How To Be Accepted Into Hardest University

The Hardest University To Get Into

When it come to college admissions, some schools are a much more difficult — if not seemingly impossible — nut to crack.

The most difficult U.S. college to get into has an acceptance rate of just 5 percent and its enrolled-student SAT scores are between 1430 and 1600, according to a 2018 ranking by academic review site

The rankings are based on acceptance rates and SAT/ACT test score data from the U.S. Department of Education.

Harvard University
Harvard University — Cambridge, Massachusetts

1. Harvard University — Cambridge, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 5 percent

SAT range: 1430-1600

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 45,278 USD

Address: Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities. The Harvard Corporation is its first chartered corporation.

Stanford University
Stanford University — Stanford, California

2. Stanford University — Stanford, California

Acceptance rate: 5 percent

SAT range: 1380-1580

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 46,320 USD

Address: 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

Stanford University (officially Leland Stanford Junior University, colloquially the Farm) is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic strength, wealth, proximity to Silicon Valley, and ranking as one of the world's top universities.

Yale University
Yale University — New Haven, Connecticut

3. Yale University — New Haven, Connecticut

Acceptance rate: 7 percent

SAT range: 1420-1600

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 47,600 USD

Address: New Haven, CT 06520, USA

Yale University is an American private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.


4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — Cambridge, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 8 percent

SAT range: 1460-1590

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 46,704 USD

Address: 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. The Institute is traditionally known for its research and education in the physical sciences and engineering, but more recently in biology, economics, linguistics and management as well. MIT is often ranked among the world's top universities.


5. California Institute of Technology — Pasadena, California

Acceptance rate: 9 percent

SAT range: 1510-1600

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 45,390 USD

The California Institute of Technology (abbreviated Caltech) is a private doctorate-granting research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Known for its strength in natural science and engineering, Caltech is often ranked as one of the world's top-ten hardest universities to get into.


6. Princeton University — Princeton, New Jersey

Acceptance rate: 7 percent

SAT range: 1400-1590

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 43,450 USD

Address: Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, where it was renamed Princeton University in 1896.


7. University of Chicago

Acceptance rate: 8 percent

SAT range: 1450-1600

Address:  Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

The University of Chicago (UChicago, U of C, or Chicago) is a private, non-profit research university in Chicago, Illinois. It holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.
The university is composed of the College, various graduate programs and interdisciplinary committees organized into five academic research divisions and seven professional schools. Beyond the arts and sciences, Chicago is also well known for its professional schools, which include the Pritzker School of Medicine, the Booth School of Business, the Law School, the School of Social Service Administration, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, the Divinity School and the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. The university currently enrolls 5,971 undergraduate students, and 16,016 students overall.


8. Columbia University — New York City

Acceptance rate: 7 percent

SAT range: 1410-1590

Address: New York City, New York, United States

Columbia University (Columbia; officially Columbia University in the City of New York), established in 1754, is a private Ivy League research university in Upper Manhattan, New York City. Columbia contains the oldest college in the state of New York and is the fifth chartered institution of higher learning in the United States, making it one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence. It was established as King's College by royal charter of George II of Great Britain and renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolutionary War. The university has produced numerous distinguished alumni. In 2017, its undergraduate acceptance rate was 5.5%, making it the third most selective college in the United States and the second most selective in the Ivy League.


9. Vanderbilt University — Nashville, Tennessee

Acceptance rate: 11 percent

SAT range: 1420-1590

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 44,712 USD

Address: 2201 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37235, USA

Vanderbilt University (informally Vandy) is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. Founded in 1873, it was named in honor of shipping and rail magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided the school its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the South. Vanderbilt hoped that his gift and the greater work of the university would help to heal the sectional wounds inflicted by the Civil War.


10. Brown University — Providence, Rhode Island

Acceptance rate: 9 percent

SAT range: 1370-1570

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 49,346 USD

Address: Providence, RI 02912, USA

Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, it is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the U.S. and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.


11. University of Pennsylvania — Philadelphia

Acceptance rate: 9 percent

SAT range: 1380-1570

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 49,536 USD

Address: Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

The University of Pennsylvania (commonly known as Penn or UPenn) is a private Ivy League research university located in the University City section of West Philadelphia. Incorporated as The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn is one of 14 founding members of the Association of American Universities and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.


12. Duke University — Durham, North Carolina

Acceptance rate: 11 percent

SAT range: 1380-1570

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 49,241 USD

Address: Durham, NC 27708, USA

Duke University is a private, non-profit, research university located in Durham, North Carolina. Duke holds a top-ten position in various national rankings. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present-day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco and electric power industrialist James Buchanan Duke established The Duke Endowment, at which time the institution changed its name to honor his deceased father, Washington Duke.


13. Dartmouth College — Hanover, New Hampshire

Acceptance rate: 11 percent

SAT range: 1350-1560

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 49,506 USD 

Address: Hanover, NH 03755, USA

Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League research university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. Established in 1769 by Eleazar Wheelock, it is the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Although founded as a school to educate Native Americans in Christian theology and the English way of life, Dartmouth primarily trained Congregationalist ministers throughout its early history before it gradually secularized, emerging at the turn of the 20th century from relative obscurity into national prominence.


14. Harvey Mudd College — Claremont, California

Acceptance rate: 13 percent

SAT range: 1420-1580

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 50,649 USD

Address: 301 Platt Blvd, Claremont, CA 91711, USA

Harvey Mudd College (HMC) is a private residential undergraduate science and engineering college in Claremont, California. It is one of the institutions of the contiguous Claremont Colleges which share adjoining campus grounds. Harvey Mudd College shares university resources such as libraries, dining halls, health services and campus security with the other Claremont Colleges, although each college is independently managed, with their own faculty, board of trustees, endowment, and admissions procedures. Students at Harvey Mudd College may take classes (acceptable for academic credit at Harvey Mudd College) at the other four undergraduate Claremont colleges. The Bachelor of Science diploma received at graduation is issued by Harvey Mudd College.


15. Pomona College — Claremont, California

Acceptance rate: 9 percent

SAT range: 1340-1540

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 47,620 USD

Address: Sumner Hall, 333 N College Way, Claremont, CA 91711, USA

Pomona College is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college in Claremont, California, United States. It was founded in 1887 by a group of Congregationalists who wanted to recreate a "college of the New England type" on the West Coast. In the 1920s, it became the founding member of the Claremont Colleges consortium as President James A. Blaisdell founded a system of collaborating institutions modeled after the constituent colleges of Oxford University and Cambridge University.


16. Northwestern University — Evanston, Illinois

Acceptance rate: 11 percent

SAT range: 1400-1560

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 49,047 USD

Address: 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208, USA

Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Miami, Florida, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, California. Along with its selective undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its highly ranked Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, and Medill School of Journalism.


17. Rice University — Houston

Acceptance rate: 15 percent

SAT range: 1410-1570

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 42,253 USD

Address: 6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005, USA

William Marsh Rice University, commonly known as Rice University, is a private research university located on a 300-acre (121 ha) campus in Houston, Texas, United States. The university is situated near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center. Rice is generally considered the most selective institution of higher education in the state of Texas.


18. Johns Hopkins University — Baltimore, Maryland

Acceptance rate: 13 percent

SAT range: 1400-1570

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 48,710 USD

Address: Baltimore, MD 21218, USA

Johns Hopkins University is an American private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (approximately $141.2 million in today's dollars)—of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States at that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution's first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany's ancient Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States.


19. Swarthmore College — Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

Acceptance rate: 13 percent

SAT range: 1305-1530

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 47,442 USD

Address: 500 College Ave, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA

Swarthmore College  is a private liberal arts college located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Philadelphia. Founded in 1864, Swarthmore was one of the earliest coeducational colleges in the United States. It was established to be a college "...under the care of Friends, at which an education may be obtained equal to that of the best institutions of learning in our country." By 1906, Swarthmore dropped its religious affiliation, becoming officially non-sectarian.


20. Claremont McKenna College — Claremont, California

Acceptance rate: 9 percent

SAT range: 1320-1490

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 49,045 USD

Address: 888 Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711, USA

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) is a coeducational, private liberal arts college in Claremont, California, United States, with a curricular emphasis on economics, finance, international relations, government and public affairs. CMC is a member of the Claremont Colleges consortium.


21. Washington University in St. Louis

Acceptance rate: 17 percent

SAT range: 1400-1570

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 48,093 USD

Address: 1 Brookings Dr, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA

Washington University in St. Louis (also referred to as WashU, or WUSTL) is a private research university located in the St. Louis metropolitan area and elsewhere in Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named after George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all 50 U.S. states and more than 120 countries. As of 2017, 24 Nobel laureates have been affiliated with Washington University, nine having done the major part of their pioneering research at the university. Washington University's undergraduate program is ranked 18th by U.S. News & World Report in 2018 and 11th by the Wall Street Journal in their 2018 rankings. The university is ranked 20th in the world in 2017 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The acceptance rate for the class of 2022 (those entering in the fall of 2018) was 15%, with students selected from over 31,000 applications.


22. Cornell University — Ithaca, New York

Acceptance rate: 14 percent

SAT range: 1330-1530

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 49,116 USD

Address: Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Cornell University  is a private and statutory Ivy League research university located in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge—from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's motto, a popular 1865 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."


23. Amherst College — Amherst, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 14 percent

SAT range: 1360-1555

Address: Amherst, MA 01002, USA

Amherst College  is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. Founded in 1821 as an attempt to relocate Williams College by its president, Zephaniah Swift Moore, Amherst is the third oldest institution of higher education in Massachusetts. The institution was named after the town, which in turn had been named after Lord Jeffery Amherst. Amherst was established as a men's college and became coeducational in 1975.


24. Bowdoin College — Brunswick, Maine

Acceptance rate: 15 percent

SAT range: 1360-1510

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 48,212 USD

Address: 255 Maine St, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA

Bowdoin College  is a private liberal arts college located in Brunswick, Maine. At the time Bowdoin was chartered in 1794, Maine was still a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The college offers 33 majors and four additional minors, as well as several joint engineering programs with Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Caltech and The University of Maine.


25. Tufts University — Boston

Acceptance rate: 14 percent

SAT range: 1370-1520

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 50,604 USD

Address: 419 Boston Ave, Medford, MA 02155‎, USA

Tufts University is a private research university incorporated in the municipality of Medford, Massachusetts, United States. A charter member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC), Tufts College was founded in 1852 by Christian Universalists who worked for years to open a nonsectarian institution of higher learning. For more than a century, Tufts was a small New England liberal arts college until its transformation into a larger research university in the 1970s.


26. Williams College — Williamstown, Massachusetts

Acceptance rate: 18 percent

SAT range: 1330-1540

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 50,070 USD

Address: 880 Main St, Williamstown, MA 01267, USA

Williams College is a private liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States. It was established in 1793 with funds from the estate of Ephraim Williams, a colonist from the Province of Massachusetts Bay who was killed in the French and Indian War in 1755. The college was ranked first in 2017 in the U.S. News & World Report's liberal arts ranking for the 15th consecutive year, and third among liberal art colleges in the 2017 Forbes magazine ranking of America's Top Colleges.


27. Georgetown University — Washington, D.C.

Acceptance rate: 17 percent

SAT range: 1320-1520

Undergraduate tuition and fees: 48,611 USD

Address: 3700 O St NW, Washington, DC 20057, USA

Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit academic institution in the country. It started offering classes in 1792 and awarded its first bachelor’s degrees in 1817. It now has some 6,300 undergraduate students (and about the same number of graduate students) from all 50 U.S. states and some 130 foreign countries, according to the admissions page on its website.


28. The Cooper Union — New York City

Acceptance rate: 15 percent

SAT range: 1250-1500

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art was founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859. Today, the school offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.


29. University of Notre Dame — Notre Dame, Indiana

Acceptance rate: 19 percent

SAT range: 1350-1540

This private Catholic university was founded in the 1840s by a French priest and initially had just a dozen or so students per year. It now has more than 8,600 undergraduate students who can choose from about 75 degree programs.


30. U.S. Naval Academy — Annapolis, Maryland

Acceptance rate: 9 percent

SAT range: 1180 – 1380


31. University of Southern California — Los Angeles

Acceptance rate: 17 percent

SAT range: 1280-1500


32. Barnard College — New York City

Acceptance rate: 15 percent

SAT range: 1270-1470

Barnard, which has about 2,500 students, is a top liberal arts college for women located in upper Manhattan.


33. University of California – Berkeley

Acceptance rate: 17 percent

SAT range: 1270-1540

“Cal,” which overlooks San Francisco Bay, has more than 27,000 undergraduate students plus a number of graduate and professional programs.


34. Middlebury College — Middlebury, Vermont

Acceptance rate: 16 percent

SAT range: 1280-1495


35. U.S. Military Academy — West Point, New York

Acceptance rate: 10 percent

SAT range: 1180-1390

The mission of this school, established under President Thomas Jefferson in 1802, is to educate and train cadets to serve as officers in the U.S. Army. It is alma mater to many of the country’s most famous generals. Today, students are allowed to major in more than a dozen fields. Women were first allowed to attend the school in 1976.