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U.S. Colleges Hardest to Get Into


Colleges with the Lowest Acceptance Rate in America for 2019

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 39,506 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
39,506 Applicants
5% Very Hard  Chance
2 Stanford University
Stanford, California
44,073 Applicants
5% Very Hard  Chance
3 Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey
31,056 Applicants
6% Very Hard  Chance
4 The Juilliard School
New York, New York
2,753 Applicants
6% N/A  Chance
5 Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
32,879 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
6 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts
20,247 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
7 Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, New York
38,118 Applicants
7% Very Hard  Chance
8 California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, California
7,339 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
9 Pomona College
Claremont, California
9,045 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
10 Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island
32,723 Applicants
8% Very Hard  Chance
11 University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois
27,694 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
12 Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
37,259 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
13 University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
40,413 Applicants
9% Very Hard  Chance
14 Claremont McKenna College
Claremont, California
6,349 Applicants
10% Very Hard  Chance
15 Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
20,035 Applicants
10% Very Hard  Chance
16 Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
33,077 Applicants
10% Very Hard  Chance
17 Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
9,382 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
18 Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tennessee
31,462 Applicants
11% Very Hard  Chance
19 Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Maryland
27,156 Applicants
13% Very Hard  Chance
20 Amherst College
Amherst, Massachusetts
9,285 Applicants
13% Very Hard  Chance