Special Report

Hardest Colleges to Get Into by State

Source: AlexiusHoratius / Wikimedia Commons

South Dakota
> Most selective college: Augustana University
> Admission rate: 67.8%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1070 and 1290
> Annual net price of attendance: $18,937

Augustana is a Sioux Falls-based private liberal arts university founded in 1860, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. It is the largest private institution of higher education in the state. The university offers dozens of bachelor’s degree programs and pre-professional curriculums, notably nursing. Augustana has more than 2,100 students, from 29 states and 36 countries.

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> Most selective college: Vanderbilt University
> Admission rate: 10.9%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1440 and 1570
> Annual net price of attendance: $23,295

Nashville-based Vanderbilt is Tennessee’s premiere private research university that enrolls approximately 12,600 students. Vanderbilt has several schools focused on a wide range of disciplines, including music, arts and sciences, nursing, medicine, management, and law. Its Peabody College focuses on human development in different areas, such as education, public policy, and psychology. Notable alumni include Nobel Peace Prize-winning micro-lending pioneer Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry Stanford Moore, and civil rights leader Rev. James Lawson.

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> Most selective college: Rice University
> Admission rate: 15.9%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1490 and 1580
> Annual net price of attendance: $24,131

Located in Houston, Rice is a private research university that was established in 1912 as a coeducational institution. Today Rice has eight schools focused on natural sciences, business, engineering humanities, social sciences, architecture, and music. Student enrollment numbered nearly 4,000 in the fall of 2018. Rice boasts a small faculty-student ratio of six to one, well below the national average of 18 to 1. Notable alumni include astronauts Janice Voss, Shannon Walker and James H. Newman, and novelist Larry McMurtry.

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Source: Jaren Wilkey / Wikimedia Commons

> Most selective college: Brigham Young University-Provo
> Admission rate: 52.4%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1210 and 1410
> Annual net price of attendance: $12,979

Utah’s largest university is private and caters to adherents to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. BYU offers dozens of master’s and doctoral degree programs as well undergraduate education. Like other religious schools, students are expected to take some religious education and to adhere to an honor code in accordance to religious teachings. It is a major institution with more than 30,000 undergraduate students and 179 undergraduate majors. Followers of the church get a sizeable discount on tuition.

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> Most selective college: Middlebury College
> Admission rate: 17.1%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1320 and 1510
> Annual net price of attendance: $22,841

This private liberal arts college in Middlebury was the first institution of higher education in the state, founded in 1800. The nondenominational college emphasizes writing skills in all of its disciplines in order to hone critical thinking and expression in all of its students, regardless of major. The school enrolls about 2,500 undergraduate students and 750 graduate students at its Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Middlebury received a record 9,750 number of applications for the class of 2023.

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