The 10 Most Selective Colleges in the US

As we all know, one of the largest benchmarks of quality for a school is a high or low acceptance rate. Generally speaking, the lower the acceptance rate of a US college, the more prestigious the school is.

But how “prestigious” can some schools get? You would imagine that selecting one out of every eight candidates would be selective. That seems pretty selective. What about one out of ten, do you think that is selective as well?

What if I told you that there was a school that accepted one of out every sixty applicants; you would probably think that would be very, very selective. You may also be in disbelief.

Check out the top ten most selective colleges in the US below. If you think I missed any in my research, feel free to leave a comment.

In order to qualify for this list, a school must be an accredited US college and be one of the ten most selective schools. Some medical schools attached to large universities may be more selective than, say, the US Naval Academy, however we evaluate the selectivity of a school by its entirety, not by a specific department or school within the college.

So, without further ado, the top ten most selective colleges in the US:

10. United States Naval Academy (7.4%)

The four-year federal service academy ranks number 10 in the US for most selective colleges in the entire world. In order to get accepted, all applicants must both apply directly to the academy as well as be nominated to get in. Typically, nominations are produced by Members of Congress.

When you graduate, you become eligible to be a ensign or a lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Students/officers-in-training are not referred to by the normal designation of “students,” but rather, as midshipmen.

Unlike other schools, the students are required to be taught a curriculum that is heavy in moral conduct and ethical code. Such a departure from conventional education exists as the students will one day be leaders in various United States service positions.

An intriguing feature of this school is that it hosts two major conferences on Naval History. One is called the National Academy of Foreign Affairs Conference, the other being McMullen Naval History Symposium.

With such an active and attractive position in the naval landscape of the United States, students applying to this school should understand that only approximately 2 out of every 27 students get accepted.

9. Princeton University (7.4%)

What can you say about Princeton that you may not already know – along with two other Ivy League schools on this list, Princeton is among the ten most selective colleges, and for a reason. US News & World Report consistently lauds the academic landscape of Princeton, ranking it #1 in National Universities, #1 in Undergraduate Education, and in the top 10 for a number of engineering programs.

One thing that has made Princeton so selective is their approach to student loans and grants – over 60% of students receive large amounts of grant-based aid that they are not required to pay back. Although it appears that Princeton once got rid of loans completely in favor of grants, they now have the option for students to take out low-interest PPL loans (Princeton Parent Loan).

The school’s endowment is $21 billion, making it the wealthiest school in the world for its endowment/student ratio.

Thirty-seven Nobel Laureates have been associated with Princeton, as well as a number of Rhodes and Fulbright Scholars. Indeed, with such a history as Princeton, it is no surprise that the acceptance rate is incredibly low.

8. Yale University (6.9%)

Yale is among the world’s most distinguished universities, and as such its collective institution is among the ten most selective in the entire world. At just 6.9% acceptance rate, nearly 14 out of every 15 students do not get accepted to this school.

If you don’t think you need tremendous standardized test scores and grades to get into Yale, you have to think again. The average ACT score for a student getting into Yale is between 31-35, according to If you don’t know, the highest actual score you can get on the ACT is 36(!). The average SAT score per section is between 710-800, out of 800.

But if you are one of the lucky 1 out of 15 students are who able to get accepted into one of the world’s most prestigious schools, then why wouldn’t you take up the opportunity to go. The academic and social life at Yale is famous; the graduate of music is among the most lauded conservatories in the entire world. The law school at Yale is consistently ranked among the very best law schools in the entire world.

What Yale has in its holdings would take lifetimes to go through. Indeed, the Yale Art Gallery is among the most renowned university art gallery collections in the entire world. The university’s library holds more than 15 million books, making it among the largest collections in the entire world.

US News & World Report ranks Yale as the 3rd Best University in the entire world. So, if you want to go here, I’d suggest brushing up on your studies. Now.

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