California Colleges with low acceptance rates

Colleges with the Lowest Acceptance Rate in California for 2024

These are the most selective public and private four-year colleges in California. The list is ranked by acceptance rate, lowest to highest and limited to schools which reject at least half of all applicants. Leading the list is California Institute of Technology which sent acceptance letters to only 4% of the 13,026 students who applied and rejected 96%.

Not all schools on the most selective list are overly academically challenging. Some schools with less rigorous test and high school GPA requirements may receive a large numbers of qualified applicants and the school does not have space to admit them all.

If you're looking for challenging colleges, explore rankings of California colleges with the highest SAT scores, highest ACT scores and highest GPA's.


23 results

California Institute of Technology
C
Pasadena, CA

California Institute of Technology

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

4% Acceptance Rate

#7 Best Colleges in America

  • 2,397enrollment
  • $26,591net price
  • 1530-1580SAT range
  • 35-36ACT range
  • 3.97Estimated Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 3

Stanford University
S
Stanford, CA

Stanford University

Private 4 Year

6 reviews

4% Acceptance Rate

#2 Best Colleges in America

  • 17,680enrollment
  • $20,023net price
  • 1470-1570SAT range
  • 34-35ACT range
  • 3.96Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 2

Pomona College
P
Claremont, CA

Pomona College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

7% Acceptance Rate

#19 Best Colleges in America

  • 1,764enrollment
  • $30,392net price
  • 1470-1570SAT range
  • 33-35ACT range
  • 3.89Estimated Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 8

Harvey Mudd College
H
Claremont, CA

Harvey Mudd College

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

10% Acceptance Rate

 

  • 905enrollment
  • $37,192net price
  • 1480-1560SAT range
  • 34-36ACT range
  • 3.96Estimated Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 5

University of California Los Angeles
C
Los Angeles, CA

University of California Los Angeles

Public 4 Year

3 reviews

11% Acceptance Rate

#4 Best Public Universities in America

  • 46,116enrollment
  • $16,474net price
  • 1300-1530SAT range
  • 29-35ACT range
  • 3.92Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

Claremont McKenna College
C
Claremont, CA

Claremont McKenna College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

11% Acceptance Rate

#18 Best Colleges in America

  • 1,422enrollment
  • $22,004net price
  • 1420-1530SAT range
  • 32-35ACT range
  • 3.89Estimated Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 5

University of Southern California
S
Los Angeles, CA

University of Southern California

Private 4 Year

5 reviews

13% Acceptance Rate

#5 Best Private Colleges in California

  • 49,318enrollment
  • $39,759net price
  • 1410-1540SAT range
  • 32-35ACT range
  • 3.83Avg GPA

University of California Berkeley
C
Berkeley, CA

University of California Berkeley

Public 4 Year

2 reviews

14% Acceptance Rate

#5 Best Public Universities in America

  • 45,036enrollment
  • $19,329net price
  • 1310-1530SAT range
  • 30-35ACT range
  • 3.87Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

Pitzer College
P
Claremont, CA

Pitzer College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

18% Acceptance Rate

 

  • 1,168enrollment
  • $30,095net price
  • -SAT range
  • -ACT range
  • 3.93Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 1

University of California Irvine
C
Irvine, CA

University of California Irvine

Public 4 Year

2 reviews

29% Acceptance Rate

#11 Best Public Universities in America

  • 36,505enrollment
  • $13,106net price
  • 1230-1430SAT range
  • 26-33ACT range
  • 3.75Estimated Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

University of California Santa Barbara
C
Santa Barbara, CA

University of California Santa Barbara

Public 4 Year

3 reviews

29% Acceptance Rate

#17 Best Public Universities in America

  • 26,124enrollment
  • $17,223net price
  • 1230-1460SAT range
  • 28-34ACT range
  • 3.82Estimated Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

California Institute of the Arts
C
Valencia, CA

California Institute of the Arts

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

29% Acceptance Rate

 

  • 1,444enrollment
  • $59,367net price
  • -SAT range
  • -ACT range
  • NAAvg GPA

Applications Due Jan 5

Scripps College
S
Claremont, CA

Scripps College

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

30% Acceptance Rate

#6 Best Private Colleges in California

  • 1,116enrollment
  • $40,259net price
  • 1380-1520SAT range
  • 31-34ACT range
  • 4.0Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 15

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo
C
San Luis Obispo, CA

California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo

Public 4 Year

2 reviews

33% Acceptance Rate

#7 Best Public Universities in California

  • 22,231enrollment
  • $20,491net price
  • 1220-1410SAT range
  • 26-32ACT range
  • 4.0Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

University of California San Diego
C
La Jolla, CA

University of California San Diego

Public 4 Year

0 reviews

34% Acceptance Rate

#9 Best Public Universities in America

  • 41,885enrollment
  • $15,222net price
  • 1270-1480SAT range
  • 28-34ACT range
  • 3.82Estimated Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

Occidental College
O
Los Angeles, CA

Occidental College

Private 4 Year

2 reviews

38% Acceptance Rate

#9 Best Private Colleges in California

  • 1,964enrollment
  • $41,102net price
  • 1340-1490SAT range
  • 30-33ACT range
  • 3.63Avg GPA

Applications Due Jan 10

San Diego State University
S
San Diego, CA

San Diego State University

Public 4 Year

3 reviews

38% Acceptance Rate

#10 Best Public Universities in California

  • 36,484enrollment
  • $13,192net price
  • 1090-1300SAT range
  • 22-29ACT range
  • 3.82Avg GPA

Applications Due Nov 30

Hope International University
H
Fullerton, CA

Hope International University

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

40% Acceptance Rate

#31 Best Private Colleges in California

  • 1,138enrollment
  • $20,470net price
  • 1000-1180SAT range
  • -ACT range
  • 3.26Avg GPA

Applications Due Aug 20