UCONN: The New Public Ivy

uconnA few years ago, Eric a senior from East Lyme High School gained admission to two Ivy League schools. He also was admitted to UCONN with a generous scholarship. His family had enough money to send him to an Ivy League college and they were definitely – and admittedly – school snobs. Eric chose UCONN. That he wanted to have enough money for med school was a large part of the reason but so was UCONN’s honors program and UCONN’s growing reputation.

Of course, there is no such thing as a public Ivy and the Ivies are simply a league of 8 colleges formed a couple hundred years ago. But the term “Ivy” often is short hand for elite college and a decade ago, I don’t know if Eric would have made the same decision because UCONN might not have been able to compete with elite colleges.

In the early 2000s, the “public Ivy universities” were limited to Cal-Berkeley, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan and several others which I may have inadvertently left out (don’t get mad at me, U-Wisconsin fans, not many Connecticut students apply!)

The challenging news is that UCONN now has very demanding admission standards. The great news for most Connecticut residents is that UCONN’s reputation as a top college has vastly increased over the last decade. It is pretty close to being a public Ivy.