its teams often make it into tournaments, there are plenty of teams at schools all across the country that are constantly beating them out for titles.
Take a look at these photos proving life at an Ivy is no different from life at any other top university in the country.
Growing up, it’s easy to think of Ivy League colleges as the pinnacle of higher education in every way.
Whether you watched “Gilmore Girls” …
… “Legally Blonde” …
… or “Gossip Girl,” the idea of attending an Ivy was everywhere.
There is some confusion, though, about what schools are actually part of the Ivy League.
The elite group of eight includes Harvard University …
… Yale University …
… Dartmouth College …
… Columbia University …
… Princeton University …
… Brown University …
… University of Pennsylvania …
… and Cornell University.
While the Ivys are known for their academic prestige, the grouping of Northeastern schools was originally conceived out of athletic competition.
Many people believe Stanford University is an Ivy League school.
By academic standards, it more than fits the bill.
And so does the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
However, neither of these schools is part of the Ivy League conference. The formation of the league had little to do with academia; it is — at it’s core — a sports conference, much like the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference (B10), and Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12).
The schools within the Ivy League conference compete in all types of sports. From track and field …
… to crew …
… baseball …
… basketball …
… and football — just to name a few.
Possibly the most well-known of the Ivy League rivalries is the one between Harvard and Yale.
Even in terms of athletic excellence, though, there’s nothing exceptional about the teams at Ivy League schools.
Because of the academic reputation, high tuition rates, low acceptance rates, and the label of a private college, it’s easy to assume that life on any of these campuses is unimaginably luxurious.
The ivy-draped stone buildings do give the scenery a certain nuance …
… but in reality, these campuses aren’t much different from others around the country.
Like many universities, the dorms don’t really look like they do in the brochures or movies.
While students may be dreaming of an Elle Woods-esque setup, reality at Harvard looks a bit more like this.
In fact, living arrangements can be so cramped that students at Harvard have been known to remove their closet doors because there’s no room for them to swing open.
Many Ivy universities were some of the first in the country.
And while that is a great draw for a student looking for rich history …
… it also means there are a number of historical buildings lacking updated necessities like air conditioning.
The amenities at Ivy League schools are similar to those at other universities. Campuses typically have several gyms for both personal and group fitness …
… multipurpose common areas and work spaces …
… and various libraries with different study environments.
The stacks inside Brown’s John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library look like those at any normal library.
And the food in the dining halls is hardly gourmet. After all, “Cafeteria food is cafeteria food,” one Quora user wrote.
Students at Ivy schools aren’t immune to having to trek across campus during less-than-perfect weather.
In fact, since the entire league is located in America’s Northeast, they get hit hard with snow and cold during the winter.
Northeast winters can be extremely tough.
Just like anyone else studying in a snow-prone area, Ivy students may have to dig their bikes out of a mound of powder before they can get to class.
The schools have well-earned reputations for stunning architecture …
… stone, cathedral-looking buildings …
… and amazing grounds.
And let’s not forget those famously popular iron gates that welcome visitors onto campus.
But they’re not the only schools with beautiful campuses.
Indiana University, Bloomington is well-known for images of these pillars.
And palm trees make Stanford University’s campus a West Coast dream.
The Rutgers campus also has manicured lawns and walkways. The New Jersey school faced off against Princeton in the first game of intercollegiate football in 1869 — it sparked quite the rivalry.
Wellesley College has the same beautiful buildings.
As does the College of William and Mary.
Source: William and Mary
The University of Maryland, College Park campus is centered around a brick building-lined mall that’s modelled after the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Source: University of Maryland
When you break down all the elements of Ivy League schools, they’re actually very similar to other top universities across the country. Sure, they have their share of famous alumni.
Source: Business Insider
But, of course, non-Ivys have some pretty famous alumni of their own.
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