Samuel Stebbins

24/7 Wall Street

Published 7:00 AM EDT Sep 11, 2019

About 16.9 million students will attend America’s college campuses this year to either begin or continue their undergraduate studies.

How beneficial a bachelor’s degree is can vary, in part depending on the name of the institution that issued it. Right or wrong, many assume that the more selective and elite the college is, the greater the quality of the education, and many apply to these colleges hoping to gain the future benefits.

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. created an index of acceptance rates, as well as SAT and ACT scores for admitted students, for more than 1,200 four-year schools nationwide to identify the hardest colleges to get into.

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50. Case Western Reserve University

• Acceptance rate: 33.1%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,340 and 1,520

• Student to faculty ratio: 11:1

• Average net price of attendance: $34,061 per year

• Location: Cleveland, Ohio

49. Colgate University

• Acceptance rate: 28.1%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,310 and 1,500

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $23,058 per year

• Location: Hamilton, New York

48. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

• Acceptance rate: 26.5%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,330 and 1,500

• Student to faculty ratio: 11:1

• Average net price of attendance: $16,856 per year

• Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan

47. Grinnell College

• Acceptance rate: 28.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,310 and 1,510

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $30,808 per year

• Location: Grinnell, Iowa

46. Davidson College

• Acceptance rate: 20.2%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,310 and 1,470

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $26,565 per year

• Location: Davidson, North Carolina

45. Vassar College

• Acceptance rate: 23.8%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,330 and 1,500

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $25,211 per year

• Location: Poughkeepsie, New York

44. Tulane University of Louisiana

• Acceptance rate: 21.5%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,330 and 1,490

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $37,692 per year

• Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

43. University of California-Berkeley

• Acceptance rate: 17.1%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,260 and 1,480

• Student to faculty ratio: 20:1

• Average net price of attendance: $17,862 per year

• Location: Berkeley, California

42. Washington and Lee University

• Acceptance rate: 22%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,350 and 1,490

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $21,918 per year

• Location: Lexington, Virginia

41. Emory University

• Acceptance rate: 22%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,350 and 1,520

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $26,804 per year

• Location: Atlanta, Georgia

40. Hamilton College

• Acceptance rate: 24.2%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,360 and 1,510

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $27,809 per year

• Location: Clinton, New York

39. Barnard College

• Acceptance rate: 15.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,310 and 1,500

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $26,681 per year

• Location: New York City

38. Webb Institute

• Acceptance rate: 34.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,440 and 1,540

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $20,311 per year

• Location: Glen Cove, New York

37. Wellesley College

• Acceptance rate: 22.1%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,360 and 1,530

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $20,826 per year

• Location: Wellesley, Massachusetts

36. University of Southern California

• Acceptance rate: 16.0%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,300 and 1,500

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $36,161 per year

• Location: Los Angeles

35. Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art

• Acceptance rate: 13.1%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,310 and 1,530

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $28,579 per year

• Location: New York City

34. Middlebury College

• Acceptance rate: 17.1%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,320 and 1,510

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $23,136 per year

• Location: Middlebury, Vermont

33. Colby College

• Acceptance rate: 15.8%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,340 and 1,500

• Student to faculty ratio: 10:1

• Average net price of attendance: $20,689 per year

• Location: Waterville, Maine

32. Northeastern University

• Acceptance rate: 27.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,370 and 1,520

• Student to faculty ratio: 14:1

• Average net price of attendance: $34,245 per year

• Location: Boston

31. Carleton College

• Acceptance rate: 21.2%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,360 and 1,530

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $32,336 per year

• Location: Northfield, Minnesota

30. Georgetown University

• Acceptance rate: 15.7%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,350 and 1,520

• Student to faculty ratio: 11:1

• Average net price of attendance: $28,509 per year

• Location: Washington

29. Claremont McKenna College

• Acceptance rate: 10.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,340 and 1,510

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $26,512 per year

• Location: Claremont, California

28. Haverford College

• Acceptance rate: 20.1%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,390 and 1,530

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $25,362 per year

• Location: Haverford, Pennsylvania

27. University of Notre Dame

• Acceptance rate: 18.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,370 and 1,520

• Student to faculty ratio: 10:1

• Average net price of attendance: $30,229 per year

• Location: Notre Dame, Indiana

26. Pomona College

• Acceptance rate: 8.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,370 and 1,530

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $16,988 per year

• Location: Claremont, California

25. Tufts University

• Acceptance rate: 14.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,410 and 1,540

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $26,825 per year

• Location: Medford, Massachusetts

24. Swarthmore College

• Acceptance rate: 10.7%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,380 and 1,540

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $19,446 per year

• Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

23. Cornell University

• Acceptance rate: 12.7%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,390 and 1,550

• Student to faculty ratio: 9:1

• Average net price of attendance: $28,890 per year

• Location: Ithaca, New York

22. Carnegie Mellon University

• Acceptance rate: 22.2%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,430 and 1,560

• Student to faculty ratio: 10:1

• Average net price of attendance: $30,847 per year

• Location: Pittsburgh

21. Dartmouth College

• Acceptance rate: 10.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,430 and 1,560

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $23,394 per year

• Location: Hanover, New Hampshire

20. Duke University

• Acceptance rate: 9.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,380 and 1,540

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $19,785 per year

• Location: Durham, North Carolina

19. Amherst College

• Acceptance rate: 12.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,400 and 1,560

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $19,275 per year

• Location: Amherst, Massachusetts

18. Williams College

• Acceptance rate: 14.6%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,400 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $18,979 per year

• Location: Williamstown, Massachusetts

17. Washington University in St. Louis

• Acceptance rate: 16%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,470 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $27,931 per year

• Location: St. Louis

16. Columbia University

• Acceptance rate: 6.6%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,410 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $21,220 per year

• Location: New York City

15. Northwestern University

• Acceptance rate: 9.2%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,420 and 1,560

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $27,540 per year

• Location: Evanston, Illinois

14. Brown University

• Acceptance rate: 8.5%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,405 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $27,238 per year

• Location: Providence, Rhode Island

13. Stanford University

• Acceptance rate: 4.7%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,390 and 1,540

• Student to faculty ratio: 5:1

• Average net price of attendance: $17,271 per year

• Location: Stanford, California

12. University of Pennsylvania

• Acceptance rate: 9.3%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,420 and 1,560

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $26,266 per year

• Location: Philadelphia

11. Vanderbilt University

• Acceptance rate: 10.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,440 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $23,596 per year

• Location: Nashville, Tennessee

10. Princeton University

• Acceptance rate: 6.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,430 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 5:1

• Average net price of attendance: $16,192 per year

• Location: Princeton, New Jersey

9. Harvey Mudd College

• Acceptance rate: 15.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,470 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 8:1

• Average net price of attendance: $38,768 per year

• Location: Claremont, California

8. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

• Acceptance rate: 13.4%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,450 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $32,684 per year

• Location: Needham, Massachusetts

7. Johns Hopkins University

• Acceptance rate: 12.5%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,450 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $27,868 per year

• Location: Baltimore

6. Rice University

• Acceptance rate: 15.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,490 and 1,580

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $23,202 per year

• Location: Houston

5. Yale University

• Acceptance rate: 6.9%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,460 and 1,580

• Student to faculty ratio: 6:1

• Average net price of attendance: $18,748 per year

• Location: New Haven, Connecticut

4. University of Chicago

• Acceptance rate: 8.7%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,480 and 1,580

• Student to faculty ratio: 5:1

• Average net price of attendance: $33,003 per year

• Location: Chicago

3. Harvard University

• Acceptance rate: 5.2%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,460 and 1,590

• Student to faculty ratio: 7:1

• Average net price of attendance: $17,590 per year

• Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

• Acceptance rate: 7.2%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,490 and 1,570

• Student to faculty ratio: 3:1

• Average net price of attendance: $18,971 per year

• Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

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1. California Institute of Technology

• Acceptance rate: 7.7%

• SAT scores at 25th & 75th percentiles: 1,530 and 1,590

• Student to faculty ratio: 3:1

• Average net price of attendance: $26,361 per year

• Location: Pasadena, California

Methodology

To identify the hardest colleges to get into, 24/7 constructed an index using data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to measure the relative exclusivity of four-year, private and public, degree-granting colleges and universities. 24/7 indexed both acceptance rates and SAT test scores of admitted students to measure the difficulty of being accepted.

The annual net price listed is for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying the in-state or in-district tuition rate who received grant or scholarship aid from federal, state, local or institutional sources and is generated by subtracting the amount of aid from the total cost of attendance, which is the sum of published tuition, required fees, books and supplies, the average room and board and other expenses. Schools that had no data on SAT and ACT scores were excluded from consideration. For schools that did not have a net price figure for the 2017-2018, the net price for the previous year was given. All other data is for the 2017-2018 school year.

24/7 Wall Street is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.