Attending an Ivy League school certainly hasn't hurt the the careers of some young actresses. Consider Princeton graduate Brooke Shields and former Yalie Jodie Foster.

Harvard student Elizabeth Shue currently is not as well known as Shields or Foster, but she may soon be as her movie "Cocktail," starring Tom Cruise, hits the nation's theaters.Shue, 24, a native of South Orange, N.J., is spending her summer on a national promotion tour for "Cocktail" but intends to return to Harvard for her final semester.

"My maternal grandfather graduated from Harvard and so did my father," said Shue. "I began college at Wellesley, where my mother and her mother both went to school. But I transferred to Harvard two years ago. I'm the first member of either family to attend both universities.

Shue interrupted her education after two years at Wellesley to appear in "The Karate Kid," the short-lived TV series "Call to Glory" and an unsuccessful film titled "Link."

After her junior year at Harvard, Shue took off another year, 1985-86, to star in "Adventures in Babysitting" and "Cocktail." This spring she completed the first half of her senior year.

"The only problem with taking time off from school to make a movie is the break in continuity of my studies," she said. "It's kind of chopped up. I've been going to college for six years now.

"But there are compensations, too. Acting and study have been integrated in my life, not isolated experiences. I've been simultaneously involved in the world of education and the real world of experience in show business. I suppose few people have enjoyed doing both at the same time.

"I know I'm not the typical university student, and I'm not the typical motion picture actress, making the Hollywood social scene. I've never been to a Hollywood party and I've never gone to a Harvard prom.

"I've persisted in school because my family always stressed education. I realized that the most important thing for a human being is to be aware of the world and what is going on in it, understand as much as possible and then try to effect change where it is needed.

"I'm majoring in goverment and my main interest is urban and Latin American politics."

While Shue's studies involve politics, she is averse to espousing her own political beliefs, convinced that being an actress does not automatically command respect or attention from other citizens.

"I hope to get involved in government in some capacity," she said, "but I don't want to confuse my artistic endeavors with social causes. It would be dangerous to have people listen to my views because I'm in movies."