Campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hardest college to get into in every state

Written by:
January 23, 2023
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Hardest college to get into in every state

It is conventional wisdom that having a college education can be an enormous advantage in terms of furthering your career. With a college degree, you're likely to make more money, get improved health and retirement benefits, and may find better career opportunities. Going to a selective school is considered by many to be an even greater leg up, affording you chances others simply may not have, such as higher lifetime earnings and important networking opportunities.

Because tuition prices keep rising, however, holding a degree from a school with high post-degree employment rates and robust networking programs can also increase the amount of money students must borrow in order to attend them.

Some coastal states, such as Massachusetts and New York, have several highly selective colleges. For instance, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology accept only 5% and 7%, respectively, of the students who apply. Other states, such as Utah and Arizona, have (by comparison) no highly selective schools. Brigham Young University, for example, which accepts 69% of students who apply, is the most selective school in Utah. Arizona's most selective college, Ottawa University at Surprise, takes about 28% of applicants.

Overall, college applications increased for the 2022-2023 academic year by 41% over 2019-2020, proving that in the absence of pandemic-related restrictions, people are primed to press forward with higher learning.

To see which schools in each state are the most difficult to get into, Stacker combed through Niche's 2023 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in America ranking. Niche ranked college's selectivity based on acceptance rates and SAT test scores, using data from both the Department of Education and self-reported scores by Niche users.

Click through to the list to see the most selective schools in each state and to find out just how hard you'll need to hit that SAT prep book.

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Alabama: Spring Hill College

- Location: Mobile, Alabama
- #247 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 54%
- Net price: $23,067
- SAT range: 1000-1150

Spring Hill College is the oldest Catholic college in the Southeast. The school's average class size is 17 students, which allows for more discussion time, more personalized attention from teachers, and more accountability. That kind of intimacy in the classroom seems to pay off: A full 90% of SHC alumni get into the health-related grad programs of their choice, while around 85% of communication arts grads land jobs related to their areas of focus within three months.

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Alaska: University of Alaska Southeast

- Location: Juneau, Alaska
- #460 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 64%
- Net price: $10,506
- SAT range: —

At the University of Alaska Southeast, the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1, which allows a more personalized approach to learning. The school's main campus is based in Juneau but has two satellite campuses, one in Sitka and the other in Ketchikan. All campuses are near the Pacific Ocean, which makes the school an ideal location for studying marine sciences.

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Arizona: Ottawa University - Surprise

- Location: Surprise, Arizona
- #102 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 28%
- Net price: $33,201
- SAT range: 970-1080

The Ottawa University campus in Surprise features state-of-the-art academic, sports, and residential facilities. The original institution was founded in 1865 in Ottawa, Kansas, following an agreement between Native Americans—who owned and inhabited the land where it now stands—and Baptist missionaries. OUAZ offers strong athletic programs and personalized education delivered through individual student success coaches.

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Arkansas: Lyon College

- Location: Batesville, Arkansas
- #191 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 50%
- Net price: $20,495
- SAT range: 1030-1160

This private liberal arts college was founded in 1872, which makes it one of the oldest schools in Arkansas. It has built its reputation on professor-student mentorships, unique research programs, and small classes. The board of trustees is currently working on expanding its graduate curriculum to include veterinary and dental schools and a nursing program that is set to start in 2023. Lyon College is the only pet-friendly university in Arkansas.

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California: Stanford University

- Location: Stanford, California
- #2 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 5%
- Net price: $20,023
- SAT range: 1420-1570

Stanford University ranks as one of the world's best schools and is known especially for its computer science, biology, and engineering programs. Stanford boasts some of the most successful businesspeople as alums, including Nike founder Phil Knight and Google creators Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

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Colorado: Colorado College

- Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
- #30 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 14%
- Net price: $27,319
- SAT range: —

Colorado College takes pride in its unique study method called "The Block Plan". Each term is broken down into three-and-a-half-week sections, wherein students dedicate their time exclusively to one subject, the goal being that one block is equivalent to one semester's worth of material at another school. The method allows pupils to creatively design their own schedule and path of study. To prove the system works, CC keeps an up-to-date digital dossier of the achievements of their alumni.

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Connecticut: Yale University

- Location: New Haven, Connecticut
- #5 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Net price: $17,511
- SAT range: 1460-1580

Yale University is the fourth oldest institution for higher learning in the United States. It is well-known for its drama, history, music, and economics programs as well as its law school. The university boasts an impressive number of famous alumni, including five U.S. presidents, 19 Supreme Court judges, and many heads of state. Its student-to-faculty ratio is tiny—a mere 6:1.

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Delaware: Delaware State University

- Location: Dover, Delaware
- #164 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 39%
- Net price: $14,464
- SAT range: 810-1010

A historically black college, Delaware State University is especially known for its College of Business, named by the Princeton Review as one of the best business schools in the country for 10 consecutive years. Delaware State operates a full-service, university-based flight school—the only one in the mid-Atlantic region.

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Florida: University of South Florida - Sarasota-Manatee

- Location: Sarasota, Florida
- #69 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 24%
- Net price: $2,734
- SAT range: 1160-1290

Known as USFSM, the Sarasota-Manatee branch of the University of South Florida was founded in 1975 but was granted separate accreditation rights in 2011. Over 4,500 students attend both on-campus and online classes at the public school. In 2022, USFSM received its biggest private donation ever: $5.26 million for the expansion of the risk management and insurance program. In addition, the construction of a new 100,000-square-foot housing/student center complex is set to start in early 2023 and should be ready to open in the fall of 2024.

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Georgia: Emory University

- Location: Atlanta, Georgia
- #45 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 19%
- Net price: $25,672
- SAT range: 1380-1530

Nine schools make up Emory University, the second-oldest private higher education institution in Georgia. Its most prestigious academic division is the School of Medicine, linked to Emory Healthcare, the largest medical system in the state of Georgia. More than 1,100 students are split across medical and health professional tracks, and the university also provides residency training to more than 1,300 residents and fellows across 107 training programs.

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Hawaii: Brigham Young University - Hawaii

- Location: Laie, Hawaii
- #649 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 75%
- Net price: $13,998
- SAT range: 1060-1250

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns and operates Brigham Young University in Hawaii—a large portion of tuition is funded by the church, too. The school offers some uncommon majors, including Pacific Island Studies and Hawaiian Studies.

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Idaho: The College of Idaho

- Location: Caldwell, Idaho
- #178 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 48%
- Net price: $21,343
- SAT range: 1050-1240

The College of Idaho takes rightful pride in the honors obtained by its alumni, who include eight Rhodes Scholars, three state governors, four NFL players, and two Major League Baseball players. The 131-year-old school has grown from a single classroom with two pupils at a Presbyterian church to a reputable college with an annual enrollment of over 1,000 students.

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Illinois: University of Chicago

- Location: Chicago, Illinois
- #7 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Net price: $36,584
- SAT range: 1500-1570

The University of Chicago boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio—5:1—as well as an affiliation with 97 Nobel laureates, 34 MacArthur "genius grant" fellows, and 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, including Saul Bellow and Thornton Wilder, who won on three occasions. The school is proud of its nationally recognized medical and law programs.

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Indiana: University of Notre Dame

- Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
- #39 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 19%
- Net price: $29,981
- SAT range: 1400-1550

This research-oriented Catholic institution is consistently recognized as one of the top schools in the country. The University of Notre Dame is situated on a sprawling 1,250-acre campus with a park-like landscape. Popular majors at this university include finance, accounting, and economics.

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Iowa: Grinnell College

- Location: Grinnell, Iowa
- #46 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 19%
- Net price: $32,091
- SAT range: 1370-1540

Grinnell has one of the biggest endowments among liberal arts colleges in the country. Students are not required to take general education classes. Through the Individually Advised Curriculum, Grinnellians are free to explore their passions without feeling obligated to study subjects they don't enjoy.

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Kansas: Sterling College - Kansas

- Location: Sterling, Kansas
- #134 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 37%
- Net price: $24,068
- SAT range: 900-1080

As a private Christian school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, it is fitting that a significant number of Sterling College students have participated in an international mission trip. The most popular majors are economics, political science, and computer science.

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Kentucky: Alice Lloyd College

- Location: Pippa Passes, Kentucky
- #79 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 21%
- Net price: $15,196
- SAT range: 860-1000

Alice Lloyd College was founded to help educate local leaders; today the school covers tuition for students living within 108 counties in Central Appalachia. This is why the school is continually recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the regional colleges which graduates students with the least amount of debt.

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Louisiana: Tulane University

- Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
- #25 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Net price: $47,413
- SAT range: 1340-1500

Tulane University attracts a diverse student body with 85% of its students coming from more than 300 miles away. It also claims some notable alumni, including 18 Rhodes Scholars, 180 Fulbright Scholars, multiple members of Congress, and two surgeons general. The university requires all students to complete a minimum of 85 hours of community service through major-related work, according to The Princeton Review.

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Maine: Bowdoin College

- Location: Brunswick, Maine
- #17 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Net price: $25,622
- SAT range: 1360-1510

Bowdoin College is recognized—year after year—as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. The most popular majors are biology, economics, and oceanographic sciences. Founded in 1794, it has managed to maintain its reputation as a school with rigorous requirements. During the first half of the 19th century, Bowdoin demanded its applicants provide a certificate of "good moral character" and proven knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek.

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Maryland: Johns Hopkins University

- Location: Baltimore, Maryland
- #18 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Net price: $25,241
- SAT range: 1470-1560

Considered the first research university in the country, Johns Hopkins University leads all schools in terms of money spent on research and development, spending $3.1 billion in 2020. The most popular majors include public health, bioengineering/biomedical engineering, and neuroscience. Its school of medicine is well-ranked, and 80% of pre-med students are admitted to a medical school within five years of graduating.

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Massachusetts: Harvard University

- Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
- #1 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 5%
- Net price: $18,037
- SAT range: 1460-1580

Globally known as one of the most prestigious of America's Ivy League schools, Harvard University was founded 140 years before the U.S. became an official nation. It is the most selective school in the country, according to Niche. Its alumni include eight U.S. presidents, several hundred Rhodes Scholars, and over 180 billionaires, more than Stanford, Yale, and MIT combined. The most popular undergraduate major there is economics.

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Michigan: University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

- Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
- #61 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 26%
- Net price: $17,832
- SAT range: 1340-1520

This public university's 1817 founding preceded Michigan's statehood by two decades. The University of Michigan is located in Ann Arbor, which gets a great deal of attention for being an exceptional college town. The acceptance rate is getting slimmer at this institution: the acceptance rate is down to 20%, while it was 26% for the class of 2024.

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Minnesota: Carleton College

- Location: Northfield, Minnesota
- #50 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 21%
- Net price: $30,843
- SAT range: 1330-1520

At Carleton College, a small private liberal arts school, the average faculty-to-student ratio is 8:1 with 73% of classes having under 20 students. The most popular majors at this university include computer science and biology. Two of Carleton's own, an assistant professor of biology and academic technologist, developed an augmented reality app called BiochemAR, which can help students "visualize and understand complex 3D biological molecules that are invisible to the naked eye."

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Mississippi: Mississippi College

- Location: Clinton, Mississippi
- #86 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 29%
- Net price: $18,800
- SAT range: 1140-1260

With a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, and the promise of free tuition to Mississippi high school graduates, this private college has its own versions of sororities and fraternities "with a Christian twist." For girls, the groups are called tribes, and for boys, clubs. MC is the oldest higher learning institution in the state and the second-oldest Baptist-affiliated college or university in the country.

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Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis

- Location: St. Louis, Missouri
- #28 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 16%
- Net price: $27,233
- SAT range: 1480-1560

Washington University in St. Louis is known for its medicine and engineering programs. In 1976, "in St. Louis" was added to clear up any confusion about its location. There have been 26 Nobel laureates in physiology, economics, and medicine affiliated with the school, nine of whom conducted research while at the university.

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Montana: University of Montana - Western

- Location: Dillon, Montana
- #256 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 52%
- Net price: $11,679
- SAT range: 890-1120

In 1893, the Montana State Normal School was founded with the intention of training teachers following other states' education models. During the 20th century, the school incorporated four-year curricula in other fields. In 2000, it officially became a part of the state's higher education system, and its name was changed to the University of Montana - Western. The Equine Studies Department at UMW offers the only bachelor's degree in natural horsemanship in the U.S.

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Nebraska: College of Saint Mary

- Location: Omaha, Nebraska
- #203 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 50%
- Net price: $15,128
- SAT range: —

A small Catholic women's university primarily focused on health, education, and business, the College of Saint Mary's three paralegal programs have approval from the American Bar Association—one of less than 300 universities to have such a distinction. One hundred percent of first-time, full-time students receive scholarships and/or financial aid.

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Nevada: University of Nevada - Las Vegas

- Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
- #932 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 81%
- Net price: $11,834
- SAT range: 1030-1250

UNLV claims that its graduates end up with less debt than students from many other institutions and that 76% of its pupils receive some form of financial aid or scholarships. The first commencement ceremony of the public college was held in 1964 with 29 graduates. Currently, more than 31,000 pupils make up the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral student body.

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New Hampshire: Dartmouth College

- Location: Hanover, New Hampshire
- #13 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Net price: $24,525
- SAT range: 1440-1560

Dartmouth College's renowned academic offerings have attracted many scientists and eventual politicians, while its athletics division has drawn a great number of future Olympians. Notable arts and entertainment graduates include author Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), actress Meryl Streep, poet Robert Frost, and "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes. Alum K. Barry Sharpless won his second Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2022.

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New Jersey: Princeton University

- Location: Princeton, New Jersey
- #3 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 6%
- Net price: $18,685
- SAT range: 1450-1570

One of the 10 oldest institutions of higher learning in the country, Princeton University is the alma mater of groundbreaking American mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr., who was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1994 (he shared the prize with two other economists). The school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of 5:1, as well as 46 professors and staff members who have won Nobel Prizes.

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New Mexico: Eastern New Mexico University

- Location: Portales, New Mexico
- #231 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 51%
- Net price: $9,922
- SAT range: 950-1160

ENMU is the largest comprehensive university in New Mexico. It is a federally designated Hispanic-serving Institution, and 36% of its student body identifies as Hispanic, while female students nearly double the number of their male peers. The college offers more than 60 associate, bachelor, and master's degrees. The most popular undergraduate programs are business administration, communicative disorders, and social work.

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New York: Columbia University

- Location: New York, New York
- #8 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 7%
- Net price: $22,126
- SAT range: 1460-1570

Columbia University is one of the oldest universities in the U.S. and the oldest in New York. Founded in 1754 as King's College, several of America's Founding Fathers were some of the university's earliest students and trustees, including the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and the first Chief Justice of the United States, John Jay.

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North Carolina: Duke University

- Location: Durham, North Carolina
- #9 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 8%
- Net price: $26,932
- SAT range: 1470-1570

The top majors at Duke University include economics, computer science, and public policy analysis. According to Niche, only 4% of Duke students do not graduate, and the 96% that do are likely to make a starting salary of $76,300. Six years after graduation, Duke alumni make a median salary of $84,400—the national average is around $33,000. Notable alumni include Melinda Gates and Richard Nixon.

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North Dakota: Mayville State University

- Location: Mayville, North Dakota
- #268 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 53%
- Net price: $13,891
- SAT range: 880-1250

Most of Mayville State University's buildings are registered as national historic places. It was founded in 1889 by a provision of the state's constitution. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1, with each class hosting an average of 10 students. MSU prides itself on being a prestigious university with an ample curriculum while still providing a personalized education and a sense of community to its pupils.

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Ohio: Case Western Reserve University

- Location: Cleveland, Ohio
- #67 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 30%
- Net price: $36,002
- SAT range: 1340-1520

Considered a "very high research activity" university, 16 Nobel laureates have been members of Case Western Reserve University's faculty or alumni, including Albert A. Michelson, the first American to ever win a Nobel Prize in Science. CWRU is particularly known for its intensive, hands-on nursing program. Their students graduate with over 1,300 hours of clinical experience—twice the amount of most nursing schools.

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Oklahoma: University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma

- Location: Chickasha, Oklahoma
- #135 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 36%
- Net price: $8,000
- SAT range: 600-1200

Established in 1908 as a women's college on former Indian territory, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma has flourished to be the only public school in the state with a liberal arts-focused curriculum. It became coeducational in 1965 and now houses over 800 undergraduate-only students. The college operates on a trimester schedule, which allows full-time pupils to graduate in three years or less.

Sign reading Reed College, Main Entrance, Campus Information
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Oregon: Reed College

- Location: Portland, Oregon
- #108 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 42%
- Net price: $33,980
- SAT range: 1320-1520

Reed College is a small school bisected by a forested canyon nature preserve, which the community cleans up twice per year as part of restoration efforts. While letter grades are used at times, there is not a strong emphasis put on them; there is no honor roll or dean's list at the university.

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Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania

- Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- #11 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 9%
- Net price: $24,167
- SAT range: 1460-1570

The University of Pennsylvania has graduated more billionaires from its undergraduate programs than any other U.S. college, according to Forbes. A bachelor's degree from Penn's Wharton School of Business "is more popular among billionaires than any other college diploma." The Perelman School of Medicine is North America's first established school of medicine and Wharton is the first collegiate business school.

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Chensiyuan (Chen Siyuan) // Wikimedia Commons

Rhode Island: Brown University

- Location: Providence, Rhode Island
- #10 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 8%
- Net price: $27,659
- SAT range: 1440-1560

Ranked by Niche as #3 among Colleges with the Best Professors in America, Brown University is situated in a richly historical, urban setting complete with colonial-era buildings. Biology, economics, and computer science are the most popular majors at Brown, where the student-to-faculty ratio is 6:1. Notable alumni include Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the philanthropist who built Rockefeller Center in New York City.

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South Carolina: Wofford College

- Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina
- #187 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 53%
- Net price: $30,431
- SAT range: 1190-1350

Wofford College is one of the few private high-learning institutions in the Southeast founded before the Civil War. It opened its doors in 1854 on a 154-acre campus where it still operates to this day. The student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1; it is listed on the President's Community Service Honor Roll and is home to 20 NCAA Division I teams.

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South Dakota: Dakota Wesleyan University

- Location: Mitchell, South Dakota
- #472 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 64%
- Net price: $19,377
- SAT range: 950-1110

Associated with the United Methodist Church, this private college runs two "centers of excellence" aimed at helping students start designing their future: the Kelly Center for Entrepreneurship, and the McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service. DWU claims that 96% of graduates are either employed full-time or attending graduate school.

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Tennessee: Vanderbilt University

- Location: Nashville, Tennessee
- #19 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 12%
- Net price: $25,804
- SAT range: 1470-1570

Vanderbilt University is situated on a 330-acre campus smack dab in the heart of Nashville. An arboretum on-site features more than 6,000 trees and shrubs (190 different species). The most common majors at the school are economics, social science research methods, and liberal arts and humanities. Famous alumni include former Vice President Al Gore, NFL quarterback Jay Cutler, and author James Patterson.

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Texas: Rice University

- Location: Houston, Texas
- #15 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 11%
- Net price: $19,215
- SAT range: 1460-1570

With a median class size of 14 and a student-to-teacher ratio of 6:1, Rice University offers 50 undergraduate majors, the most popular being economics. The school also supports many research institutes and groups across a wide variety of subjects, including the Rice Space Institute—a learning center for 14 NASA astronauts. Rice aims to be a world-leading research university.

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Utah: Brigham Young University

- Location: Provo, Utah
- #369 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 69%
- Net price: $13,150
- SAT range: 1200-1410

Most students who attend Brigham Young University are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Exercise physiology, accountancy, and psychology are the most popular majors. Senator Mitt Romney and "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer are both BYU alumni.

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Vermont: Middlebury College

- Location: Middlebury, Vermont
- #55 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 22%
- Net price: $24,517
- SAT range: 1340-1520

Middlebury College is a rural school located in the Champlain Valley adjacent to the Green Mountains. The school offers summer courses in 12 different languages, including Portuguese and Russian. Two Middlebury students founded the International Quidditch Association, based on the sport from the "Harry Potter" novels.

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Virginia: University of Virginia

- Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
- #56 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 23%
- Net price: $19,043
- SAT range: 1320-1510

The University of Virginia at Charlottesville is a public research college founded in 1819 by none other than Thomas Jefferson. UVA places high in several university rankings, such as #1 Best Alumni Network (Princeton Review 2022), #1 Top College in Virginia (Forbes 2022), and #1 Best Public Law School (U.S. News and World Report 2023). Its economics school and MBA program are also quite prestigious.

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Washington: DigiPen Institute of Technology

- Location: Redmond, Washington
- #112 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 38%
- Net price: $36,832
- SAT range: 1140-1340

This tech college opened in 1988 in Canada as a research and development institute for computer science and animation. It now has campuses in Redmond, Washington, Singapore, and Bilbao, Spain. DigiPen advises students to start building their base of knowledge from day one since courses are cumulative. The school offers nine undergraduate degree programs, including music and sound design and computer science in a real-time interactive simulation.

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West Virginia: Alderson Broaddus University

- Location: Philippi, West Virginia
- #282 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 53%
- Net price: $20,080
- SAT range: 850-1050

Alderson Broaddus University was formed in 1932 by the merger of two Baptist schools: Alderson Academy and Broaddus Institute. From its genesis, the private college was committed to offering a sound liberal arts education, but in recent decades it has also focused on developing strong academic programs in natural and applied sciences. In 1945, ABU opened the first radiologic technology program in West Virginia.

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Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin - Madison

- Location: Madison, Wisconsin
- #206 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 57%
- Net price: $14,030
- SAT range: 1260-1460

Founded in 1848, at the same time as the state of Wisconsin, UW-Madison is the flagship of the University of Wisconsin system. Both its main campus and arboretum are national historic landmarks. Twenty Nobel prize winners come from the halls of this public school, which also ranked first in the number of Peace Corps volunteers in 2020.

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Thecoldmidwest // Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: University of Wyoming

- Location: Laramie, Wyoming
- #1,210 hardest college to get into nationwide
- Acceptance rate: 94%
- Net price: $12,224
- SAT range: 1040-1240

Situated high on the Laramie Plains on a picturesque campus, the University of Wyoming's location is written into the state's constitution. Among its seven colleges, the most popular is the School of Environment and Natural Resources, where biodiversity conservation and natural resource management are highly regarded classes.

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