Special Report

The Hardest College to Get Into in Every State

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Massachusetts: Harvard University
> Location: Cambridge
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 4.6%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 43,330
> Median SAT score: 1520 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $71,135
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 7,582

Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, founded in 1636. Iit has produced eight presidents, more than any university, as well as dozens of Nobel laureates, heads of state, and Pulitzer Prize winners. It has the largest academic library in the world. With a 1520 median SAT score and an acceptance rate below 5%, Harvard ranks as the second most difficult school to get into in the country, behind only CalTech.

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Michigan: University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
> Location: Ann Arbor
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 22.9%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 64,972
> Median SAT score: 1420 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $29,407
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 30,079

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is one of the largest colleges on this list, with more than 30,000 undergraduate students. Fewer than one in every four applicants were accepted for the 2019-2020 school year. The University of Michigan spends more on research than any other public university in the nation and ranks only behind Johns Hopkins University among all U.S. colleges in research expenditure.

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Minnesota: Carleton College
> Location: Northfield
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 19.1%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 7,324
> Median SAT score: 1440 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $68,835
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 2,046

Carleton College, located in Northfield, Minnesota, about 44 miles south of Minneapolis, is a small liberal arts private school that stresses interdisciplinary scholarship. The Carleton student community is described in the Princeton Review as tight knit and supportive. Among the notable alumni are Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Capehart and Melvin Laird, secretary of defense under President Richard Nixon.

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Mississippi: Mississippi College
> Location: Clinton
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 42.0%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 2,162
> Median SAT score: 1134 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $32,102
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 3,036

Mississippi College, located in Clinton, which is about 11 miles west of the state capital of Jackson, was founded in 1826 and is the oldest institution of higher learning in Mississippi. It is affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention, offering programs in the liberal arts and sciences, nursing, and business. The school’s stated vision is to be “recognized for academic excellence and commitment to the cause of Christ.”

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Missouri: Washington University in St Louis
> Location: Saint Louis
> Acceptance rate for 2019-2020: 13.9%
> Applicants for 2019-2020: 25,426
> Median SAT score: 1520 out of 1600
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $71,975
> Four-year undergraduate enrollment, fall 2018: 7,356

Washington University is the hardest college in Missouri to get into, and one of the 20 hardest to get into among all American colleges. Both its median SAT score of 1520 and median ACT score of 34 rank among the highest out of all U.S. colleges. Washington University has seven degree fields for students — arts and sciences, social sciences, engineering, business, visual arts, law, and medicine. The school’s graduates tend to be well off as the median earnings of students who are working and not enrolled six years after they enter the college is $56,600 — well above the median of most other colleges.