2023 The Hardest American Colleges and Universities to Gain Admission To

What colleges in the U.S. are the hardest to get into? I am glad that you asked that question, because I have the answer.

  1. Harvard University – Founded in 1636 and one of eight Ivy League campuses, Harvard ranks second among universities nationwide. Getting accepted at this private school isn’t easy; Harvard is one of the most selective schools in the United States, but it also has a 97% retention rate among freshmen. A best-value campus, the annual tuition and fees will run $50,420. Harvard is heaven for book lovers and home to the largest academic library in the world. It’s also a great place to network. Harvard tends to produce American presidents, Nobel laureates, and future billionaires. One of the things prospective students appreciate most about Harvard is that unlike other top schools which tend to skew towards the sciences, Harvard divides equal attention to humanities as it does to science. Harvard boasts a student success core of 76.67%. Acceptance Rate- 5%
  2. Stanford University Considered one of the most innovative universities in the country, Stanford University outperforms similarly innovative schools by offering employees cross-departmental communications, open-mindedness and free food. The university assists faculty with housing options, encourages research and scholarship, and promotes diversity and development. Glassdoor rankings indicate that eight out ten employees would recommend the university to friends looking for work, and 90% of the employees approve of how the school is run. Anyone with an eye on a career in tech should make a beeline straight towards Stanford. While the school has been ranked as a leader in science and innovation for decades, its proximity to Palo Alto has only bolstered its status. In addition to being a haven for students hoping to become the next Eric Schmidt, the campus is also considered to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the world. With an endowment of $17 billion, this research-based school has an astounding 98 percent freshman retention rate. Programs like the Stanford University Minority Medical Alliance (SUMMA) bring other minority organizations on campus together to look ahead to the medical concerns of the changing U.S. demographic. Despite no use of affirmative action in admission procedures, Stanford has only a 36 percent white student population. About half of the students receive need-based financial aid. Acceptance Rate- 5%
  3. Princeton University– Located an hour from New York City and Philadelphia, Princeton is a small Ivy League university with a student body of 8,273. Indeed, both admissions and campus life is competitive. Princeton offers its own structured take on undergraduate education. All degrees include highly detailed requirements, and all students must undertake an independent research project in order to graduate. Acceptance Rate- 6%
  4. Columbia University – Situated right in the middle of “the city that never sleeps,” Columbia’s campus is a student’s fantasy. The tuition at Columbia University is $59,430 per year. Room and board costs $14,016, bringing the total annual cost to $73,446. Most students pay an average of $14,000 a year after receiving their financial aid packages. Before you begin packing your bags, however, keep in mind that Columbia turns down 94% of their applicants. Three prestigious schools make up the university undergraduate program: Columbia College, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the School of General Studies. Columbia is ranked in 3rd place nationwide, and the school is a best-value university. The freshman retention rate here is 99%, which indicates an immense level of satisfaction with the school. Columbia boasts a student satisfaction score of 76.33%. Acceptance Rate- 7%
  5. California Institute of Technology– Looking for a university that produces Nobel laureates, Turing Award winners, and Fields Medalists recipients in spades? Look no further than CalTech. Whether you’re looking for a rigorous academic experience or a close-knit community, you’ll find both here. And if you’re already looking ahead to post-graduate life or even a Ph.D., CalTech is also a good choice because more students from CalTech go on to pursue a Ph.D. than at any other school. Acceptance Rate- 8%
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – If you’re considering research schools, you’ve inevitably considered MIT.MIT is the holy grail of American research schools by design. Unlike other schools, it adopted a model of teaching from European universities that prioritizes laboratory instruction in addition to classroom instruction. MIT students are able to participate in or even initiate projects as part of their academic credit or as volunteers. MIT ranks fifth in national universities, and some of the best minds in science, engineering and technology can be found here. MIT is home to the Sloan School of Management. The acceptance rate is 10%. Tuition and fees are approximately $51,832. Acceptance Rate- 8%
  7. University of Chicago – A private school, located in the Chicago neighborhoods of Hyde Park and Woodlawn, University of Chicago gives students a beautiful urban setting only seven miles south of downtown Chicago. The University of Chicago is the third most expensive school in the country, with a combined total cost of $73,356. Tuition is $57,006, and room and board costs $16,350. The university is well-known for its research, and it consistently ranks in the top for the best in education. This Midwestern private school boasts some of the highest graduation rates in the country, and Hispanic students are no exception. Hispanic students graduate at a rate of 92 percent while white students are just ahead at 94 percent. The University of Chicago is a research university at heart, and it’s love for discovery ranges from the physical to the social sciences. Whether you’re interested in ancient dead languages or nuclear reactors, the University of Chicago has excellent student and faculty research options and an active undergraduate research community. Acceptance Rate- 9%
  8. Northwestern University is best known for its music, performing arts, and communications programs. Between challenging academics and a busy social scene, students are fully occupied. Frequent plays, concerts, and social gatherings enliven a highly collaborative academic atmosphere. Acceptance Rate- 9%
  9. Vanderbilt University – Located in the heart of Nashville, TN, this private university ranks #14 among schools across the United States. Ten colleges make up Vanderbilt, and several of these have earned national distinction, including the prestigious Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Not surprisingly, the school has also been recognized for its undergraduate teaching. Expect to pay slightly less than $49,816 annually in tuition and fees. Acceptance Rate- 11%
  10. Swarthmore College – With a student population that is 17% Asian 13% Hispanic/Latino, 6% Black or African American, and 42% white you may wonder if this school addresses the needs of minorities. The answer is a resounding YES. Swarthmore College offers tremendous opportunities for minorities to share their backgrounds and learn about others through the Black Cultural Center, the Intercultural Center, and the Student Government Organization Diversity Center. Acceptance Rate- 11%
  11. Amherst College – A top-ranked liberal arts college, Amherst attracts students from around the world because of its academic offerings. Tuition and fees here are $56,426 annually. Acceptance Rate- 13%
  12. Cornell University – Ranked at #16 in the nation, Cornell is a private school that offers fourteen colleges of study. This university is part of the Ivy League, and it’s a best-value school that is also third in the nation for veterans. Cornell accepts 13% of its applicants, and 97% of freshmen return for their sophomore year of college. Tuition and fees run just under $55,188 annually. Acceptance Rate- 13%
  13. Tufts University – This school offers more than 70 majors, and it’s well-known for its School of Medicine and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Your tuition and fees here will be approximately $56,382 each year. Acceptance Rate- 15%
  14. Rice University – Located in downtown Houston between eccentric neighborhoods and the medical district, Rice house eight schools and colleges, each devoted to academic rigor. The schools of architecture, music, business, and engineering are highly respected. Rice University ranks third in undergraduate teaching and is considered a best-value choice. Annual tuition and fees cost $47,350. Acceptance Rate- 16%
  15. Washington University in St. Louis – Coming in at #19 in the United States, Washington is comprised of four undergraduate schools and four graduate schools. They offer programs in social work, business, law, medicine, arts, engineering, applied science, and education. Annual tuition and fees are $53,399. Acceptance Rate- 16%

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