U.S. Colleges that are Hardest to Get Into

Colleges with the Lowest Acceptance Rate in America for 2022

These are the most selective public and private four-year colleges in the United States. 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 Harvard University which sent acceptance letters to only 5% of the 40,248 students who applied and rejected 95%.

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, you can also explore US rankings of the colleges with the highest SAT scores, highest ACT scores and highest GPA's.


230 results nationwide

Harvard University
H
Cambridge, MA
Harvard University

Private 4 Year

4 reviews

#1 Best Colleges in America

  • 30,391enrollment
  • $18,037net price
  • 5%acceptance rate
  • 1460-1580SAT range
  • 33-35ACT range
  • 4.0Avg GPA
Stanford University
S
Stanford, CA
Stanford University

Private 4 Year

6 reviews

#3 Best Colleges in America

  • 15,953enrollment
  • $20,023net price
  • 5%acceptance rate
  • 1420-1570SAT range
  • 31-35ACT range
  • 3.96Avg GPA
Princeton University
P
Princeton, NJ
Princeton University

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#2 Best Colleges in America

  • 7,853enrollment
  • $18,685net price
  • 6%acceptance rate
  • 1450-1570SAT range
  • 32-35ACT range
  • 3.92Avg GPA
California Institute of Technology
C
Pasadena, CA
California Institute of Technology

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#7 Best Colleges in America

  • 2,240enrollment
  • $26,591net price
  • 7%acceptance rate
  • 1530-1580SAT range
  • 35-36ACT range
  • 3.97Estimated Avg GPA
Yale University
Y
New Haven, CT
Yale University

Private 4 Year

2 reviews

#4 Best Colleges in America

  • 12,060enrollment
  • $17,511net price
  • 7%acceptance rate
  • 1460-1580SAT range
  • 33-35ACT range
  • 3.95Estimated Avg GPA
University of Chicago
C
Chicago, IL
University of Chicago

Private 4 Year

3 reviews

#6 Best Colleges in America

  • 17,834enrollment
  • $36,584net price
  • 7%acceptance rate
  • 1500-1570SAT range
  • 34-35ACT range
  • 4.2Avg Weighted GPA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M
Cambridge, MA
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Private 4 Year

2 reviews

#8 Best Colleges in America

  • 11,254enrollment
  • $19,998net price
  • 7%acceptance rate
  • 1510-1580SAT range
  • 34-36ACT range
  • 3.96Estimated Avg GPA
Columbia University in the City of New York
C
New York, NY
Columbia University in the City of New York

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

#21 Best Colleges in America

  • 30,135enrollment
  • $22,126net price
  • 7%acceptance rate
  • 1460-1570SAT range
  • 33-35ACT range
  • 3.91Estimated Avg GPA
The Juilliard School
J
New York, NY
The Juilliard School

Private 4 Year

3 reviews

 

  • 961enrollment
  • $41,022net price
  • 8%acceptance rate
  • -SAT range
  • -ACT range
  • NAAvg GPA
Duke University
D
Durham, NC
Duke University

Private 4 Year

5 reviews

#5 Best Colleges in America

  • 16,172enrollment
  • $26,932net price
  • 8%acceptance rate
  • 1470-1570SAT range
  • 34-35ACT range
  • 3.94Estimated Avg GPA
Brown University
B
Providence, RI
Brown University

Private 4 Year

2 reviews

#11 Best Colleges in America

  • 9,948enrollment
  • $27,659net price
  • 8%acceptance rate
  • 1440-1560SAT range
  • 33-35ACT range
  • 3.94Estimated Avg GPA
Pomona College
P
Claremont, CA
Pomona College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

 

  • 1,475enrollment
  • $30,392net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • -SAT range
  • -ACT range
  • 3.89Estimated Avg GPA
Northwestern University
N
Evanston, IL
Northwestern University

Private 4 Year

1 reviews

#14 Best Colleges in America

  • 22,603enrollment
  • $28,344net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • 1430-1550SAT range
  • 33-35ACT range
  • 3.92Estimated Avg GPA
Bowdoin College
B
Brunswick, ME
Bowdoin College

Private 4 Year

0 reviews

 

  • 1,777enrollment
  • $25,622net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • -SAT range
  • -ACT range
  • NAAvg GPA
United States Naval Academy
N
Annapolis, Maryland
United States Naval Academy

Public 4 Year

1 reviews

 

  • 4,594enrollment
  • -net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • 1230-1450SAT range
  • 28-33ACT range
  • 3.8Estimated Avg GPA
Dartmouth College
D
Hanover, NH
Dartmouth College

Private 4 Year

4 reviews

#12 Best Colleges in America

  • 6,292enrollment
  • $24,525net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • 1440-1560SAT range
  • 32-35ACT range
  • 3.9Estimated Avg GPA
United States Military Academy
A
West Point, New York
United States Military Academy

Public 4 Year

0 reviews

 

  • 4,536enrollment
  • -net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • 1210-1440SAT range
  • 28-33ACT range
  • 3.9Avg GPA
University of Pennsylvania
P
Philadelphia, PA
University of Pennsylvania

Private 4 Year

3 reviews

#16 Best Colleges in America

  • 26,552enrollment
  • $24,167net price
  • 9%acceptance rate
  • 1460-1570SAT range
  • 33-35ACT range
  • 3.9Avg Weighted GPA