Harvard Vs. Yale: Comparing Two Top-rated Ivy League Schools

Harvard Vs. Yale

The comparison between Harvard and Yale is never the easiest, as both Ivy League schools have many things in common. Harvard and Yale rank high in almost every aspect and are recognized for their academic excellence. 

Both schools have a vibrant student community and rich history. They are also among the oldest universities in the world. In college football, Yale and Harvard have made a name for themselves. Yale, at some point, had the most wins. Harvard also had a noteworthy college football history. Both schools, including Princeton, were the “Big Three” in college football.

Here, we’ll compare both schools to enable you to make an informed decision between both schools. Read on for more!

Harvard Vs. Yale: University Ranking

The QS World University Ranking 2024 edition is out, with Harvard and Yale occupying an impressive position on the list. Here’s how both schools fared on the list. 

Ranking Position University Score Year
3 Harvard 97.4 2024 Edition
17 Yale 87.7 2024 Edition

The ranking is performed yearly and includes universities around the world. It considers the top 1000 universities in the world. 

In the QS World University Rankings 2023 edition, Harvard occupied fifth (5th) on the list, while Yale occupied the eighteenth (18th) position. So, both Ivy League schools improved in ranking, as the 2024 edition shows. But it was Harvard that improved the most. It moved from 5th place to 3rd in the 2024 edition.      

In the 2022 edition of the QS World University Rankings, Harvard University occupied the 5th position. This shows that the university is highly rated and has been among the top 10 best universities in the world for decades.

In the 2022 ranking, Yale University occupied the 14th position on the list. It then dropped to 18th in 2023. Harvard is rated higher than Yale on the list. It is one of the top five best universities in the world. 

Harvard is ranked first in the world in academics, including graduate employers. On the contrary, Yale is ranked ninth (9th) in the world by academics and seventh (7th) by employers. 

Furthermore, while Harvard is ranked forty-fourth (44th) in faculty/student ratio, Yale is ranked higher. It ranks third (3rd) in terms of faculty/student ratio

In the QS World University Ranking 2024 edition, Harvard ranks 223rd for international students and 210th in the world for the percentage of international faculty members. On the contrary, Yale ranks 169th worldwide for international students and 293rd for research impact citation per faculty member. While Harvard ranks first in the world for arts and humanities, Yale currently ranks sixth.

Harvard ranks 8th world wide in engineering and technology, while Yale ranks 71st. Furthermore, while Harvard is first (1st) for life sciences and medicine, Yale is 14th for life sciences and medicine. 

Harvard is also first for natural sciences, while Yale is 20th for natural sciences. Another ranking shows Harvard is first (1st) for social sciences and management while Yale is 8th.

Verdict: Harvard tops Yale University in QS World University Ranking. Additionally, it has also been consistent in its ranking yearly. It currently ranks as the 3rd best university in the world.  

Harvard: The Background History

Did you know Harvard used to be a training ground for Unitary and Congregational clergy? 

Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, John Harvard didn’t establish Harvard University. Instead, he was the first benefactor, as his contribution made the establishment of the learning institute faster. John Harvard donated massively to the school. He gave half his estate and a library containing over 400 books.

Harvard University was founded in 1629. It was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard. Additionally, it’s the oldest learning institution in the United States of America. 

What is Harvard University popular for? Harvard is home to some of the world’s renowned institutes. These include the Harvard Business School, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard Law School. 

Graduates from Harvard are highly respected across the globe. That’s simply because the school has a solid reputation and high academic excellence, and its degrees are well-recognized worldwide. 

12 Interesting Facts About Harvard University You Need To Know

Here are some exciting things you need to know about Harvard University. Knowing these facts will enable you to appreciate the school more as a new student. Check them out below. 

Harvard University Facts
1. When was Harvard University founded? March 18, 1629
2. Who was the first president of Harvard? Henry Dunster 
3. Who was the first graduate of Harvard? Benjamin Woodbridge, 1652 to 1773.
4. What are Harvard University students called?  They are either called “Harvadians” or “Vardians.”
5. What name was Harvard originally called? It was called “New College” and used to train clergymen. The name changed to Harvard in 1639, as it was named after Rev. John Harvard.  
6. How wealthy is Harvard University? Harvard is the wealthiest university by endowment in the world. It has a $49.45 billion endowment. 
7. Who founded Harvard University? A vote by the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony led to the establishment of Harvard. 
8. When did the first Harvard-Yale football game take place?  The first-ever Harvard-Yale football match took place in 1875. Harvard won the game to the delight of the 150 students supporting the players. Yale University hosted the game.   
9. Who was the first woman appointed to Harvard University?  Alice Hamilton was the first woman appointed to Harvard’s faculty in 1918. 
10. Who was the first black student admitted to Harvard University?  Beverly Garnett Williams was the first black student admitted to Harvard in 1847. Unfortunately, he died even before the academic year started.  
11. Who owns Harvard University? Harvard is a non-profit corporation owned by no one. Or, instead, it owns itself. The president and fellows of the institution are the board of trustees. But none of them collects dividends. If Harvard University were to be dissolved today, its assets would revert to the Common Wealth of Massachusetts.  
12. Does Harvard give scholarships?  Yes.

Yale University: The Background History:

Yale University has a rich history and is ranked among the top Ivy League schools. It’s the third oldest learning institution in the United States of America (Harvard is the oldest).

Yale was established in 1701 and is among the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution began. Furthermore, one thing Yale and Harvard had in common was the involvement of clergy members in their establishment. 

You can trace Yale’s roots back to the 1640s when clergymen were eager to establish a college in New Havens to preserve and continue the tradition of European liberal education in the New World. Fortunately, the vision the clergymen had came to fulfillment in 1701.

Did you know Yale’s original name was “Collegiate School?” So, like Harvard, Yale’s name was later changed. The university became “Yale ” in 1716, named after British East India Company Governor Elihu Yale.  

A Handy Tip: Harvard and Yale started their journeys with theological studies before introducing liberal arts and sciences. Then, the myriad of courses we have in both institutes today. 

What is Yale University known for? Like Harvard, Yale is famous for its academic excellence, as expected from an Ivy League school. It is renowned for its social sciences, arts, history, mathematics, engineering, and statistics.

12 Interesting Facts About Yale University You Need To Know

Yale is a top-rated school with a rich history and academic achievement. As a freshman, knowing the historical facts that make the school what it is will enable you to appreciate it more. 

So, here, we’ll unravel interesting facts about Yale University. 

  Yale University  Facts
1. What is Yale popular for? Yale is famous for groundbreaking research and innovativeness. The students and staff at the university push themselves to the limit to break and set new academic records in research and innovation.  
2. What was Yale University formerly called? Collegiate School
3. What’s Yale University’s motto in English?  The university’s motto in Hebrew is Lux et veritas (Latin) אורים ותמים. In English, it means “Light and Truth.”
4. Which president went to Yale University?  Currently, five former presidents attend the university. The names are William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, William Jefferson Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. The numbers could increase in the future.    
5. Who went to Yale at age 13? Jonathan Edwards went to Yale at 13. He’s a 1720 alumnus, a theologian, and a child prodigy. He was one of the most celebrated theologians of his time.    
6. How many schools does Yale University have?  Yale has fourteen residential colleges.  
7. What kind of students go to Yale University? Yale is a top school that admits only the best students. According to the institute, they check students’ high school transcripts to know their academic drive and performance. Yale admits students who have taken several challenging high school courses and performed well. 
8. What is someone from Yale called? A “Yalie.” 
9. Is Yale a private school? Yale is a private institution founded in 1701.
10. Does Yale accept a GPA of 3.5? According to the institution, they don’t have a specific GPA requirement. GPA is also one of the many factors considered when admitting students. However, a higher GPA increases the chances of securing admission. But if your GPA is lower, you must compensate for that with a high SAT/ACT score.  
11. Does Yale give full scholarships to international students? International students can get fully-funded scholarships at Yale University.  
12. What GPA can get you into Yale? You’ll require a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Yale University. You also need to take more challenging courses in school to increase your chances of securing admission. 

Harvard Vs. Yale University Location 

Yale and Harvard are situated in the northeastern region. Yale is located in New Haven, Connecticut, two hours away from Boston. 

New Haven is a small city, though it has plenty to explore. It boasts historic sites, museums, and plenty of food to satisfy a foodie’s desire. So, Yale is an excellent choice if you want to live in a small city. Yale is just two hours away from Boston, a city packed with diverse industries and opportunities. 

Unlike Yale, Harvard is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a large city. Additionally, Harvard is just a mile away from Boston. Cambridge is a bustling and vibrant city packed with many things to do. 

So, the choice before you is the city you wish to live in. Do you want to live in Cambridge, a large town a mile away from Boston, or New Haven, a small city approximately 2 hours away from Boston?

In either case, remember that you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds, as there is much to explore in both cities. Additionally, both are close to Boston, though Harvard is closer. 

Comparing Harvard Vs. Yale Admission Rate 

Ivy League schools aren’t only expensive to get into. Securing admission to these schools is difficult. There is high competition among students, coupled with the schools’ outrageous academic demands. 

Getting into Harvard and Yale takes a lot of work. Students must have high GPAs and test scores and take up several challenging courses, including extracurricular activities in high school, to stand a chance of securing admission. You must demonstrate that you can match both schools’ hard work, dedication, and academic excellence values. 

Here is a quick breakdown of both schools’ test school and acceptance rates. 

Harvard Yale
Acceptance Rate (Class of 2025) 3.43% 4.62%
Number of Students 6,755 (approx) 6,092 (approx)
Average SAT/ACT Scores SAT = 1460 – 1580ACT = 32 – 35 SAT = 1460 – 1570ACT = 32 – 35
Average GPA 3.7 – 4.0 3.7 – 4.0

Harvard has a lower acceptance rate, which shows how difficult it is to secure admission into the institution. It is more challenging to secure an admission into Yale than Harvard. But this is understandable. In the ranking comparison, Harvard toppled Yale in almost every category. It ranks 3rd, while Yale ranks 17th.  

A Handy Tip: Every aspect of your application is a window for you to showcase your character to the admission committee. So, show them you’ll be a student of value to the institution and yourself. 

The admission committee wants to visualize you participating in student clubs and organizations on campus. They want to visualize you taking advantage of the school’s vast resources. 

So, your academic performance is one of many things that will give you a chance to secure admission into Harvard or Yale. How you showcase your character in your application will have an impact.  

Comparing Harvard And Yale Tuition Fees 

How expensive is Harvard Vs Yale? Besides academic excellence, tuition fees are another thing students and parents should consider before applying. 

Here is a breakdown of Harvard and Yale’s tuition and fees.

Harvard Yale Winner
Tuition $51,904 $59,950 Harvard has lower tuition
Housing (room) and board (your meal plan) $21,130  $17,800 Yale has a lower room and meal plan fee.
Total estimated cost  $85,060 $81,575 Overall, Yale is cheaper than Harvard.

Harvard and Yale are expensive learning institutions. However, our analysis shows that Harvard is more costly than Yale for students paying their tuition and fees out of pocket. The figures quoted are high and can deter many who dream of schooling at Harvard or Yale from pursuing their dreams. But that shouldn’t be the case. 

If you genuinely want to secure admission to any Ivy League school, “Harvard or Yale,” you can achieve your dream. Both schools offer financial aid to students. So, you might end up paying nothing. 

Students who earn below a certain amount yearly don’t pay a dime. Additionally, 20% of the families of students studying at Harvard don’t pay anything. It will also amaze you to know that half of the undergraduate students at Harvard are on the school’s need-based aid program

Yale also offers financial aid, just as Harvard does, to help encourage students. The institution even admits students, promising to cover 100% of their tuition fees. Yale’s financial aid is available for international students, too. Families that make less than $75,000 yearly don’t pay for anything at Yale


This Harvard Vs. Yale’s comparison is a hard one as both are Ivy League schools and are a dream for many students worldwide. Harvard and Yale are among the world’s top 20 best universities. But while Harvard ranks 3rd in the current QS World University Ranking, Yale ranks 17th.

You’ll discover that Harvard is more expensive in terms of tuition fees. However, both universities offer financial aid to students. And any student can benefit from the school’s financial aid, including international students. 

We have provided the stats and information. Now, you have to make a choice. Which institution, Harvard or Yale, would you choose if given a chance?


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