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 Harvard University which sent acceptance letters to only 5% of the 39,041 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 Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
39,041 Applicants
5% Very Hard  Chance
2 Stanford University
Stanford, California
43,997 Applicants
5% Very Hard  Chance
3 Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
31,445 Applicants
6% Very Hard  Chance
4 The Juilliard School
New York, New York
2,545 Applicants
6% N/A  Chance
5 Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
29,303 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
6 Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, New York
37,009 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
7 California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California
6,855 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
8 University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
31,484 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
9 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts
19,020 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
10 Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, California
6,342 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
11 Pomona College
Claremont, California
8,102 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
12 University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
38,918 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
13 Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
32,390 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
14 Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
Needham, Massachusetts
1,296 Applicants
10% Very Hard  Chance
15 Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
35,100 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
16 Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
20,675 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
17 Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
31,671 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
18 Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee
32,442 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
19 Southern University at New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
1,907 Applicants
12% Easy  Chance
20 Harvey Mudd College
Claremont, California
4,180 Applicants
13% Very Hard  Chance