What is more academically difficult is Harvard or Princeton

Ivy League: The most important facts about studying at an elite US university

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Pennsylvania and Yale: these are the eight most prestigious universities in the USA. They form the world-famous "Ivy League" (literally: Ivy League) of the venerable US colleges. They offer tradition, first-class research and teaching, the best parties and secure job prospects for wickedly high costs. But is that actually true? And do you have realistic chances of getting one of the big eight as a German high school graduate?

What the Champions League is in the European football world, the Ivy League is in the American university landscape: The universities that belong to it are considered by many - not only in the USA - to be the best of the best. "It's like being accepted into some kind of classy club," says Nina Lemmens, head of the New York office of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), about studying at the Ivy League universities. In addition to training, you also get a network of alumni.

"The curriculum in the USA is more market-oriented, which may be due to the fact that many professors come from practical experience," confirms Sebastian Borchmeyer. Before completing his international affairs studies at Columbia University in New York, which he graduated in 2012, he studied economics in Vienna. "It is different to discuss problem-solving with a real politician than with a professor in Europe who may be much more well-read but does not know the practical problems."

How important is such a degree for a career?

Not everyone who completes a degree there automatically makes a career. But many who have made careers have studied there: with George Bush senior and junior, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the last four US presidents alone have degrees from Harvard or Yale.

German employers have already discovered the foreign elite universities as a potential source of personnel. "We have found that direct contact with colleagues from the country in which the students want to work later works best," says Thomas Fritz, recruiter for the German branch of the McKinsey management consultancy, who is currently recruiting graduates in New York advertises.

Borchmeyer has received a positive response from employers to his noble degree. “However, it's never a blank check for good jobs,” he says. Borchmeyer currently works for the World Bank in Washington.

These are the universities of the US Ivy League