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25 American Colleges with the Toughest Admissions Standards

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Getting a degree from one of the following prestigious learning institutions guarantees you a greater chance of career success. Getting accepted, however, may not be easy! Here are 25 of the toughest American colleges to get into.

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John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Only 15 out of every 100 people who apply get into this competitive school. Started in 1876, this University was the first academic research facility in the United States.

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Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA
In 1959, this college celebrated its first graduating class of two students. Since then, it has grown to almost 800 undergraduates. Harvey Mudd boasts an acceptance rate of 14.3%.

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Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Cornell University had the largest starting class of any US university of its time in 1868. The school offered a progressive atmosphere by including women in higher education. Only 14.2% of applicants are accepted.

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Amherst College, Amherst, MA
A pioneer in educational diversity, Amherst College graduated its first African American student in 1826. With an acceptance rate of 13.8%, this institution prides itself on accepting any qualified candidate.

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Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
Established as a learning institution in 1873, Vanderbilt University has never officially prohibited women from enrolling. Today, the university’s student body is 53% female. Regardless of gender, only 13.1 out of every 100 applicants make the cut.

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Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Northwestern University opened in 1853 with ten students and 2 instructors. Currently, over 21,000 students participate in instruction on 3 campuses with 12 specialized schools. It has a 13.1% acceptance rate.

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Pitzer College, Claremont, CA
Pitzer was started in 1963 as a center for innovation in the liberal arts. Originally a women’s school, it became coed in 1970. Still a gathering place for artists and visionaries, Pitzer College accepts 13% of applicants.

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Pomona College Claremont, CA
This addition to the Claremont College collective opened its doors in 1887. Designed to mimic the education styles of the East Coast, this popular college has an acceptance rate of 12.2%.

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Franklin P. Olin College of Engineering
To address the need for more educated engineers in the United States, the Olin College of Engineering opened in 2000. With an acceptance rate of only 12%, this college only takes students with the most potential.

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Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
This unique institution was founded by a Native American from the Mohegan tribe and a Connecticut minister. It began educating Native American students in 1769. Nearly 250 years later, only 11.5% of those who apply get in.

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Duke University, Durham, NC
Ranked 8th in the list of Best National Universities, Duke began as a one-room schoolhouse in 1838. Now the university is so popular that it only accepts 11.4% of the applications it receives.

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Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA
Another member of the Claremont collective, this liberal arts school accepts 10.8% of its yearly applicants. It was established in 1946, and continues a tradition of excellence in economics, government, and public affairs.

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University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Based on the educational philosophies of Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania was American’s first university, and the first school sponsored by a state. Established in 1749, this university only accepts 10.4% of those who apply.

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United States Military Academy, West Point, NY
George Washington picked the location for the school at West Point due to its strategic location. This school continues its historic tradition of training future military and government leaders with an acceptance rate of 9.5%.

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University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
John D. Rockefeller and the American Baptist Education Society joined forces to found this establishment in 1890. The institution continues its commitment to gender equality with a competitive acceptance rate of 8.8%.

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California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Established in 1891, George Ellery Hale, an astronomer, joined the school’s board in 1907. His influence changed the educational focus to engineering and scientific research. As one of the top ten universities in the US, it accepts 8.8% of its applicants.

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Brown University, Providence, RI
Brown University revolutionized higher education by removing core requirements for undergraduates in 1970. Brown’s current acceptance rate is 8.7%.

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College of the Ozarks Point Lookout, MO
The state of Missouri established this as a 4-year high school for promising yet underprivileged youth in 1906. It started offering college instruction in 1956. The acceptance rate is 8.3%.

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United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
Created as the Naval School in 1845, this university was renamed the United States Naval Academy in 1850, when it began to receive Congressional funding. With an acceptance rate of 7.9%, less than 8 out of every 100 applicants is accepted.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
MIT was created in 1861 to provide educated engineers and scientists for the industrial boom in the United States. About 7.9% of applicants qualify for entry.

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Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Known as the College of New Jersey for the first 150 years of its existence, Princeton only accepts 7.4% of hopeful applicants.

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Alice Lloyd College, Pippa Passes, KY
Started in 1923 as a school to educate Appalachian locals as political and business leaders, this small country college takes 7.1% of those who apply each year.

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Columbia University, New York, NY
Founded in 1754, Columbia University is the oldest institute of higher learning in New York state. Seven out of every 100 students who apply will gain entry to this respected university.

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Yale University, New Haven, CT
Colonial clergyman founded this Ivy league school in 1701. It boasts an acceptance rate of 6.3%.

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Harvard University Cambridge MA
Only six out of every 100 applicants will have the honor of attending the second most exclusive school in the United States. It is the oldest university in the country with an establishment date of 1636.

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Stanford University, Stanford, CA
With an acceptance rate of 5.1%, only the best, brightest, and most well-connected can called Stanford home. Its graduates have gone on to technological success in companies like Google, Yahoo, and Hewlett-Packard.

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