The Original Public Ivies

Assistant Editor, Wintergreen Orchard House

Oct   2012



College search season is in full swing for high school seniors and many may be feeling the pressure as Early Decision admission deadlines are approaching. Whether you’ve already decided on your choices or are still trying to narrow down which schools will get your hard-earned application fee money, there is still some time to consider a few other schools. If you have the academic prowess with solid standardized test scores and GPA to accompany it, you might consider applying to one or more of the “Public Ivies.”

The term “Public Ivy” was coined by Richard Moll in his 1985 book Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Undergraduate Colleges and Universities. Although this book is closing in on three decades old, the eight schools that made the elite list continue to be among the top public institutions in the country and attract dynamic students and faculty alike. Outlined here are some of the admission details for these reputable schools. Do you have what it takes to get an offer of acceptance?

The College of William and Mary admitted 34% percent of applicants in 2011 and 96% of enrolled freshmen were ranked in the top quarter of their graduating high school class. The application fee is $60 and the final deadline for admission is January 1 for the fall semester.

Miami University—Oxford in Ohio has an application fee of $50 and an application deadline of February 1. The average high school GPA of incoming freshmen in fall 2011 was 3.65, and 95% of applicants were ranked in the top half of their graduating class.

The University of California system made the list, most notably for the campuses of Berkeley, Los Angeles, Davis, and San Diego. These campuses all have exceptionally competitive acceptance rates and continue to attract top students from across the country. The acceptance rates for these campuses range between 21%-46%, with UC Berkeley being the most competitive, and the application fees range between $60-$70.

University of Michigan—Ann Arbor had an acceptance rate of 40% in fall 2011, and the average high school GPA of incoming students was 3.76. The Early Action program deadline of November 1 is practically here, but fear not because you have until February 1 to apply for Regulation Admission. Don’t forget the $65 fee!

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a steep application fee of $80 and only accepted about 31% of applicants in 2011. If you are a public school attendee, you’ll fit in here because 80% of freshmen came from public schools. Though 79% of freshmen ranked in the top tenth of their graduating class, so admission can be very competitive.

The University of Texas at Austin has an earlier application deadline of December 1, so make this application a priority if you’re interested in attending. In fall 2011, 46% of applicants were admitted and 73% ranked in the top 10th of their class, so make sure you qualify before spending the $75 application fee.

University of Vermont has a reletively high acceptance rate of 75% and a more affordable application fee of $55 as well. If some of these other schools are out of your academic reach, you may find UVM to be a better fit. Still, in fall 2011, 96% of enrolled freshmen ranked in the top half of their class, so you’ll need a great academic record.

The University of Virginia in Charlottesville continues to have competitive incoming classes, with 92% of enrolled freshmen having a high school GPA of 3.75 or higher and 91% ranking in the top 10th of their class. The University admits about 33% of applicants, and if you’d like to be in that percentage, make sure to send your application and $60 fee before January 1.

Be sure to check out the CollegeXpress list of Public Ivies, which also features some honorable mentions like Penn State, the University of Maryland, Purdue, and many others!

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

About Kristen Healy

Kristen Healy

Kristen is an Assistant Editor at Wintergreen Orchard House, a sub-division of Carnegie Communications, where she manages data for Midwestern colleges and universities. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Journalism and Communication and a minor in Political Science. She is psyched about blogging about Public Colleges and Universities seeing as she is a proud product of one. She hopes that her four years at the Massachusetts state flagship campus will help her to bring new light to a broad range of topics that can relate to attending a public college or university. Her college career was spent writing for the news section of UMass’s Daily Collegian, volunteering at the university television studio, and enjoying the sites and activities of downtown Amherst. Kristen loves to travel and spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, where she gained perspective of what it is like to attend a large university in another country. She hopes her experiences in public higher education will help guide readers through their own college journeys!

You can circle Kristen on Google+, follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to her CollegeXpress blog.