23 Hardest American Colleges To Get Into

Published on 11/23/2016
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As your high school days are coming to end, there is nothing more serious than the American college application process. We aren’t joking either. The process is long, sometimes expensive, you have to pull together so much information and the essay bit, well golly, you couldn’t make it easy could you. So we did a little research and pulled up the 23 colleges that are the toughest to get into to.

Brown University

Here’s a fun fact, Brown is actually the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in America and it’s also one of the nine Colonial Colleges established before the American Revolution. It’s a world renowned Ivy League research university located in Providence, Rhode Island. Which totally explains why the acceptance rate is only 8.7%. Did we forget to mention that Emma Watson graduated from Brown? Just goes to show you never know who you’ll be in a lecture hall with. Excuse me while I sign up for the student exchange program right now.

Brown University

Brown University

Amherst College

Amherst College is a progressive, wonderful school that does not judge someone’s orientation, race, color, religion, whatever. It’s open to all even if it has an acceptance rate of only 13.8%. In fact, it was the first college in America to admit person’s of a different race, the first African American student graduated from there back in 1826.

Amherst College

Amherst College

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College is a small liberal arts college in Brunswick Maine. But just because it’s a small college doesn’t mean it accepts just anyone. I mean the acceptance rate is a mere 14.8% and that’s a tough one to swallow. Granted their graduates have gone on to become amazing politicians, film makers, military officials, poets and so on. Beats going to culinary schools, unless that’s what you’re into!

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College

California Institute of Technology

Caltech is one of the WORLD’S best universities, what when your alumni includes 34 Nobel Prizes recipients, 1 Fields Medalist, 6 Turing Award winners, 4 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force and 71 winners of the United States National Medal of Science or Technology. How could we forget that numerous faculty members are also associated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as NASA. Oh yeah, did we mention Caltech is ranked number one in the U.S. for the percentage of graduates who go on to earn a PhD. Needless to say, the acceptance rate is a mere 8.1% so unless you’re going to change the world with groundbreaking advancements, this school isn’t for you.

California Institute Of Technology

California Institute Of Technology

Cornell University

Ah, Cornell, you beauty. Cornell was founded back in 1865 and is located in beautiful Ithaca New York. It is one of America’s most progressive institutions, what with only a mere admissions rate of 14.2%. With that being said, we’re so glad Andy Bernard went there because how else would have Dundler Mifflin survived without Michael Scott? (Yes, I know, that’s all fictional but it feels real!)

Cornell University

Cornell University

Johns Hopkins University

Attending Johns Hopkins University is like going to Yale or Harvard, it’s for the elite of the elite. Which explains why the admission rate is that of only 15%. I’m sure they get a lot of summer study abroad programs applicants banging on their door.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

Northwestern University

Were you thinking about going to the mid-west to attend the highly regarded research university of Northwestern University? While this fine establishment, located in Chicago Illinois, has produced some of the finest graduates out there, even some celebrities like Zooey Deschanel, Stephen Colbert and David Schwimmer. It is a tough cookie to crack. It’s a very selective school with a meager acceptance rate of only 15.1%.

Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Columbia University

Right in the heart of New York City, Columbia University is one of the best private Ivy League research universities out there. 5 of America’s Founding Father’s attended Columbia as did 20 of the world’s current billionaires, plus 29 Academy Award winners and 29 heads of state (3 of which were president, including the current president, Barack Obama.) So are you really surprised that the acceptance rate is only 7%, yeah we didn’t think so.

Columbia University

Columbia University

Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College was founded in 1957 and makes up one of the seven elite Claremont Colleges. Which makes sense as it is considered to be one of America’s best colleges in today’s day and age. Plus it’s highly selective with an admissions rate of only 14.3%.

Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College

Vanderbilt University

Nothing like a little bit of southern charm in the heart of Nashville Tennessee where good ol’ Vanderbilt University stands tall and proud. Founded back in 1873, Vanderbilt is a private research university that boasts of an admission rate of only 13.1%.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University

Franklin P. Olin College of Engineering

One of America’s greatest engineering colleges was only founded in 2000 – it’s practically a baby! But that isn’t stopping it from having a mere admission rate of 12%.

Franklin P Olin College Of Engineering

Franklin P Olin College Of Engineering

Pomona College

Oh hey, another Claremont College! We told you Claremont College schools were the best of the best. Pomona College is actually a small college, founded back in 1887, and is also (get ready for a mouth-full) a private, nonsectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college. Whew. It’s actually ranked 7th out of all liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report, which is pretty awesome to say the least. Get this, the college only had a 9.1% acceptance rate for its 2020 admissions cycle. Whoa.

Pomona College

Pomona College

Dartmouth College

Meredith Grey proudly went to this Ivy League College and she’s now the head of general surgery so yeah, Dartmouth College is the place to be. But did you know that when it was first founded, Dartmouth was actually a school just for Native Americans? That’s pretty neat. That’s obviously not the case anymore. Plus, it is one of the best colleges out there what with only an acceptance rate of 11.5% tied to its name.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College

Duke University

Unless you’re the next Michael Jordan, chances are pretty slim to get accepted to Duke University as the rate stands at 11.4 %. But don’t let that stop you, if Duke is your dream, make it happen.

Duke University

Duke University

University of Pennsylvania

When one of your founders is the incredible Benjamin Franklin, it’s not so surprising that it’s one of the best schools in America. I mean it does have a super low acceptance rate of 10.4%. And if you’ve got the next Ben Franklin in your lecture, it’s a small price to pay.

University Of Pennsylvania

University Of Pennsylvania

United States Military Academy

Address, West Point New York, doesn’t really get much better than that. This school is pretty much one of the hardest to graduate from but each student knows the value of hard work and they know their future is secured for greatness. So it comes as no surprise that the acceptance rate is a mere 9.5%. And here’s a fun fact, cadets at the academy train for 4 long years to become officers in the United States Army, but there are absolutely no tuition charges.

United States Military Academy

United States Military Academy

Claremont Mckenna College

If you really want to go to a great school in LA, then look up another Claremont College as Claremont Mckenna College is pretty darn amazing. Claremont Mckenna College is a private liberal arts college with an emphasis on economics, government, and public affairs. Plus we bet you didn’t know that The Princeton Review actually rated Claremont McKenna 2nd in the nation for the happiest students. Just don’t forget though, the admissions rate is only 10.8%.

Claremont McKenna College Kravis Center

Claremont McKenna College

University of Chicago

Established in 1890, The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. It’s also one of the world’s leading and most influential institutions of higher learning, with top-ten positions in numerous rankings and measures. Pretty fancy. Oh yeah, the admission rate is a surprising 8.8%.

Some Things Never Get Old

University of Chicago

Pitzer College

Pitzer Colllege is another Claremont College baby and actually, it was originally only a women’s college. Until 1970 when it became Co-ed. Either way, it’s still a tough school to get into when it has a low acceptance rate of only 13%.

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Pitzer College

Princeton University

You didn’t think we’d leave Princeton University off this list? It is a Ivy League College after all, and it’s coined as one of the nicest and smallest. The catch is, it is very, very, very selective with it’s whopping acceptance rate of only 6.5%.

Princeton University

Princeton University

Stanford University

Oh hey, if you thought Princeton was tough to get into, get this, Stanford’s acceptance rate is 4.7%. Yup, we’ll wait a minute as you lift your jaw up off the floor. Well, that happens when your alma mater consists of 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts, and 20 Turing Award laureates. In addition it is also one of the leading producers of members in Congress. How could we forget that it also produced 60 Nobel laureates and 7 Fields Medalists. Plus, it is where Cristina Yang graduated top of her class before she went on to become the best cardiovascular surgeon ever.

Stanford University

Stanford University

Yale University

Did you know that Yale University is the third-oldest institution of higher education in America, pretty cool right? This unbelievably great and prestigious school is home to many wonderful people who went on to achieve some pretty extraordinary things, including our favorite Gilmore girl, Rory of course! All kidding aside though, 52 Nobel laureates, 5 Fields Medalists, 243 Rhodes Scholars, and 118 Marshall Scholars all went to Yale. Makes sense for a school with only an acceptance rate of 6.3%.

Yale University

Yale University

Harvard University

One of the world’s most prestigious schools and deep rivalry with Yale of course. Did we forget to mention that Harvard is America’s OLDEST institution of higher learning? Mmhmm. Harvard’s alumni actually includes eight U.S. presidents, several foreign heads of state, 62 living billionaires, 335 Rhodes Scholars, and 242 Marshall Scholars. May we also add that to date, some 130 Nobel laureates, 18 Fields Medalists and 13 Turing Award winners are affiliated as students, faculty, or staff at Harvard. All those awesome facts amount to an acceptance rate of 6%. And for all you book-nerds out there, Harvard has the world’s largest academic and private library system (I know, I’m just as giddy as you!)

Harvard University

Harvard University

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