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20 Most Selective Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

These Colleges Send Out the Greatest Percentage of Rejection Letters


Here you'll find the 20 most selective colleges and universities in the U.S. These schools accept a lower percentage of applicants than any others. As you read the list, consider these issues:

  • I did not include colleges that are essentially free (although many have a service requirement). Nevertheless, College of the Ozarks, Berea, West Point, Cooper Union, Coast Guard Academy, USAFA, and Annapolis all have extremely low acceptance rates.
  • I did not include extremely small places like Deep Springs College and Webb Institute
  • I did not include schools with a performance- or portfolio-based admissions process such as Julliard and the Curtis Institute of Music
  • Selectivity alone doesn't explain how hard it is to get into a school. Some schools not on this list have students with higher average GPAs and test scores than some schools on the list.

20. Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis
黄若云 / Flickr

19. Bowdoin College

Bowdoin College
sglickman / Flickr

18. Duke University

Duke University

17. Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt University Benson Science Hall
Zeamays / Wikimedia Commons

16. Olin College

Olin College
Paul Keleher / Flickr

15. University of Chicago

University of Chicago
puroticorico / Flickr

14. Swarthmore College

Swarthmore Parrish Hall
EAWB / flickr

13. Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College
Bazookajoe1 / Wikimedia Commons

12. Pomona College

Pomona College
CMLLovesDegus / Wikimedia Commons

11. Amherst College

Amherst Chapel
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