Are Ivy League Schools Pretentious?

Ivy League Schools are a group of prestigious American universities located in the Northeastern United States. The schools include Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, UPenn, and Yale. Ivy League schools are globally renowned for their high academic standards, offering some of the highest-ranked programs in the world. Let us see are ivy league schools pretentious in this article.

are ivy league schools pretentious?

The schools attract top students from around the globe. These institutions are also recognized for their strong research programs and access to vast resources, including some of the best facilities and libraries.

Are Ivy League Schools Pretentious?

Yes, ivy league schools often exhibit pretentious. From the expensive tuition and boastful alumni to the elitist attitude taken on by many students, there are many examples of pretentious behavior associated with these universities. 

It can often seem like the only goal for those attending is having a prestigious degree, rather than learning and enhancing their skills. Many cases of behavior can be deemed discriminatory, such as the historical college racism that took place.

What Makes Ivy League Schools Pretentious?

Culture of fakeness among students

  • The culture of fakeness among students at Ivy League schools can be quite pretentious. Many students feel the need to put on a show to impress their peers, making it difficult for genuine relationships to form. Instead of being open and honest, students often try to one-up each other to seem more impressive. 
  • This competition can lead to feelings of insecurity and inadequacy among students, as they feel like they’re not good enough. This culture of fakeness also creates a sense of elitism, as students can be judged based on their perceived level of success. This can lead to a divide between those who are seen as successful and those who are not.

Lack of mental health in students due to pressure

  • The lack of mental health among students due to pressure to make Ivy League schools seem pretentious is an issue that has become increasingly prevalent in recent years. The pressure to achieve perfection and meet the high expectations of Ivy League schools has resulted in students feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. 
  • This is leading to a decrease in mental health among students, with many suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. The pressure to succeed is also causing students to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse and self-harm.

Classmates saw as competition rather than friends

  • Classmates seen as competition rather than friends make Ivy League schools pretentious. This attitude of competition can be seen in the way students interact with one another. Instead of forming meaningful friendships, they often focus on outperforming each other and trying to prove their worth. Additionally, this attitude of competition can lead to feelings of superiority and elitism. 
  • Students may feel as though they are better than those around them simply because they attend an Ivy League school, creating an atmosphere of snobbery and exclusivity. This can be off-putting to those who are not part of the Ivy League community and can give the impression that the school is more concerned with prestige than with educating its students.

Underrated Universities That Are Equal To Ivy League Schools

1. Johns Hopkins University – It has been consistently ranked as one of the top ten schools in the United States. The school offers innovative interdisciplinary studies, advanced research opportunities, and a diverse student body.

2. Emory University – Located in Atlanta, Emory is a highly-ranked university with a strong emphasis on both the sciences and humanities. It boasts an impressive alumni network and a rigorous academic program.

3. Duke University – Known for its top-notch academics, Duke is consistently highly ranked by various organizations. Its strong emphasis on both the arts and sciences makes it an attractive option for prospective students.


All in all, Ivy League schools are among the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the United States and abroad. While they may be viewed as pretentious by some, students can benefit greatly from the level of education and the vast opportunities available to those who have been accepted. 

The only way to know for sure if Ivy League institutions are right for you is to do your research and determine what’s best for your individual needs and goals.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How has the reputation of Ivy League schools changed over time?

Answer– The reputation of Ivy League schools has changed over time. Generally, the reputation of Ivy League schools has been that of academic excellence, prestige, and wealth. This has been true since the earliest days of the Ivy League. 

However, in recent years, the reputation of Ivy League schools has also become associated with elitism and exclusivity. These perceptions have caused some people to label Ivy League schools as ‘pretentious’.

  1. How have Ivy League schools responded to the idea that they are pretentious?

Answer-The Ivy League schools have publicly said that they strive to provide a diverse and inclusive environment. They have responded to accusations of elitism and snobbery by increasing the number of students with financial needs admitted, strengthening the academic standards they require, and providing generous aid packages to those in low-income families.