The 10 Hardest Colleges To Get Into In The U.S.

P_30 Cambridge - The Widener Library (1915) - Harvard University - Massachusetts
Flickr | CthulhuWho1 (Will Hart)

When deciding which colleges to apply to, students literally have thousands of options. There are even free ways to earn a degree. However, if a student has his or her heart set on a top-ranking college, competing for acceptance will be no easy feat.

School analysis website Niche ranked the most selective schools in the nation. Using these institutions’ acceptance rates and SAT/ACT test score requirements, they determined the 100 hardest colleges to get into across the U.S.

It is interesting to note that only two of the top 10 were also considered one of the 100 most expensive colleges in the country. Discover what it takes to be considered by these elite schools.

10. Harvey Mudd College

With an acceptance rate of 14.3 percent and 25th percentile scores of 1418 for SAT and 33 for ACT, this Claremont, California school is one of the most expensive at $33,137 per year.

Harvey Mudd College

9. Vanderbilt University

This private research university in Nashville, Tennessee has a 13 percent acceptance rate. Enrolled students’ SAT scores range from 1430-1580, and ACT scores range from 32-34.

vanderbilt university photo
Flickr | thart2009

8. Stanford University

Its meager 5.1 percent acceptance rank is the lowest of all the schools listed. Scores for students at the Stanford, California college range from 1380 to 1570 (SAT) and from 31 to 34 (ACT).

stanford university photo
Flickr | rjshade

7. Columbia University

This NYC school has a 7 percent acceptance rate. Student SAT scores range from 1390 to 1570; ACT scores range from 31 to 34.

Columbia University photo
Flickr | James MH

6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts only accepts 8 percent of applicants whose scores range from 1420 to 1570 (SAT) and 33 to 35 (ACT).

Massachusetts Institute of Technology photo
Getty Images | Joe Raedle

5. Princeton University

Considered one of the top five colleges according to Niche’s rankings, this New Jersey school has a 7 percent acceptance rate of applicants scoring between 1400 and 1600 on SATs and 31 to 35 on ACTs.

princeton university photo
Flickr | Harshil.Shah

4. University of Chicago

With an 8.8 percent acceptance rate, this is also one of the most expensive schools at $34,352 per year. Student scores range from 1435 to 1600 (SAT) and 32 to 35 (ACT).

University of Chicago photo
Getty Images | Scott Olson

3. Yale University

This New Haven, Connecticut college accepts a slim 6.3 percent of applicants with scores between 1410 and 1600 (SATs) and 31 to 35 (ACTs).

yale university photo
Flickr | m01229

2. Harvard University

This Ivy League School in Cambridge, Massachusetts has a 6 percent acceptance rate. Students’ scores range from 1410 to 1600 for SAT and 32 to 35 for ACT.

harvard photo
Flickr | niklas.tenhaef1

RELATED: Can You Really Go To College For Free In San Francisco?

1. California Institute of Technology

The Pasadena-based Caltech accepts only 8.8 percent of applicants whose SAT scores range from 1500 to 1600, and whose ACT scores range from 34 to 35.

california institute of technology photo
Flickr | Ken Lund

[h/t: Business Insider]


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Tricia Goss is a Texas-based writer and editor with nearly two decades of experience. She is passionate about helping readers improve their skills, gain knowledge and attain more happiness in life. When she’s not working, Tricia enjoys traveling with her husband and their dog, especially to visit their five grandchildren.

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