U.S. Colleges Hardest to Get Into

Colleges with the Lowest Acceptance Rate in America for 2018

These are the most selective colleges in the United States. We've ranked the schools which reject over fifty percent of applicants by rate of acceptance. Leading the list is Stanford University which sent acceptance letters to only 5% of the 42,497 students who applied and rejected 95%. Interestingly, not all schools on our "most selective" lists are overly academically challenging. Schools with less rigorous standardized test and high school GPA requirements may receive a large numbers of qualified applicants and the school does not have the capacity to potentially enroll.

List of Lowest Acceptance Rate Colleges & Universities in America
Rank College Percent Admitted Academic Difficulty
1 Stanford University
Stanford, California
42,497 Applicants
5% Very Hard  Chance
2 Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
37,307 Applicants
6% Very Hard  Chance
3 The Juilliard School
New York, New York
2,551 Applicants
6% N/A  Chance
4 Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
30,236 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
5 Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
27,290 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
6 Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, New York
36,911 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
7 University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
30,069 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
8 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts
18,306 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
9 California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California
6,506 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
10 Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
30,396 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
11 Pomona College
Claremont, California
8,099 Applicants
10% Very Hard  Chance
12 University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
37,268 Applicants
10% Very Hard  Chance
13 Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, California
7,156 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
14 Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
20,507 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
15 Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
31,220 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
16 Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Needham, Massachusetts
1,075 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
17 College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, Missouri
3,122 Applicants
12% Avg-  Chance
18 Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
7,818 Applicants
12% Very Hard  Chance
19 Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee
31,464 Applicants
12% Very Hard  Chance
20 Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, California
4,119 Applicants
13% Very Hard  Chance