Which Ivy League College Is Best For Computer Science?

Cornell is the best Ivy League college for computer science according to US News Rankngs on best undergrad colleges for computer science. Currently, Cornell is #5 in the CS University Rankings. The runner-up is Princeton at #8. Harvard and Yale are not even among the top 10 undergraduate computer science universities and they are relatively weak in CS. In general, most of the Ivy League is not really known for its computer science programs.

The Ivy League is made up of 8 schools: Brown, Columbia Cornell, Dartmouth Harvard, Princeton, UPenn and Yale. These schools are arguably the best in the world, and they often dominate the top 10 “Best Colleges”, as ranked by Forbes, US News, and Business Insider. 

cornell is the best ivy league college for computer science

Why is Cornell the best Ivy League college for computer science?

It is well-known that Cornell is the best Ivy League college for computer science. Cornell is even more impressive when you consider RESEARCH. In addition, Cornell is even more impressive when you consider Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (aka, the future). There are many great computer science professors in the Ivy League. However, Cornell is the undisputed #1 school for computer sciences in the Ivy League. It is strong in CS at the undergraduate levels, offers top notch opportunities, has the most alumni network for CS out of the Ivy League, far better research, and has an AI department that is superior to other Ivy League schools, such as Brown and Penn.

Cornell is not the #1 computer science school if you include other colleges that aren’t part of the Ivy League. CMU, MIT, and Stanford are all better. Berkeley is also another great option. Despite Berkely’s bad reputation for bureaucracy and campus food and the fact that they are a large state school, they still have strong alumni connections to Silicon Valley.

The Ivies are above average at computer science. Do know that there are colleges that rank better for their computer science programs than any of the Ivies which are: Stanford, CMU, MIT, and UC Berkely.

Why is Cornell the best Ivy League college for computer science?

Cornell has the best computer science and technical rankings
The Ivy League university Cornell was ranked #5 on the US News and World Report 2021 Computer Science rankings. It was also ranked #6 in Cybersecurity, Programming Languages, and Theory and #8 for Data Analytics/science. And #11 for Software Engineering and Computer Systems.
Cornell’s faculty and size
Cornell boasts world-class well-renowned faculty and a vibrant student community. Cornell also has strong ties to the computer science industry. Cornell is also the only Ivy to have its own College of Computing and Information Science. This demonstrates the university’s commitment to promoting computing. This has a direct effect on computing education and research, as more resources are available.

Cornell is also large, which makes it different. Eight Ivies are there and Cornell educates one-quarter of the 60,000 undergraduates attending Ivy Leagues. Critics claim this weakens Cornell. It actually offers more opportunities in areas that the other Ivies do not touch. These include agriculture/life sciences (feeding the planet affordably is important), human development (how children grow), hospitality (arguably the best in the world), and Industrial/Labor Relations (ILR, if sometimes pronounced “pre-law”. Cornell’s greatest departments are those that are more focused on doing than thinking, according to a Cornell professor. Cornell’s Computer Science and Engineering are the best out of all the Ivy Leagues.

My experience at Cornell computer science

I attend Cornell for computer science and I can say it is an amazing learning experience. Computer science is extremely competitive. Everybody who joins is smart and extremely hardworking. With world-class faculty, the bar has been raised. Cornell was a great place to learn! Cornell taught me time management, discipline, and the importance of consistent study. I was a top performer in every class and course that I took before joining Cornell. I learned a lot from my self-politeness. Every Cornell employee was smarter, more intelligent, and more hardworking than me. I know more than most people when I go to work every day or speak to people. If you’ve been accepted, don’t miss out on the opportunity.

As a Cornell senior in CS, I am about to graduate. Here is my view on the “difficulty”.

1. High-quality teaching: Professors are extremely helpful and readily available at all hours (even at 4 AM). Many of them have strict deadlines, so it can be difficult to manage multiple projects at once (especially before breaks).

There are TAs available to assist you with any design decision or life problem. Although professors may give you easy problems, the difficulty level is moderate (not too difficult not too easy). You will be fine if you attend class and seek out help frequently. However, for college students, this is often not possible so it can get challenging.

2. Coursework: This is a Cornell innovation. We have separate courses that teach theory and apply it. Each course comes with a practicum, where you learn more about the topic and then implement it. Although the courses are mainly theoretical, there are some interesting projects. Many of the courses require you to work with a team, which makes it much easier. It is also great fun to work alongside others.

3. Students all around you: There is competition everywhere! Yes, we all compete to be the best in every project we are given. Although this is healthy, it can sometimes get to your nerves.

My experience was that competing with other students was the biggest challenge. However, when I focused on my learning and wiped out the distractions around me, Cornell became much less stressful. I would describe Cornell’s CS program as challenging but very rewarding. Despite the long hours, the projects were actually enjoyable and I felt like they had taught me the material. The teachers are often willing to help students, despite having large classes. Cornell’s CS courses will be focused on the underlying mathematics as well as proof-writing to support the creation/building of sound algorithms. Cornell is a world-renowned institution in theoretical algorithm design, mathematical/applied ML, matrix factorization and game theory.


Cornell computer science in a nutshell:

  • Fantastic computer science faculty, large engineering program
  • I have found that the tech industry is more diverse than expected. Cornell CS Brand is strong if you are determined to go into tech after graduation.
  • There is a lot of diversity in terms of student backgrounds, study areas, and classes offered.


Cornell is an “excellent university.” Cornell is a well-respected university in technical fields like computer science. They have strict admissions standards. The tuition costs are high so be prepared. There are many colleges and universities that have computer science departments. Don’t limit yourself to one. Visit several institutions before you make your decision.

Other resources:
You can read my post about the best colleges for computer science. You can read my post about a list of computer science internships for high school students. You can also read my post about which Ivy League School is best for medical studies, the best extracurricular activities for Ivy League, and Ivy League SAT scores.

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