Hardest Colleges to Get Into by State

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Alabama
> Most selective college: The University of Alabama
> Admission rate: 53.3%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1050 and 1280
> Annual net price of attendance: $19,993

Known for its successful athletics programs, the Tuscaloosa-based institution is the flagship of the statewide University of Alabama System. UA is the state’s oldest institution of higher education — it was founded in 1831. In 2018, total enrollment at the university reached a record 38,392 students. Notable graduates include U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Hugo Black, novelist Harper Lee, and Tony Award-winning actor Norbert Leo Butz.

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Alaska
> Most selective college: University of Alaska Fairbanks
> Admission rate: 76.7%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1030 and 1270
> Annual net price of attendance: $9,010

The University of Alaska, including its flagship Fairbanks campus, consists of six campuses statewide, one community college, and an online education portal. As of the fall 2017 semester, there were only 9,783 enrolled undergraduate students at University of Alaska Fairbanks, including 1,063 graduate students. The university’s research focal points include agriculture and forestry, arctic research, and marine science. The university recently began offering a class on the chemistry of cannabis, which tackles the social impacts and economic opportunities of legalized marijuana. Alaska has one of the nation’s most liberal marijuana laws.

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Arizona
> Most selective college: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Prescott
> Admission rate: 76.5%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1130 and 1350
> Annual net price of attendance: $34,120

As the name implies, Embry-Riddle is an aeronautical-focused institution. Founded in 1926, this private institution is far more than a flight school. It offers courses on the business and science of aviation and aerospace with majors including engineering, physical sciences, computers and technology (including cyber security), and transportation. Embry-Riddle’s Robertson Safety Institute hosts an aircraft crash investigation laboratory that provides students with hands-on field investigations of aircraft accident scenarios.

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Arkansas
> Most selective college: University of Arkansas
> Admission rate: 66.0%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1110 and 1280
> Annual net price of attendance: $15,966

Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas’ Fayetteville campus is the flagship of the University of Arkansas System. Enrollment in the fall of 2018 was 27,778, and the student high school GPA average was 3.69. The university boasts strong programs in animal sciences, business, law, and Middle Eastern studies. Famous UA alumni include the late U.S. Sen. James William Fulbright, co-inventor of fiber optic cable Robert Maurer, and journalist/TV personality T.J. Holmes.

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California
> Most selective college: California Institute of Technology
> Admission rate: 7.7%
> SAT at 25th and 75th percentiles: 1530 and 1590
> Annual net price of attendance: $24,466

Caltech is a private doctorate-granting research university in Pasadena, California, known for its natural science and engineering programs. It is consistently ranked among the world’s top institutions like MIT, Harvard, and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Caltech boasts six academic divisions, including geological and planetary sciences and physics, mathematics, and astronomy. Notable alumni include Apollo astronauts Frank Borman and Harrison Schmitt, film director Frank Capra (“It’s a Wonderful Life”), and Moshe Arens, former Israeli defense and foreign affairs minister.