As the college admissions process becomes more and more competitive, what are the hardest colleges to get into? College-ranking website Niche compiled a list using Department of Education data, which included SAT and ACT scores of applicants, as well as acceptance rates. To arrive at these rankings, acceptance rates are weighted at 60 percent and SAT/ACT scores are weighted at 40 percent. By this definition, a lower acceptance rate doesn’t always mean “harder” to get into. (All average undergraduate tuitions listed include room and board.)
10. University of Pennsylvania
UPenn had an acceptance rate of 9 percent and an SAT range of 1420-1560. The university cost $73,960 for the 2019-2020 school year and an undergraduate population of 10,448 for that year.
9. Brown University
Brown had an 8 percent acceptance rate and an SAT range of 1400-1570. It cost $76,604 for the 2019-2020 school year and an undergraduate population of 6,752.
8. Columbia University
Columbia in the Manhattan borough of New York City had an acceptance rate of 7 percent and an SAT range of 1410-1570. It had an undergraduate population of about 4,500 and for the 2018-2019 school year cost $76,856.
7. University of Chicago
The University of Chicago had an acceptance rate of 8 percent and an SAT range of 1480-1580. The 2019-2020 cost was $74,636, and there were around 6,595 undergraduate students.
6. Princeton University
Princeton, located in the New Jersey city it’s named after, had a 6 percent acceptance rate and an SAT range of 1430-1570. It cost $69,950 for the 2019-2020 year and 5,267 undergraduate students for the same year.
5. Yale University
Yale had a 7 percent acceptance rate and SAT range of 1460-1580. It had an undergraduate population of 5,964 for the 2018-2019 school year and a cost of $72,100 for 2019-2020.
4. California Institute of Technology
Caltech, in Pasadena, Calif., had an 8 percent acceptance rate and 1530-1590 SAT range and a small enrollment of only 938 undergraduate students for the Fall 2019 term. The cost of attendance was $74,763.
3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT, in Cambridge, Mass., has a 7 percent acceptance rate and an SAT range 1490-1570. The cost for 2019-2020 was $73,160, and it had 4,530 undergraduate students. MIT was rated No. 1 “best” college in America for 2020, by Niche, “based on rigorous analysis of academic, admissions, financial, and student life data from the U.S. Department of Education along with millions of reviews from students and alumni.”
2. Stanford University
Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., has a 5 percent acceptance rate and an average SAT range of 1390-1540. Stanford had about 6,994 students enrolled in its undergraduate program as of the Fall quarter of 2019. The cost for the 2019-2020 school year was $72,728.
1. Harvard University
This Ivy League university has a 5 percent acceptance rate. The average SAT range is 1460-1590. The school has around 6,700 undergraduate students and the total cost without financial aid for 2019-2020 was $69,607. Harvard was ranked as No. 4 “best” college for 2020 by Niche.
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