Top-tier liberal arts schools have long held the nickname of ‘The Little Ivies’. This term usually refers to elite schools within the NESCAC, primarily: Amherst, Williams, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Hamilton, Tufts, Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin. The implication here is that these small liberal arts colleges resemble the Ivy League Universities, both in terms of competitiveness and caliber - despite being smaller and less recognized.

Like most schools, the Little Ivies have been hitting record low admissions rates. Every single year, these prestigious schools seem to be getting more and more competitive. When I was applying into Bates in 2018, the admissions rate had plunged from 22% to 17% percent. Only a few years later, it is now closer to 10%. To put this into perspective, Dartmouth College was 11% when I was applying to Bates.

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The bottom line is, the Little Ivies are earning their title more than ever nowadays. If you are interested in these schools - which I wouldn’t blame you for - you’re going to have to perfect your application to stand out against the overwhelming competition. There are obviously plenty of resources for the Ivy League schools (e.g.,, etc.) but what about for the smaller elites?

This is exactly what our team at Nescac Guide is here to provide: information, resources, and genuine connections specifically for NESCAC applicants. We are a growing community of recent alums and admissions specialists, and we cannot wait to help you on your journey. We want to give away our best information for free, so please feel welcome to check out our website's main resources, free of charge. This includes a first time essay review, where we will send you a comprehensive report of our suggestions and comments. We know exactly what each of these schools are looking for, and the personality conveyed in your essay is particularly important for these schools.

For those of you who already have your heart set on a specific school, we also recommend trying out one-on-one counseling and application workshops through our school representatives. For more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at! We look forward to meeting you!