What Are the Ivy League Colleges, And Are They Actually Better?

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I am wondering which colleges are Ivy League schools. I have heard there are eight, but I've also heard there are 12. I've heard MIT is one, then I've heard that MIT isn't but Stanford is. Anyway, can you tell me what the Ivy League schools are, what that means specifically, and if they are actually better than other schools? I am confused about the meaning and purpose of the classification.

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