Special Report

The Hardest College to Get Into in Every State

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Hawaii: University of Hawaii at Manoa
> Location: Honolulu
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 58.5%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 16,235
> Median SAT score: 1145 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $23,948
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 12,609

The University of Hawaii at Manoa, located in Honolulu, ranks as the hardest school in the state to get into, as its 1145 median SAT score is higher than the three other qualifying schools in Hawaii. Among all qualifying colleges in the state, University of Hawaii at Manoa students have the highest employment rate and median earnings six years after entry, at 89.6% and $35,700, respectively.

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Idaho: Boise State University
> Location: Boise
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 77.4%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 15,030
> Median SAT score: 1125 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $19,573
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 16,526

Boise State University is one of just a handful of large state schools to rank as the most difficult college to get into in a state. Public schools are generally less expensive than private schools, and Boise State is one of just six schools on this list with an average annual cost of attendance under $20,000. A large research university, Boise State has over 200 fields of study for students.

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Illinois: University of Chicago
> Location: Chicago
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 6.2%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 34,641
> Median SAT score: 1520 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $75,735
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 6,600

The University of Chicago is the hardest college in Illinois to get into, and the fourth hardest to get into in the country. The private college, located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, is one of just six American colleges and universities with a median SAT score of at least 1520. Among its alumni and faculty are dozens of Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and Rhodes scholars.

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Indiana: University of Notre Dame
> Location: Notre Dame
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 15.8%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 22,200
> Median SAT score: 1475 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $69,395
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 8,568

The University of Notre Dame is a private, Catholic research college located just outside of South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame is among the more expensive colleges on this list, with an average annual cost of attendance exceeding $69,000. The tuition may be considered a good investment for some, however, as 95.2% of those who enroll in the school are employed six years later, one of the highest rates of any institution in the country. Notre Dame is known nationwide for its football team, which has won 13 national championships in the school’s history, the most recent in 1988.

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Iowa: Grinnell College
> Location: Grinnell
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 23.1%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 8,004
> Median SAT score: 1451 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $65,814
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 1,683

Grinnell College, a small private liberal arts school in Grinnell, Iowa, describes itself as “quirky” and “curious.” The Midwestern school was founded in 1846 and is located between Iowa City and Des Moines. Its median SAT score of 1451 ranks among the best in the country, helping it rank as Iowa’s most difficult school to get into. More than 19% of undergraduate students are classified as nonresident aliens, one of the largest shares of any university in the country.