15 Colleges With Lowest Acceptance Rates

Knowing the acceptance rates of colleges is one of the important pieces of information you need to arm yourself with when making a list of colleges to apply for. The higher the acceptance rate the higher your chances of getting in and vice versa. In this article, you will find the colleges with the lowest acceptance rates to help facilitate your admission process.

There were certain secret strategies and tips I laid out in one of my previous articles here concerning increasing your chances of getting accepted into any college in the world. One of the strategies that stand out and I think is the most important in your college application journey is being true to yourself.

A certain school requires a GPA of 3.0 for applicants to apply but if you have a 2.8 GPA and still choose to apply just because of the “it won’t hurt to apply” mentality, that is just wrong and if you are thinking about doing that, terminate that idea this instant. It is stressful, a waste of time, and a waste of money to apply to a school where you know you do not meet the requirements.

You have to be true to yourself when applying for admission into college, it will save you all the time and money in the world and better help you direct all those energies to a much more suitable school. Check the requirements and mission of the school, if you are not the type of student they need, do not apply.

Now, the colleges with the lowest acceptance rates are also the most competitive. They are very hard to gain entry due to various factors and require the most competitive applicants to apply if you are not one, just make things easier for yourself and every one and don’t bother applying. It is all about being true to yourself, so if you are not a competitive applicant, it is pointless to apply.

How do I know I am a competitive student?

As a competitive student, you should possess exceptional academic excellence, be involved in extracurricular activities, be involved in your community, gain some experience relating to the program you are applying for and submit a great application. These are what make you a competitive student and a good fit for applying to prestigious colleges.

Before we get into the main topic, there are many articles we have written that you can find interesting, the post on strange college degrees and online colleges that pay you to attend. There is also a wide range of articles on free online courses, online colleges, and dental hygienist schools that you can find on our site.

If music is your calling, we have a host of articles on music schools and for those in the US dreaming to become student-athletes, NAIA schools are where you should be applying to.

colleges with lowest acceptance rates

Colleges With Lowest Acceptance Rates

Colleges with the lowest acceptance rates, from my findings, are prestigious higher institutions which include all the Ivy Leagues, Caltech, MIT, and many others. These institutions of higher learning are also recognized among the top world’s best and have global prestige in their academic degree offerings.

This, and many other factors, make them highly competitive to gain entry since many students want to partake in their world-class education.

This, therefore, makes these colleges highly competitive since a large number of students are applying. The schools, in turn, make their admission requirements and process tough, rigorous, and highly selective so that only the bests of the bests can make it through.

Also, these schools do not like to crowd their programs and try to maintain a low student-to-teacher/faculty ratio, therefore, make few seats available for every program and admit as little amount of students as possible. So, it is a large number of applicants fighting for a few available seats which makes it difficult to gain entry.

The table below highlights the list of colleges and their acceptance rates so that you can know whether to apply or not. I have also given brief details for some of the universities further below to learn more about any of the school that piques your interest.

This data is from the US News & World Reports, my research, and other sources across the World Wide Web. Enjoy!

Universities / Colleges Acceptance Rate (%)
Curtis Institute of Music 4
Stanford University 5
Harvard University 5
Columbia University 5
The Julliard School 5.9
Princeton University 6
Yale University 6.5
Caltech 7
Alice Lloyd College 7
The University of Chicago 7
Brown University 8
Duke University 8
Dartmouth College 8
Johns Hopkins University 9

These are the top colleges with the lowest admission rates and they are all in the US, which shows how hard it is to get into colleges in the US.

#1 Curtis Institute of Music

If you are looking to pursue a career in music then you should look into the Curtis Institute of Music. Although the 4% acceptance rate is the lowest and competition can be high but if you got what it takes, then you should apply and pursue your dreams as a musician. Another reason to further consider applying to Curtis is that all students are on scholarships regardless of their financial situation.

Curtis Institute of Music is a private conservatory located in Philadelphia and offers varieties of diplomas and programs in music including a diploma in performance, a bachelor’s in music, a master’s in music, and a professional studies certificate in opera. The calculated student-to-faculty ratio is 2:1.

#2 Stanford University

Mostly confused for an Ivy League, which it isn’t, Stanford University is a private research higher institution in Stanford, California. A school consistently ranked by the US News & World Report, Times Higher Education, QS World University Rankings, and the Princeton Reviews as one of the top best universities in the world.

With an acceptance rate of 5%, competition is highly competitive at Stanford due to its world-class academic offering in the areas of teaching and research. The student-to-faculty ratio is 5-to-1.

#3 Harvard University

The acceptance rate of Harvard is in a tie with Stanford, they are both world-class universities after all. As you may already know, Harvard University is one of the 8 Ivy League colleges and it is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Its acceptance rate of 5% makes it one of the colleges with the lowest acceptance rate and they admit the best out of the best applicants.

So, ensure you are meeting every requirement before applying here. According to the Us News & Reports, Harvard has a student-faculty ratio of 5:1 and the school has 76.3% of its classes with fewer than 20 students.

#4 The Julliard School

The Julliard School is one of the best music schools in the world and also one of the best music schools in New York. It is a private performing arts conservatory school located in NY with a competitive admission percentage of 5.9% according to BusinessInsider. The school offers courses in dance, drama, and music leading to diplomas, certificates, and degrees.

#5 Princeton University

Princeton University is also one of the private Ivy League universities like Harvard and has an admission rate of 6% which makes it a highly competitive school to apply for. It is a research university offering undergraduate and graduate courses in social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, humanities, business, and many more.

Two US presidents, 75 Nobel Laureates winners, 12 US Supreme Court Justices, and 215 Rhode Island Scholars were graduates of Princeton University which is one of the factors for its fierce competition. The student-faculty ratio is 5:1.

#6 Yale University

Yale is one of the private Ivy League universities located in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, and has an acceptance rate of 6.5% which makes it one of the colleges that admits the lowest number of students. Consistently ranked among the top universities in the US and the world as a whole, Yale has graduated 5 US presidents, 10 Founding Fathers, multiple Heads of State, governors, US supreme court justices, and Rhodes Scholars.

Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered at Yale University in health sciences, arts, social sciences, business, and many more. Fewer than 20 students are enrolled in each of the courses offered at Yale bringing the student-to-faculty ratio to 6:1.

#7 Alice Lloyd College

Alice Lloyd College is different from the other colleges on this list but it still shares among the colleges with the lowest acceptance rates at 7%. What makes Alice Lloyd College different is that it is a private work college, located in Pippa Passes, Kentucky, offering degrees and majors in biology, liberal arts, history, criminal justice, business administration, sociology, etc.

The student-to-faculty ratio at Alice Lloyd College is 20:1.

#8 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT is a popular option among high school students who want to pursue science and tech-focused degrees. It is a research university in Cambridge that has been playing a major role in the development of modern tech and science which ranks it among the top universities in the world.

MIT has graduated 41 astronauts, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshalls Scholars, and numerous heads of state. Admission is kept small to maintain the small student-to-faculty ratio of 3:1 which is the lowest on this list, so far.

#9 Duke University

Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina, and has an admission rate of 8% which makes the institution one of the colleges with the lowest acceptance rates. The university is consistently ranked among the best universities in the US and the World. Undergraduate admission is one of the most selective in the country with an overall acceptance rate of 5.7% for the class of 2025.

Duke has graduated just one US president and more than 10 living billionaires. The student-to-faculty ratio at Duke is 8:1.

#10 Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is one of the top universities in the US and the world. Its medical school is also recognized as the top best in the world which is the interest of many aspiring medical students. The university is organized into 10 colleges and faculties and has campuses in Maryland and Washington, DC with two international centers in Italy and China.

With an acceptance rate of 9%, Johns Hopkins is one of the hardest universities to get into in the US and the world as a whole. The student-faculty ratio here is 6:1.

These are details of some of the colleges with the lowest acceptance rates which should help you make better-informed decisions on which school to apply to. To learn more about the admission requirements and processes, visit the school website or contact the admissions offices of the respective school.