Special Report

Hardest Colleges to Get Into by State

The Department of Justice will soon prosecute the largest college admissions scandal in its history. So far 50 people have been implicated in the scandal, charged with bribing and committing fraud to gain admission to some of the most selective and prestigious colleges and universities in the country.

On average, workers with a college education earn more than those with less education and are less likely to lose their jobs or face long periods of unemployment. However, as the recent scandal suggests, for many, the diploma itself is not as important as the name of the institution printed on it.

Applying for college is a major undertaking, with no guarantee of acceptance. Acceptance rates are often considered an approximation for exclusivity, and in general, it can be expected that a school with a lower acceptance rate will grant a better education and a more prestigious degree.

While acceptance rates and SAT scores offer a good indication of a university’s prestige, they are not the only factors to take into consideration. The desired career might point a student to a state university that offers a specialty program, even if the university has an acceptance rate that is higher than an elite private university. As with many important life choices, the more research the better.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed education data across thousands of four-year, degree-granting institutions from the National Center for Education Statistics and other sources to determine each state’s most selective college. We indexed acceptance rates, as well as SAT and ACT scores of admitted students, to measure the difficulty of being accepted to those universities and colleges.Some states have large elite universities that receive tens of thousands of applications and accept only a fraction of them. Other schools on this list are small, expensive private institutions. While many of the schools named by DOJ in the recent scandal are highly selective, not all of them made this list.

Click here to see the hardest colleges to get into by state.
Click here to see our methodology.

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