What Are the Hardest Colleges to Get Into?


Did you know about four in ten Americans have a bachelor’s degree? If you are a high school student, the next step in your education is choosing your college. However, not all colleges are easy to get into.

Getting into college is hard enough as it is, but the most demanding colleges to get into certainly have special criteria that other colleges might not have. Thinking about attending a particular university is essential if you want to succeed in the near future. 

If you don’t know what colleges to look at, we have a short list of the top and hardest colleges that might be hard but also guaranteed to get you success in your future career.

Harvard University

Harvard University is one of the best colleges to get into. It has the lowest acceptance rate of any college in the United States and is the most prestigious school. The admissions process at Harvard is selective and can be daunting for prospective students.

Over 75,000 applicants apply for acceptance each year, with less than 5% of those accepted. The admissions process considers a variety of factors. It includes academic excellence, leadership experience, and extracurricular accomplishments, which makes competition fierce.

Princeton University

Princeton University is one of the top schools in the US, with a low acceptance rate of 4.4% in 2021. It is an Ivy League school, one of many selective private universities in the USA. This university draws in the best and brightest students from around the world.

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They scrutinize and test applicants’ skill sets, achievements, and curriculum vitae. To secure admission, applicants must show outstanding accomplishments. Prepare a diverse portfolio, excellent test scores, and strong writing skills.

Yale University

It is an Ivy League institution with an acceptance rate of 5.3% in 2021, an average GPA of 3.96, and SAT scores of 1520-1590. The average amount of extracurricular activities to hold admission is double-digit. Furthermore, Yale prefers individuals applying for college who show academic excellence and social leadership.

Stanford University

With an acceptance rate of 3.9%, the university is selective. You must have a near-perfect academic record, prove a record of leadership, and submit a compelling personal statement.

Additionally, the university places high importance on extracurriculars. These include community service, sports, and other activities. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has an acceptance rate hovering around 4.1%. This is far below the average acceptance rate of other highly-ranked universities.

MIT’s low acceptance rates are partly due to its competitive admissions process. It includes a rigorous application and selection process. The institute expects a minimum GPA of at least 4.3 and a competitive SAT score.

Brown University

Brown University is one of the hardest colleges to get into. As of 2021, the university’s acceptance rate is 5.5%, indicating high competition for admission.

When applying to Brown University, students must submit impressive academic credentials. You should also have an application that showcases their academic abilities and strengths. Include extracurricular activities, academic achievements, letters of recommendation, and essays. 

Columbia University

Columbia University is among the most challenging colleges to enter and ranks in the country’s top 5 most selective schools. The university receives thousands of applications each year but only has about a 4.1% admission rate in 2021.

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But because acceptance rates are low, getting into this prestigious school is possible. Have a solid academic performance, thoughtful essays, and exceptional extracurricular activities. 

Cornell University

Cornell University has an average acceptance rate of only 8.7%. The school is selective and often requires applicants to have exemplary grades and test scores.

Other factors affecting admissions include extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation. Also, they consider personal qualities and good moral character. 

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College was established in 1769. It is one of the oldest colleges in the US and has a rigorous academic program. The college has a 6.2% admission rate as of 2021.

It has become a highly-desired college due to its high-ranking university seat. They also have loyal alumni who always contribute financial support to the institution. Dartmouth also expects students to be well-versed in the liberal arts and sciences.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is one of the most demanding colleges to get into in the US. The university has a 5.9% acceptance rate, meaning only the top 10% of applicants get in each year.

UPenn not only looks for outstanding academic records and test scores. They also value extracurricular activities, interviews, and application essays. 

They consider applicants’ contributions to their home and school communities. Moreover, they value an applicant’s devotion to service and community.

These can be through their record of leadership and creativity. If you want to take the chance and find the right university for you, check out these universities to help streamline your search.

California Institute of Technology

One of the most complex colleges to get into is the California Institute of Technology. This college is the ninth-best national university. 

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Each year, Caltech admitted about 3.9% of its applicants in 2021. This makes it quite challenging for prospective students to get accepted.

The median SAT score for admitted students is 226 points higher than the national average. For those passionate about science and math, Caltech offers unparalleled opportunities to further their academic journey. 

Learn the Hardest Colleges You Can Apply to Today

Knowing the hardest colleges to get into is vital for various reasons. It is a great way to gauge one’s academic performance and see if they are meeting the expectations of top colleges. It can determine which schools they should target and to what lengths they should go to fulfill the required criteria to gain admissions. 

Taking advantage of available resources can be the difference between success and disappointment. Take control of your future and discover what it takes to get into that top college today.

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