Ivy League vs. Oxbridge vs. State School: Which is the best?

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Difference between Ivy League, Oxbridge and State School

Ask anyone who is planning to enter college and the Ivy League and Oxbridge schools would probably be the first choice…if money were no object that is. Unfortunately, cost is so often an influential factor in making the decision on which type of school to go to, and Ivy League and Oxbridge schools are often beyond the financial means of many students. State schools are other alternatives of course, but the question that comes up is how they are able to compare to those other schools in terms of academic merit. This comparison should give you an idea of their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Academic Merit

Most people who attend Oxbridge schools find that this gives them a fair amount of prestige and "bragging rights" in many parts of the world. Unfortunately, such credentials don’t do very much in terms of establishing and utilizing networks of contacts in the United States. Schools from both groups seem to carry an almost equivalent amount of academic merit, and you should be able to garner a favorable impression regardless of which one you attend.

While state schools have traditionally been on the bottom rung of the ladder in terms of academic value, some schools belonging to this category have since managed to catch up somewhat, and they have the further advantage of offering a broader range of disciplines and course studies.

Tradition And Student Population

As respectable as Ivy League schools are, they can hardly compare to the wealth of tradition and history behind the Oxbridge schools. In terms of student makeup, Oxbridge and Ivy League schools tend to be comprised of the cream of the crop of the academic world.

State schools have a clear advantage in that they often have a more diverse student population comprised of people from different backgrounds. Some proponents of the state school system suggest that this may result in more open-minded graduates.

Curriculum And Educational System

In terms of curriculum and educational systems, Oxbridge schools have a notable edge over Ivy League schools with regard to flexibility in shaping course coverage to suit the individual student. To the Ivy League schools’ credit however, they do offer more comprehensive coursework than Oxbridge schools.

State schools for their part offer a wider range of extra curricular activities than both types of schools. In addition such schools are subject to standardized curriculum and philosophies as mandated by state and federal regulatory bodies.


Ivy League

  • Has stringent admission policies
  • Has been known to refuse admission to Oxbridge grads and undergrads, some of which have exemplary academic records
  • Is known for its economic clout
  • Is actually quite similar to Oxbridge schools in educational approach


  • Provides a certain measure of esteem in United States schools
  • Does not provide a very extensive alumni network in the United States
  • Does not necessarily get you accepted into American educational circles
  • Quite respected all over the world
  • Has been providing quality education for more than eight hundred years

State Schools

  • Accessible to more students
  • Generally more lenient admissions requirements
  • Have a much larger student populations
  • Comprised of students from a wider range of diverse academic, economic and racial backgrounds
  • Generally maintain state and federal standards with regard to curriculum and grading

Which school has the smartest students?
  • Ivy League
  • Oxbridge
  • State School

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