Special Report

The Hardest College to Get Into in Every State

More than ever before, education is crucial to getting ahead in a competitive, skills-based economy. And it’s not just a skills-based economy. With widening income inequality it looks more like a winner-takes-all economy. So to gain an advantage, students are competing for places in the best colleges. 

Those who plan to go to college want the best possible education, but they also want value for their money. With rising tuition costs and ballooning student debt, college is an investment decision too. Attending some colleges, like Ivy League schools, which are considered more prestigious than others can perhaps lead to higher incomes after graduation. (Here’s what it costs to attend America’s best private colleges.)

To determine the hardest colleges to get into by state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on admissions and the median combined math and critical  reading 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 these measures. 

Not surprisingly, the Ivy League schools are well represented among the hardest schools to get into in each state. 

Yale is the hardest school to get into in Connecticut, with an acceptance rate of just 6.5% and a median SAT score of 1515. Brown is the hardest school to get into in Rhode Island, with a 7.7% acceptance rate and 1505 SAT score.

However, Ivy League schools do not own the rankings. The hardest school to get into in Massachusetts is not Harvard but MIT, with an acceptance rate of 7.3% and a median SAT score of 1540. Similarly, California is home to famous schools such as Berkeley and Stanford, but CalTech is harder to get into. 

It is also important to remember that there are schools all across the country, some very well known and some not so well known, where students can get an excellent education. (This state has America’s best schools.)

Click here to see the hardest college to get into in every state
Click here to read our detailed methodology

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