Special Report

The Hardest College to Get Into in Every State

Source: Brandon Riffel / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Ottawa University-Ottawa
> Location: Ottawa
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 14.5%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 1,974
> Median SAT score: 1035 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $42,254
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 706

Ottawa University is by far the most selective school in Kansas, with an acceptance rate of 14.5%. The next closest school, Sterling College, admits nearly 40% of its applicants. The private Baptist college also has a campus in Surprise, Arizona, and online classes available.

Kentucky: Berea College
> Location: Berea
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 30.3%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 1,966
> Median SAT score: 1122 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $35,394
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 1,630

Founded in 1855 and deeply rooted in Appalachian history and culture, Berea College was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. It is also tuition free, relying on endowment income, gifts, and financial aid. All students must work at least 10 hours a week in jobs on campus and in the community.

Source: Chris Graythen / Getty Images

Louisiana: Tulane University of Louisiana
> Location: New Orleans
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 12.9%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 42,185
> Median SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $69,517
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 7,920

Tulane University in New Orleans was founded as a medical college in 1834 to train doctors to treat diseases such as yellow fever, malaria, and smallpox that were ravaging the port city. Tropical medicine remains one of the degrees offered at Tulane, along with architecture, business, law, liberal arts, the sciences, engineering, and social work. Tulane University received over 42,000 applications for the 2019-2020 school year, among the most of any U.S. college. It admitted less than 13% of those applicants, making it Louisiana’s most exclusive school.

Source: Colby Mariam / Wikimedia Commons

Maine: Colby College
> Location: Waterville
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 9.7%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 13,584
> Median SAT score: 1430 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $68,582
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 2,000

Colby College, a private liberal arts institution founded in 1813, is located in Waterville, Maine, about 20 miles north of the state capital of Augusta. Like many other relatively selective schools, Colby College is quite expensive — the typical cost of attending the school is approximately $68,582.

Source: Cvenghaus / Wikimedia Commons

Maryland: Johns Hopkins University
> Location: Baltimore
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 11.2%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 31,139
> Median SAT score: 1505 out of 1600> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $69,863
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 5,567

Johns Hopkins University is one of the nation’s leading medical research schools and has served a vital role in tracking the spread of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. The Baltimore-based university ranks as Maryland’s most difficult college to get into, with its 1505 median SAT score ranking in the top 20 of all American universities.