2018 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in AmericaAbout this List

Explore the hardest colleges to get into ranking based on acceptance rates and SAT/ACT test scores using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Compare the most selective colleges with the lowest acceptance rates and highest SAT/ACT test scores. Read more on how this ranking was calculated.

  1. Dartmouth College

    • 4 Year
    • Hanover, NH
    • 657
    13 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in America

    College Junior: I would definitely choose Dartmouth again. I love the spirit of the school, the people, the professors and all of the non-academic learning experiences that are available. I think in the Engineering school there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of consistently having consistently good teachers. For the most part, teachers are good in the entry level classes, occasionally there is a great teacher, but often ( so far 1 class out of three, every trimester) there is one teacher who isvery suboptimal in their ability to teach or communicate well. Not acceptable at this type of school.

    Additionally, because Dartmouth is out of the way for most companies, their engineering recruiting fairs are extremely lacking in depth and availability. Much of the fair is online. Being only 3 hours from Boston, The Thayer school of engineering should host a weekend or trip to Boston for a recruiting fair to coincide with all the other colleges there when there are HUNDREDS of companies available to talk to and connect with. Students could take a bus to Boston and even make up the classes that are missed at some later point if necessary. Job hunting and internship opportunities are far inferior than at many other schools, even if they are not as highly ranked as Dartmouth!
    Read 657 Reviews

    • A+
      Overall Niche Grade
    • A+
      Academics
    • 11% Acceptance Rate
    • $21,348 Net Price
    • 1330-1560 SAT Range
  2. Claremont McKenna College

    • 4 Year
    • Claremont, CA
    • 403
    20 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in America

    College Senior: I've had some great classes and experiences at CMC, and a few that weren't so great. Anyone coming to CMC should be aware that the social scene is pretty centered on alcohol and partying (though there is a substance free dorm with a strong culture, and a surprisingly high number of people who don't drink/go out). Thankfully, the parties are on campus, hosted by the student government, and open to everyone. There isn't a whole lot of the sketchiness or exclusivity that usually comes with frat parties at larger schools, since parties are open to everyone. I see this as a huge benefit of the school, though I no longer regularly attend parties.

    It's really easy to get involved in things you're interested in, whether that's student government, a club, or research. Research opportunities are probably more available for Econ majors than others, and in the sciences/engineering you won't have the same kind of research experiences you would at a school that has real researchers.

    We have some great professors here. Philosophy is by far the best, and there are some excellent professors in probably all of our other departments as well. In my opinion as someone majoring in both, our government and economics departments aren't deserving of the reputations they have. I wouldn't come here looking to study science, engineering, or pre-med, unless I'm also really interested in studying the humanities/social sciences. Classwork is generally reasonable, though challenging. People are motivated, but not super competitive with each other or stressed out, which is great.

    Many CMC students are smart, motivated, and interested in their academic subjects. Others are more interested in partying. Many are a mix of both. People are not particularly artsy or creative; if you are, you might feel that side of yourself slipping away over your four years here (though we're getting better and now have a dedicated music space on campus). It can feel small after 4 years, but overall great!
    Read 403 Reviews

    • A+
      Overall Niche Grade
    • A+
      Academics
    • 11% Acceptance Rate
    • $29,894 Net Price
    • 1340-1530 SAT Range
  3. Cornell University

    • 4 Year
    • Ithaca, NY
    • 1,736
    22 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in America

    College Junior: My experience at Cornell had been a whirlwind of endless opportunities. It has absolutely had it's ups and downs, with times where the stress and fast pace of classes seems to be unbearable, but usually when that happens a break was right around the corner and there was time to catch up. All the students at this school, from the engineers to the Hotelies, are used to being the top of their class in high school. It takes some getting used to learn that not everyone can be the best at this university.

    That being said, Cornell can offer you the change to truly impact the world in whatever field you pursue. Your plant science degree with lead to cutting edge research, your business major with give you connections others need years to build and your engineering degree will give you your choice of career straight out of college. But that diploma does not come easy, you will have to work relentlessly for four years to earn it (five years if you're studying architecture!).

    Looking back to choosing this university my senior year of high school, I wouldn't change a thing. My experience has been far from perfect: I've experienced failure just like the rest of my peers. I'm not, however, the same person I was in high school and this is a good thing. Cornell has changed me for the better and I highly recommend you let it do the same to you!
    Read 1,736 Reviews

    • A+
      Overall Niche Grade
    • A+
      Academics
    • 15% Acceptance Rate
    • $28,656 Net Price
    • 1330-1530 SAT Range
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2018 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in America