Most Selective Colleges by State

Most Selective Colleges by State
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eCollegeFinder is back with another map, this time looking at the “Most Selective” Colleges in Each State or the school with the lowest acceptance rate in each state judged by data from the National Center for Education Statistics. We understand that there are many very selective schools in a state, for example Harvard and MIT are both in Massachusetts and incredibly selective. However, only one of those schools can be the “most selective” in that particular state for the sake of creating a map. We also understand that some of these schools may not be considered selective in the grand scheme of national schools, but in their state, they have the lowest acceptance rate. Finally, we understand that there are many different databases and websites with similar information, some of which might not match up with the NCES. To avoid confusion and eliminate any risk of conflicting data, we chose to use one singular source to ensure our data was consistent. We decided to choose a Government site, hosted by the U.S. Department of Education, because they had complete data across the board. Similar to the previous maps, we decided to only look at schools offering 4-year degrees with housing.

Check out our Previous Maps; Largest Universities by State, Highest Graduation Rates by State, and "Most Desirable" Colleges by State.

Check out our homepage to learn more about Online Colleges and continuing your education!

Top 10 Most Selective States

  • Pennsylvania – Curtis Institute of Music – 5%
  • Massachusetts – Harvard University – 6%
  • California – Stanford University – 6%
  • Connecticut – Yale University – 7%
  • Maryland – United States Naval Academy – 7%
  • New Jersey – Princeton University – 7%
  • New York – The Juilliard School – 7%
  • Illinois – University of Chicago – 9%
  • Rhode Island – Brown University – 9%
  • New Hampshire – Dartmouth University – 10%

State by State Breakdown

Alabama – Oakwood University

  • Location – Huntsville, Alabama
  • Acceptance Rate – 34%
  • Number of Applications Received – 2,728
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,966

Alaska – Alaska Pacific University

  • Location – Anchorage, Alaska
  • Acceptance Rate – 37%
  • Number of Applications Received – 494
  • Total Undergraduates - 439

Arizona – Grand Canyon University

  • Location – Phoenix, Arizona
  • Acceptance Rate – 55%
  • Number of Applications Received – 15,401
  • Total Undergraduates – 31,158

Arkansas – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

  • Location – Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  • Acceptance Rate – 28%
  • Number of Applications Received – 4,094
  • Total Undergraduates – 2,724

California – Stanford University

  • Location – Stanford, California
  • Acceptance Rate – 6%
  • Number of Applications Received – 38,828
  • Total Undergraduates – 7,063

Colorado – United States Air Force Academy

  • Location – USAFA, Colorado
  • Acceptance Rate – 15%
  • Number of Applications Received – 9,634
  • Total Undergraduates – 4,120

Connecticut – Yale University

  • Location – New Haven, Connecticut
  • Acceptance Rate – 7%
  • Number of Applications Received – 28,977
  • Total Undergraduates – 5,405

Delaware – Delaware State University

  • Location – Dover, Delaware
  • Acceptance Rate – 42%
  • Number of Applications Received – 8,884
  • Total Undergraduates – 3,877

Florida – Adventist University of Health Sciences

  • Location – Orlando, Florida
  • Acceptance Rate – 13%
  • Number of Applications Received – 2,110
  • Total Undergraduates – 2,576

Georgia – Albany State University

  • Location – Albany, Georgia
  • Acceptance Rate – 20%
  • Number of Applications Received – 8,250
  • Total Undergraduates – 3,803

Hawaii – Brigham Young University-Hawaii

  • Location – Laie, Hawaii
  • Acceptance Rate – 36%
  • Number of Applications Received – 2,664
  • Total Undergraduates – 3,166

Idaho – Northwest Nazarene University

  • Location – Nampa, Idaho
  • Acceptance Rate – 62%
  • Number of Applications Received – 1,227
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,477

Illinois – University of Chicago

  • Location – Chicago, Illinois
  • Acceptance Rate – 9%
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,304
  • Total Undergraduates – 5,618

Indiana – University of Notre Dame

  • Location – Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Acceptance Rate – 22%
  • Number of Applications Received – 17,647
  • Total Undergraduates – 8,475

Iowa – Grinnell College

  • Location – Grinnell, Iowa
  • Acceptance Rate – 35%
  • Number of Applications Received – 3,979
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,674

Kansas – Sterling College

  • Location – Sterling, Kansas
  • Acceptance Rate – 44%
  • Number of Applications Received – 883
  • Total Undergraduates - 653

Kentucky – Berea College

  • Location – Berea, Kentucky
  • Acceptance Rate – 34%
  • Number of Applications Received – 1,620
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,658

Louisiana – Tulane University

  • Location – New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Acceptance Rate – 26%
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,122
  • Total Undergraduates – 8,357

Maine – Bowdoin College

  • Location – Brunswick, Maine
  • Acceptance Rate – 15%
  • Number of Applications Received – 7,052
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,839

Maryland – United State Naval Academy

  • Location – Annapolis, Maryland
  • Acceptance Rate – 7%
  • Number of Applications Received – 19,146
  • Total Undergraduates – 4,536

Massachusetts – Harvard University

  • Location – Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Acceptance Rate – 6%
  • Number of Applications Received – 35,023
  • Total Undergraduates – 10,564

Michigan – University of Michigan

  • Location – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Acceptance Rate – 33%
  • Number of Applications Received – 46,813
  • Total Undergraduates – 27,979

Minnesota – Carleton College

  • Location – Northfield, Minnesota
  • Acceptance Rate – 21%
  • Number of Applications Received – 7,045
  • Total Undergraduates – 2,055

Mississippi – Rust College

  • Location – Holy Springs, Mississippi
  • Acceptance Rate – 14%
  • Number of Applications Received – 3,152
  • Total Undergraduates - 934

Missouri – College of the Ozarks

  • Location – Point Lookout, Missouri
  • Acceptance Rate – 13%
  • Number of Applications Received – 3,006
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,372

Montana – Carroll College

  • Location – Helena, Montana
  • Acceptance Rate – 53%
  • Number of Applications Received – 3,279
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,463

Nebraska – York College

  • Location – York, Nebraska
  • Acceptance Rate – 49%
  • Number of Applications Received – 546
  • Total Undergraduates - 472

Nevada – University of Nevada

  • Location – Reno, Nevada
  • Acceptance Rate – 84%
  • Number of Applications Received – 7,857
  • Total Undergraduates – 15,082

New Hampshire – Dartmouth College

  • Location – Hannover, New Hampshire
  • Acceptance Rate – 10%
  • Number of Applications Received – 23,110
  • Total Undergraduates – 4,193

New Jersey – Princeton University

  • Location – Princeton, New Jersey
  • Acceptance Rate – 7%
  • Number of Applications Received – 26,499
  • Total Undergraduates – 5,327

New Mexico – New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

  • Location – Socorro, New Mexico
  • Acceptance Rate – 41%
  • Number of Applications Received – 1,088
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,565

New York* – The Juilliard School

  • Location – New York, New York
  • Acceptance Rate – 7%
  • Number of Applications Received – 31,851
  • Total Undergraduates – 7,814

North Carolina – Duke University

  • Location – Durham, North Carolina
  • Acceptance Rate – 13%
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,374
  • Total Undergraduates – 6,655

North Dakota – Dickinson State University

  • Location – Dickinson, North Dakota
  • Acceptance Rate – 49%
  • Number of Applications Received – 417
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,837

Ohio – Oberlin College

  • Location – Oberlin, Ohio
  • Acceptance Rate – 30%
  • Number of Applications Received – 7,438
  • Total Undergraduates – 2,930

Oklahoma – University of Tulsa

  • Location – Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Acceptance Rate – 41%
  • Number of Applications Received – 7,304
  • Total Undergraduates – 3,160

Oregon – Corban University

  • Location – Salem, Oregon
  • Acceptance Rate – 32%
  • Number of Applications Received – 2,896
  • Total Undergraduates - 955

Pennsylvania – Curtis Institute of Music

  • Location – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Acceptance Rate – 5%
  • Number of Applications Received – 289
  • Total Undergraduates – 125

Rhode Island – Brown University

  • Location – Providence, Rhode Island
  • Acceptance Rate – 9%
  • Number of Applications Received – 28,919
  • Total Undergraduates – 6,435

South Carolina – Lander University

  • Location – Greenwood, South Carolina
  • Acceptance Rate – 42%
  • Number of Applications Received – 3,349
  • Total Undergraduates – 2,969

South Dakota – Presentation College

  • Location – Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Acceptance Rate – 66%
  • Number of Applications Received – 401
  • Total Undergraduates - 746

Tennessee – Vanderbilt University

  • Location – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Acceptance Rate – 13%
  • Number of Applications Received – 38,161
  • Total Undergraduates – 6,796

Texas – Rice University

  • Location – Houston, Texas
  • Acceptance Rate – 17%
  • Number of Applications Received – 15,415
  • Total Undergraduates – 3,848

Utah – Brigham Young University

  • Location – Provo, Utah
  • Acceptance Rate – 49%
  • Number of Applications Received – 11,423
  • Total Undergraduates – 31,060

Vermont – Middlebury College

  • Location – Middlebury, Vermont
  • Acceptance Rate – 17%
  • Number of Applications Received – 8,847
  • Total Undergraduates – 2,516

Virginia – Washington and Lee University

  • Location – Lexington, Virginia
  • Acceptance Rate – 18%
  • Number of Applications Received – 6,222
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,838

Washington – University of Washington

  • Location – Seattle, Washington
  • Acceptance Rate – 55%
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,199
  • Total Undergraduates - 29,475

West Virginia – Ohio Valley University

  • Location – Vienna, West Virginia
  • Acceptance Rate – 36%
  • Number of Applications Received – 904
  • Total Undergraduates - 436

Wisconsin – Mount Mary University

  • Location – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Acceptance Rate – 54%
  • Number of Applications Received – 478
  • Total Undergraduates – 1,054

Wyoming – University of Wyoming

  • Location – Laramie, Wyoming
  • Acceptance Rate – 96%
  • Number of Applications Received – 4,181
  • Total Undergraduates – 10,194

*Tied with Columbia University, we used the US News study as a tiebreaker.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics & US News

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