By Siddharth Sharma
Ivy League is a sports league in North East America, whose participants are the top private colleges of North Eastern America, which also happen to be the top colleges in the world. Ivy League is synonymous to a league of the best colleges in terms of academics, selectivity in admissions and social elitism, the Eton of the United States. In the US, kids dream to attend these universities like Indian students do for their children to go to IIT and AIIMS. But, without the general migration to Kota or the societal pressure, of course. After all, who would want to hear on a daily basis ‘Kammo ka beta hai na….’
The Ivy League is much more than a select group of colleges. They are the ‘in’ thing of college education. In fact, the Ivy League is practically a pop cultural phenomena now.
Now, I would love to give you a ranking of all these colleges (unofficial, of course). But honestly, there isn’t much separating these colleges. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, UPenn, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth & Brown, are the best universities in the US, even amongst the best in the world irrespective of how many touchdowns a college quarterback made last quarter.
Unlike IITs however, they are costly, even in dollars. While in India, parents save up for their daughter’s marriage, American parents save them up for college tuition, an expense so troublesome that most of these students are neck deep in student debt right now.
Here are just some more stuff you should know about the Ivy League,
Crowd: Most of the students belong to upper class renowned white protestant families of the North East. Think Mitt Romney. Only drunk and playing beer pong on a ping pong table.
Societies, fraternities and sororities: Unlike Indian colleges, societies are pretty serious. There are fraternities and sororities who claim to work toward something moral or random stuff, like “Sigma Alpha Epsilon” and “Sigma Chi”. Once a member, your life revolves around the fraternity, you work with them(not much), party with them, and spend most of your time with them. One of them, is an A Capella troupe, a society made popular by Anna Kendrick’s Pitch perfect.
In fact, there are few things colleges in the US take more seriously than initiations into such societies and sororities. So serious is this habit, that even movies hammer such frat references. Take the example of 22 Jump Street, where Jenko and Schmidt raid the Sigma Zeta Phi, a fraternity native to the University of California, Santa Cruz. So much for studying at MC State.
Clubs: Recall the twins in The Social Network? Yes. The very ones who were 6’5” , 220 pounds and were well, twins. They were a part of the rowers club, as well as the Porcellian (A club started because a bunch of students wanted to eat pig) at Harvard. It’s no fiction. Clubs are a serious thing there.
Secret Societies: Secret societies are not so secret anymore. Everyone knows they exist. Most of these are overseen by organisations run by alumni of the college they function in. For instance a famous secret society (oxymoron?) is Skull and Bones overseen by the Russell Trust Association. Honestly, a poor man’s Illuminati.
Branding: Visit an Ivy League college, and they’ll give you so many of their merchandise, from flags to T-shirts to posters, that you can actually decorate your whole room with them. Suck on that, Amity.
Football rivalry Between Yale and Harvard: The rugby game between Harvard and Yale is like el-clasico of American collegiate sports. It’s called “The Game”, where the blue bulldogs fight the Harvard crimsons. It is the biggest game of the year and almost every alumnus of Harvard and Yale comes to watch it as a tradition. It is, the Superbowl of the Ivy League
While the Ivy League excels in academics as well as extracurricular activities, many famous billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard. Now does Ivy League select the cream or does it educate the cream to become even more excellent, is the question. Is it worth the hype or not? Tell us in the comments.
All images have been taken from Google.