To determine the hardest colleges to get into by state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on admissions and SAT scores from the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education. Colleges and universities were ranked based on an index comprising admission rates for the 2018-2019 school year and the median combined math and critical reading SAT scores for students admitted in Fall 2018. Supplemental data on the average cost of attendance for the 2017-2018 school year also came from the NCES. Additional information was found in the Princeton Review as well as college websites.
We only considered predominantly bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities with at least 1,000 applicants. In two states, Wyoming and Alaska, there was only one school with at least 1,000 applicants, and so the school listed in each of those states was the hardest to get into by default. Enrollment figures are for all undergraduates, both full and part time, for fall 2018, also from NCES.