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Top 100 Universities & Colleges With the Lowest Acceptance Rates in US

When choosing a University or College in the US to further your degree program, some of the most important factors to consider are the:

  • Acceptance Rate,
  • Yield, or Enrollment Rate.
  • Others include the GPA score and SAT/ACT scores.

These factors vary from one institution to another. There are schools with a very low acceptance rate and there are some with high acceptance rates. 

Although they’re highly competitive and the majority of them are selective in admission processes, Universities with low acceptance rates have their benefits over those with high acceptance rates.

Related Article: Aviation Scholarship For Students in Canada/US.

In this article, we will list out the top universities and colleges in the United States with the lowest acceptance rate and we are going to show you some of the benefits you will find in low acceptance rate universities or colleges.

Top Universities and Colleges with Lowest Acceptance Rates.

InstitutionsSchool LocationAcceptance Rate (%)
Curtis Institute of MusicPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania4.2%
Stanford UniversityStanford, California4.8%
Harvard UniversityCambridge, Massachusetts5.4%
Juilliard SchoolNew York City, New York6.2%
Yale UniversityNew Haven, Connecticut6.3%
Princeton UniversityPrinceton, New Jersey6.5%
Columbia UniversityNew York City, New York6.8%
Alice Lloyd CollegePippa Passes, Kentucky7.1%
University of ChicagoChicago, Illinois7.9%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, Massachusetts7.9%
Top 10
California Institute of TechnologyPasadena, California8.1%
United States Naval AcademyAnnapolis, Maryland9%
Swarthmore CollegeSwarthmore, Pennsylvania9%
Brown UniversityProvidence, Rhode Island9.3%
Pomona CollegeClaremont, California9.4%
University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania9.4%
Claremont McKenna CollegeClaremont, California9.4%
United States Military AcademyWest Point, New York10%
Franklin W. Olin College of EngineeringNeedham, Massachusetts10.2%
Dartmouth CollegeHanover, New Hampshire10.6%
Top 20
Northwestern UniversityEvanston, Illinois10.7%
Vanderbilt UniversityNashville, Tennessee10.7%
Duke UniversityDurham, North Carolina10.8%
Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, Maryland11.8%
Colby CollegeWaterville, Maine12.1%
Tulane UniversityNew Orleans, Los Angeles13%
Harvey Mudd CollegeClaremont, California12.9%
Pitzer CollegeClaremont, California13.7%
Amherst CollegeAmherst, Massachusetts13.7%
Cornell UniversityIthaca, New York14.1%
Top 30
College of the OzarksPoint Lookout, Missouri14.2%
Bowdoin CollegeBrunswick, Maine14.8%
Cooper UnionNew York City, New York15.1%
Rice UniversityHouston, Texas15.1%
University of California-BerkeleyBerkeley, California16%
Mississippi Valley State UniversityItta Bena, Mississippi16.2%
The United States Air Force AcademyUSAF, Colorado16.6%
Washington University in St. LouisSt. Louis, Missouri17.1%
Middlebury College Middlebury, Vermont17.3%
Tufts UniversityMedford, Massachusetts17.3%
Top 40
Georgetown UniversityWashington, DC17.4%
Rust CollegeHolly Springs, Mississippi17.6%
Colorado CollegeColorado Springs, Colorado18%
University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, California18%
United States Coast Guard AcademyNew London, Connecticut18.1%
University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)Los Angeles, California18.5%
Williams CollegeWilliamstown, Massachusetts19.4%
Washington and Lee UniversityLexington, Virginia19.6%
Liberty UniversityLynchburg, Virginia20.3%
Florida Memorial UniversityMiami, Florida20.5%
Top 50
New York UniversityNew York City, New York21%
University of Notre DameNotre Dame, Indiana21.5%
Davidson CollegeDavidson, North Carolina21.7%
Missouri Valley CollegeMarshall, Missouri22.2%
United States Merchant Marine AcademyKings Point, New York22.4%
Carleton CollegeNorthfield, Minnesota22.8%
Vassar CollegePoughkeepsie, New York23.5%
Barnard CollegeNew York, New York23.7%
Wesleyan UniversityMiddletown, Connecticut23.9%
Fort Valley State UniversityFort Valley, Georgia24.2%
Top 60
Art Academy of CincinnatiCincinnati, Ohio24.3%
Robert Morris UniversityChicago, Illinois24.4%
Carnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh, Pennsylvania24.6%
Haverford CollegeHaverford, Pennsylvania24.7%
Kenyon CollegeGambier, Ohio25.1%
Bates CollegeJackson State UniversityLewiston, MaineJackson, Mississippi25.4%
Colgate UniversityHamilton, New York26.1%
Warner UniversityLake Wales, Florida26.2%
Babson CollegeWellesley, Massachusetts26.4%
Hamilton CollegeClinton, New York26.4%
Top 70
Emory UniversityAtlanta, Georgia26.8%
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio27%
Lincoln UniversityLincoln University, Pennsylvania27.1%
Edward Waters CollegeJacksonville, Florida27.3%
Scripps CollegeClaremont, California27.4%
California Institute of ArtsValencia, California27.7%
CUNY–Baruch CollegeNew York City, New York28%
Grinnell CollegeGrinnell, Iowa28%
College of New RochelleNew Rochelle, New York28.5%
University of North Carolina–Chapel HillChapel Hill, North Carolina28.5%
Top 80
CUNY–Lehman CollegeBronx, New York29%
University of VirginiaCharlottesville, Virginia29%
Hampton UniversityHampton, Virginia29.1%
Lafayette CollegeEaston, Pennsylvania29.8%
Chicago State UniversityChicago, Illinois30%
Calumet College of St. JosephWhiting, Indiana30.3%
Wellesley CollegeWellesley, Massachusetts30.5%
Bucknell UniversityLewisburg, Pennsylvania30.7%
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis ObispoSan Luis Obispo, California30.9%
Hope International UniversityFullerton, California31%
Top 90
Wilson CollegeChambersburg, Pennsylvania31.4%
Southwestern Adventist UniversityKeene, Texas31.5%
University of RichmondUniversity of Richmond, Virginia31.9%
Northeastern UniversityBoston, Massachusetts32%
University of Michigan–Ann ArborAnn Arbor, Michigan32.3%
Ohio Valley UniversityVienna, West Virginia32.5%
Oberlin CollegeOberlin, Ohio32.7%
College of William and MaryWilliamsburg, Virginia33%
Trinity CollegeHartford, Connecticut33%
Webb InstituteGlen Cove, New York33%

Read Related: Georgia Tech Acceptance Rate & Transfer Requirements 2022

Benefits of Attending Universities or Colleges with Lowest Acceptance Rates

Institutions with low acceptance rates often have low enrollment rates, admission is highly competitive and highly selective. This is because they are highly ranked, topmost prestigious institutions and the prestige follows their graduates everywhere they find themselves.

Below are some of the benefits you will enjoy if you are admitted into one of these schools.

1. Career Opportunities

The majority of the institutions in the US with low acceptance rates are highly selective in their application processes, however, there are endless opportunities these universities can present to you. 

Some of these opportunities are:

  • Networking: you will get a chance to network with the institution’s great alumni members who work in reputable organisations across the states.
  • Recommendations: Getting a recommendation from professionals in top universities is a plus to getting scholarships, contract offers and job offers.

2. Salary Benefits

Most top organizations out there are looking to hire the best. They consider your academic performance and your great citadel of learning can be key to why hiring managers would want to look at your resume twice. When companies hire the best, they also prepare a competitive salary. Also, high prestige institutions get the best jobs with better pay. You could even get a chance to work with a reputable company while you are still studying.

What you need to get into a university or College with low acceptance rates

Below are basic requirements that can increase your chances of getting admission into a university or college with a very low acceptance rate:

1. Maintain a high cumulative GPA

The first thing many institutions look at is the cumulative GPA score of candidates applying to their schools. GPA is vital if you want to get admission into the best schools with the lowest acceptance rate in the United States of America. A high GPA can increase your chances of getting admission faster than any other thing.

2. Good ACT or SAT scores

While there are schools in the United States that do not require a compulsory SAT/ACT score, the majority of the top institutions require a certain range of SAT or ACT scores, generally a minimum of average scores.

3. Show Leadership Skills

Taking leadership roles and participating in community development and extracurricular activities in your high school can improve your chances of getting admitted into the top university of your choice.

3. Learn how to write a good essay

Although not all schools in the US will ask you to submit an essay along with your application form, the majority of the high-ranked universities and colleges will ask you to forward an essay. 

4. Get a professional recommendation

When asked to provide a recommendation letter during your application, do not get a recommendation from a random person. Make sure each referee is a professional relevant to your field of study. It could be your project supervisor, class adviser, or head of the department.

FAQ on Universities and Colleges with Lowest Acceptance Rates

Which university is the hardest to get into?

Universities with the lowest acceptance rate are the most difficult schools to get into. They typically have low enrollment rates or yield rates and are highly selective.

How can I get accepted into top universities in the US?

To get admission into one of the top-ranked universities or colleges in the US, you must strive to have good grades and maintain them through high school. Participate in community services as many times as you can. Build strong leadership skills, and volunteer for organizations if you can. Lastly, get involved in extracurricular activities.

Oladoyin Falana

Oladoyin Falana, a graduate of OAU, is an SEO Specialist, and IT business developer. He is the owner and content editor of, a platform that focuses on providing information on career, recruitment updates, exams, and admission updates, including general (How-to) information.
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