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Despite being considered among the most selective colleges in the United States, with admission rates from 6% to 16%, Ivy League schools show up frequently in fiction.
In a particularly extreme version of this trope, there will be an "Ivy League or nothing!
A show about high-tier law firms, for example, is justified in having an above-average Ivy quotient because Harvard and Yale have high-quality law schools.
However, even in the most extreme cases, any given environment will have plenty of people who graduated from other schools for the simple reason of sheer numbers.
The eight Ivy League universities are: Don't feel bad if you've only heard of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, since those are referenced in fiction far more than the others.
The rule about not discussing coursework also holds at this stage.
This has all been popularized by Author Appeal—quite a few writers went to the Ivy Leagues, and enjoy name-dropping the institution to show off how cool they are.
Beyond that, it's just plain convenient - saying that a character came from a university infamous for its selectivity and alumni is a quick way to show the audience they're well-educated.
Depending on the setting this trope can still be plausible, usually if it focuses on people whose career interests directly relate to their alma mater.
" mentality implying that if a character doesn't get into an Ivy League school they might as well study with the hobo in the alley.
If they get in, don't expect the characters to actually discuss their coursework or major, the name is enough to convince the audience that it's prestigious and important and that's all that matters.
In the case that we're past the high school setting, this information will commonly show up in a character's educational background.
Usually this will be done as a shorthand to show that a character is either smart, ambitious, or filthy rich.