For high school students looking to attend a prestigious university, the Ivy League often comes to mind. These eight private colleges in the northeastern United States are known for their rigorous academics, selective admissions, and high tuition costs.

But what about other top-tier liberal arts colleges like Bucknell University? Is Bucknell an Ivy League institution? Let’s take a closer look.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: No, Bucknell University is not an Ivy League school. While it is an academically competitive liberal arts college, Bucknell is not part of the Ivy League, which only includes 8 universities in the Northeast U.S.

Overview of the Ivy League

The Ivy League is a group of eight prestigious universities located in the northeastern United States. These universities are known for their academic excellence, rigorous admission criteria, and rich history.

Being a part of the Ivy League is considered a great honor and signifies the highest level of education in the country.

What is the Ivy League?

The Ivy League is an athletic conference that was formed in 1954. However, over the years, the term “Ivy League” has come to represent more than just a sports conference. It has become synonymous with top-tier education and a unique collegiate experience.

The Ivy League schools are renowned for their academic programs, faculty, and resources. They offer a wide range of programs and majors, attracting some of the brightest minds from around the world. Graduates from Ivy League schools often go on to have successful careers in various fields, including business, law, medicine, and academia.

Which universities are in the Ivy League?

The Ivy League consists of the following universities:

  • Harvard University
  • Yale University
  • Princeton University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Dartmouth College
  • Cornell University
  • Brown University

Each of these universities has its own unique strengths and areas of expertise. They are all highly selective and offer a wide range of academic programs to cater to the diverse interests of their students.

Common traits of Ivy League schools

While each Ivy League school has its own distinct identity, there are several common traits that they share:

  • Academic Excellence: Ivy League schools are known for their rigorous academic programs and high standards of education. They attract some of the brightest minds and offer a challenging learning environment.
  • Historical Significance: Most Ivy League schools have a long and storied history, with some dating back to the colonial era. They have produced numerous influential alumni who have made significant contributions to society.
  • Strong Alumni Networks: Ivy League schools have extensive alumni networks that provide valuable connections and opportunities for their graduates. These networks can be beneficial for career advancement and professional development.
  • Unique Campus Culture: Each Ivy League school has its own distinct campus culture and traditions. They offer a vibrant and engaging student life experience, with a wide range of extracurricular activities and clubs.

Bucknell University Overview

Bucknell University is a prestigious private liberal arts university located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1846, Bucknell has a long history of academic excellence and is known for its rigorous academic programs, distinguished faculty, and vibrant campus community.

About Bucknell

Bucknell offers a wide range of undergraduate majors and minors across the arts, humanities, sciences, and engineering disciplines. The university is committed to providing students with a well-rounded education that emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, students at Bucknell have the opportunity to work closely with their professors and receive personalized attention in a supportive learning environment.

The campus itself is beautiful, with a mix of historic buildings and modern facilities. Bucknell is also home to a variety of student organizations, clubs, and athletic teams, providing students with numerous opportunities to get involved and pursue their passions outside of the classroom.

Academics and Admissions at Bucknell

Bucknell is known for its strong academic programs, offering more than 50 majors and 60 minors. The university has a highly selective admissions process, with an acceptance rate of around 30%. The average SAT score for admitted students is 1400-1550, and the average ACT score is 31-34.

Students at Bucknell have access to a wide range of resources to support their academic success, including state-of-the-art research facilities, libraries, and study abroad opportunities. The university also offers a number of academic support services, such as tutoring and writing centers, to help students excel in their coursework.

How Bucknell Compares to the Ivies

While Bucknell is not officially part of the Ivy League, it is often compared to Ivy League schools due to its high academic standards and rigorous curriculum. In fact, Bucknell consistently ranks among the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

While the Ivy League schools have a long-standing reputation and history, Bucknell offers a similar level of academic rigor and prestige. This is evident in the success of Bucknell graduates, who go on to excel in a variety of fields, including business, law, medicine, and the arts.

It’s important to note that the Ivy League is an athletic conference, and the term “Ivy League” is often used to refer to a group of eight prestigious universities in the Northeastern United States. However, there are many other exceptional universities, like Bucknell, that offer a world-class education and can provide students with the tools they need to succeed in their chosen fields.

For more information about Bucknell University, you can visit their official website here.

Key Differences Between Bucknell and the Ivies


One of the key differences between Bucknell University and the Ivy League schools is their locations. While the Ivy League schools are predominantly located in the northeastern United States, Bucknell University is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

This gives Bucknell a unique setting, nestled in the beautiful Susquehanna River Valley.

Student Body Size

Another notable difference is the size of the student body. Ivy League schools tend to have larger student populations, with some schools boasting over 20,000 students. In contrast, Bucknell University has a smaller student body, with around 3,600 undergraduate students.

This smaller community allows for more personalized attention and a close-knit campus atmosphere.

Tuition Cost

Tuition cost is a major consideration for many students and families. While the Ivy League schools are known for their prestigious reputation, they also come with a hefty price tag. On the other hand, Bucknell University offers a more affordable option without sacrificing quality education.

The university provides generous financial aid packages to help make education accessible to a wider range of students.

Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate is another area where Bucknell University differs from the Ivy League schools. Ivy League schools are notorious for their highly competitive admissions processes, with acceptance rates often below 10%.

Bucknell University, while still selective, has a higher acceptance rate, making it a more attainable option for many students.

Academic Programs Offered

While the Ivy League schools are renowned for their comprehensive range of academic programs, Bucknell University also offers a diverse array of majors and minors. From business and engineering to the arts and humanities, Bucknell provides a well-rounded education that prepares students for a variety of career paths.

Bucknell’s Prestige as a Leading Liberal Arts College

When considering the prestige of Bucknell University, it is important to recognize its standing as a leading liberal arts college. While it is not a member of the Ivy League, Bucknell has established a solid reputation for providing a high-quality education and producing successful graduates.

National rankings

Bucknell consistently ranks among the top liberal arts colleges in the United States. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Bucknell is currently ranked #38 in the National Liberal Arts Colleges category.

This recognition reflects the university’s commitment to academic excellence and its ability to attract top-tier students and faculty.

Additionally, Bucknell has received accolades for its specific programs and departments. For example, its engineering program is ranked #44 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, highlighting its commitment to providing a strong STEM education.

Alumni network and career outcomes

Bucknell’s alumni network is a testament to the university’s prestige and the success of its graduates. With a strong emphasis on career development, Bucknell prepares students for success in their chosen fields.

The university’s alumni have gone on to achieve notable accomplishments in various industries, including business, finance, law, and the arts.

In fact, according to data from Bucknell’s Career Development Center, 93% of Bucknell graduates are employed, pursuing further education, or engaged in other meaningful activities within nine months of graduation.

This impressive statistic speaks to the value of a Bucknell education and the opportunities it provides for career advancement.


While Bucknell is renowned for its academic excellence, it also has a strong tradition in athletics. The university’s Division I athletic teams, known as the Bucknell Bison, compete in the Patriot League and have achieved significant success in various sports.

The Bucknell Bison football team, for example, has won multiple Patriot League championships and has made appearances in the NCAA FCS Playoffs. The men’s basketball team has also had its share of success, with several appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

These accomplishments highlight the university’s dedication to fostering a well-rounded student experience that includes both academic and athletic achievement.


While Bucknell University shares some similarities with Ivy League institutions in terms of rigorous academics and impressive outcomes, it is not officially part of the Ivy League athletic and academic conference.

However, Bucknell stands on its own as a highly respected liberal arts college, known for small class sizes, standout programs in engineering and management, and prime job placement rates. When considering top-tier colleges in the U.S., both the Ivy League and schools like Bucknell deserve strong consideration.

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