California Colleges Hardest to Get Into

Colleges with the Lowest Acceptance Rate in California for 2018

These are the most selective colleges in California. 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 California
Rank College Percent Admitted Academic Difficulty
1 Stanford University
Stanford, California
42,497 Applicants
5% Very Hard  Chance
2 California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California
6,506 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
3 Pomona College
Claremont, California
8,099 Applicants
10% Very Hard  Chance
4 Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, California
7,156 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
5 Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, California
4,119 Applicants
13% Very Hard  Chance
6 Pitzer College
Claremont, California
4,149 Applicants
13% N/A  Chance
7 University of California Berkeley
Berkeley, California
78,893 Applicants
17% Very Hard  Chance
8 University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
92,690 Applicants
17% Very Hard  Chance
9 University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
51,924 Applicants
18% Very Hard  Chance
10 California Institute of the Arts
Valencia, California
2,158 Applicants
25% N/A  Chance
11 California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo, California
46,820 Applicants
31% Very Hard  Chance
12 University of California Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California
70,536 Applicants
33% Very Hard  Chance
13 California State University Long Beach
Long Beach, California
58,109 Applicants
34% Avg+  Chance
14 University of California San Diego
La Jolla, California
78,061 Applicants
34% Very Hard  Chance
15 Hope International University
Fullerton, California
1,051 Applicants
34% Easy  Chance
16 San Diego State University
San Diego, California
59,051 Applicants
34% Hard  Chance
17 Laguna College of Art and Design
Laguna Beach, California
322 Applicants
37% N/A  Chance
18 University of California Davis
Davis, California
64,602 Applicants
38% Very Hard  Chance
19 Menlo College
Atherton, California
2,445 Applicants
38% Avg-  Chance
20 Pepperdine University
Malibu, California
9,923 Applicants
38% Hard  Chance
21 California State Polytechnic University Pomona
Pomona, California
33,855 Applicants
39% Avg+  Chance
22 University of California Irvine
Irvine, California
71,775 Applicants
39% Hard  Chance
23 California State University Fullerton
Fullerton, California
41,841 Applicants
42% Avg-  Chance
24 Holy Names University
Oakland, California
872 Applicants
43% Easy  Chance
25 San Diego State University Imperial Valley Campus
Calexico, California
126 Applicants
44% Easy  Chance
26 La Sierra University
Riverside, California
4,328 Applicants
45% Easy  Chance
27 Occidental College
Los Angeles, California
5,911 Applicants
45% Very Hard  Chance
28 Pacific Union College
Angwin, California
2,041 Applicants
45% Avg-  Chance
29 California State University Northridge
Northridge, California
34,444 Applicants
46% Easy  Chance
30 Soka University of America
Aliso Viejo, California
451 Applicants
46% Very Hard  Chance
31 University of La Verne
La Verne, California
8,179 Applicants
47% Avg-  Chance
32 San Francisco Conservatory of Music
San Francisco, California
362 Applicants
47% N/A  Chance
33 Chapman University
Orange, California
13,670 Applicants
48% Hard  Chance
34 Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, California
14,899 Applicants
49% Very Hard  Chance
35 California State University Monterey Bay
Seaside, California
15,561 Applicants
49% N/A  Chance