Special Report

The Hardest College to Get Into in Every State

Source: Altairisfar / Wikimedia Commons

Alabama: Spring Hill College
> Location: Mobile
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 49.8%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 7,616
> Median SAT score: 1100 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $51,969
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 1,252

Spring Hill College in Mobile ranks as Alabama’s hardest college to get into largely because of its relatively low acceptance rate. Less than half of the 7,616 applicants to Spring Hill College for the 2019-2020 academic year were admitted to the Jesuit college.

Source: lippyjr / Getty Images

Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks
> Location: Fairbanks
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 76.0%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 1,383
> Median SAT score: 1160 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $18,510
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 4,657

University of Alaska Fairbanks is one of just three colleges in the state of Alaska that met the qualifications to appear on this list. Though it admits over three-quarters of applications, it is still the most difficult school to get into in the state. It is also the only college in Alaska that reported a median SAT score, at 1160 out of 1600.

Source: aimintang / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Arizona: Arizona State University-Tempe
> Location: Tempe
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 86.5%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 34,188
> Median SAT score: 1245 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $25,621
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 42,529

Arizona State University-Tempe is one of very few large state schools to rank on this list. For every Arizona college for which there was data, the acceptance rate was well over 60%. Even though Arizona State University-Tempe has an acceptance rate of 86.5%, it still ranks as the most difficult Arizona college to get into because its median SAT score of 1245 is the highest among schools for which there is data.

Source: Lyoncollege / Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas: Lyon College
> Location: Batesville
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 44.4%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 2,394
> Median SAT score: 1114 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $38,173
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 655

Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas is one of just three colleges in the state to admit fewer than half of the students who applied for the 2019-2020 school year. Lyon College is a private liberal arts institution located in the Ozarks region of the state. It is one of the most expensive schools in the state with an average annual cost over $38,000.

Source: Antony-22 / Wikimedia Commons

California: California Institute of Technology
> Location: Pasadena
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 6.4%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 8,367
> Median SAT score: 1555 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $68,901
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 948

Of the over 1,200 higher learning institutions considered for this list, California Institute of Technology ranks not only as the hardest school to get into in its state, but the entire country — when considering both acceptance rate and median SAT scores. CalTech has one of the lowest acceptance rates in the nation, at 6.4%, and a median SAT score of 1555 — the highest of any American university. The prestigious science and engineering school has 39 Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni and manages NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.