Ivy League Agreement

Candidates on Common Ivy League Admission Procedure

Applicants who expect to play on one or more of Cornell’s 37 varsity teams must continue to align their activity with Ivy League policy. Recruited student athletes must follow Ivy League guidelines.

The Ivy League is an association of eight institutions of higher education, established in 1954 primarily for the purpose of fostering amateurism in athletics. Although the Ivy League institutions are similar in many respects, each member institution makes its own independent admission decisions according to its own particular admissions policy. 

In that the transition between secondary school and institutions of higher education is complex, the institutions have agreed to simplify the process through more uniform admissions procedures. Below is a summary of the procedures under which we are operating, which are shared to provide prospective students with a better understanding of the process.

1. Timing of Decisions

Ivy League institutions mail admission decision letters twice annually, in mid-December and late March. Those who wish for a decision in December must apply by early to mid-November and complete their applications with supporting materials shortly thereafter. A student may not file more than one Early Decision or Early Action application within the Ivy League. 

  • Early Application — December Notification: Under December Notification, an applicant may be notified that he or she has been granted or denied admission or that a final decision has been deferred until the late March notification date. Two plans are offered according to individual institutional policy.
    • Early Decision: The College Board-approved Early Decision Plan, which is offered by Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania, requires a prior commitment to matriculate. Financial aid awards for those qualifying for financial assistance will normally be announced in full detail at the same time as the admission decisions. An applicant receiving admission and an adequate financial award under the Early Decision Plan will be required to accept that offer of admission and withdraw all applications to other colleges or universities. All Ivy League institutions will honor any required commitment to matriculate that has been made to another college under this plan.
    • Early Action: A Single Choice Early Action Plan is offered by Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. This plan does not require a commitment to matriculate, and students may apply to other colleges under those colleges’ regular admission programs (spring notification of final admission decision) but not to another private institution’s Early Action or Early Decision program. 
  • Regular Decision — Notification in the Spring
    • Common Notification Date: On a common date, usually in late March, applicants to Ivy League institutions will be notified of admission decisions and financial aid awards. (Letters are mailed beginning in February for the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration and the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and beginning in February for the School of Nursing at Penn.)
    • Common Reply Date: A candidate admitted under the regular decision process to any of the Ivy League institutions may take until the Common Reply Date of May 1 to announce his or her decision to accept or decline an offer of admission. By that date all admitted candidates must affirm in writing their single choice. 
  • Waiting Lists: The preceding paragraph does not preclude students from remaining on active waiting lists and withdrawing promptly from their original college choice upon receiving subsequent waiting list acceptance to another institution. However, the Ivy League institutions reserve their right to rescind acceptance decisions from candidates who make commitments to and who hold confirmed places at more than one institution concurrently. Students who choose to remain on an active waiting list after May 1 will normally receive a final response no later than July 1.

2. Early Evaluation 

As determined by each institution, admissions offices may choose to advise certain applicants in writing of the probability of admission (e.g., likely, possible, unlikely), no earlier than October 1 of the prospect’s senior year in high school. Likely letters will have the effect of letters of admission, in that as long as the applicant sustains the academic and personal record reflected in the completed application, the institution will send a formal admission offer on the appropriate notification date. An applicant who receives one or more such written communications and who has made a decision to matriculate at one institution is encouraged (but not required) to notify all other institutions, and to withdraw all other applications, as promptly as possible.

  • Likely Letters to Student-Athletes
    • From October 1 through March 15 of senior year, an admissions office may issue probabilistic communications, in writing, to recruited student-athlete applicants who have submitted all required application materials. 
  • Preliminary Feedback
    • Ivy League Admissions Offices will provide feedback to coaches on an individual student’s application no earlier than July 1 following the junior year in high school. 
  • Communications with Coaches
    • Coaches may communicate to the Admissions Office their support for candidates who are athletic recruits. Candidates are encouraged to ask coaches directly about the coach’s level of interest in them as potential athletic recruits, and should be prepared for coaches to inquire about the candidate’s level of interest as well. Ivy League coaches may indicate the extent to which a candidate’s interest will affect their willingness to support an application, so that candidates can make informed decisions about potential opportunities. 

Please note that while a coach may ask whether or not his or her school is a candidate’s top choice, a coach may not require a candidate to refrain from visiting or applying to other schools, or to withdraw applications to other schools, as a condition for support during the admissions process. 
Only the Admissions Office has the authority to make or communicate an admissions decision. Communications regarding admissions status provided by coaches, whether orally or in writing, do not constitute binding institutional commitments.

3. Financial Aid Policies

  • Need-Based Financial Aid
    • All the Ivy League institutions follow the common policy that any financial aid for student-athletes will be awarded and renewed on the sole basis of economic need with no differentiation in amount or in kind (e.g., packaging) based on athletic ability or participation, provided that each school shall apply its own standard of economic need. The official award of aid may only be made at or subsequent to the time of admission.
  • Awarding of Financial Aid
    • Only the Office of Financial Aid has the authority to award financial aid on behalf of the institution, and applicants should rely only on formal communications from these offices. No suggestion that financial aid may be available that comes from anyone else associated with the institution is binding on the institution. No applicant should consider or accept an offer of financial help from an alumnus, and any such offer should be reported immediately to the Office of Financial Aid. 

4. Participating Institutions

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