Top 10 Colleges in the world that are hardest to get into

Top 10 Colleges in the world that are hardest to get into

The top 10 colleges in the world have a tougher candidate pool, with the top students applying; these include Harvard, Yale, London School of Economics among others.


The best college education experience in the world. (PBS)
The best college education experience in the world. (PBS)

College education is a privilege anywhere in the world and students across the world strive to get into the best colleges. A college degree provides a gateway to a bright future and in many countries it is the only way one can hope to get a good job. Especially in India and China with burgeoning population, recruiters and companies have only parameters of college degrees and college names to go based on, creating intense competition to get admission in the best colleges.

While the acceptance rate of a college is determined based on the applicants per seat, it is notable that it is not merely a number game. The top 10 colleges and best universities have a tougher candidate pool, with the top students applying; it also costs a lot more in terms of effort and money to apply to these institutions hence the number of applications may be lower than some Indian entrance exam applications. Here is a list of colleges internationally where securing an admission is a fight against the odds –

Harvard University


If the alumni of an institution create its reputation then surely Harvard beats all by producing 8 US Presidents, 130 Nobel Laureates and several Heads of States across the world and scholars! Harvard is an Ivy League Research University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

It has several colleges and courses along with amazing infrastructure making it the top most rated institutions this side of the Atlantic, the other being Oxford University in the UK.

This renowned university is also one of the toughest to get into; it has an acceptance rate of a staggering low 5.4%. Admission processes involve SOP, interview rounds and an exemplary resume.

California Institute of Technology


Caltech as the California Institute of Technology is known is one of United States premier technical institutes. Located in Pasadena, California, it is a relatively new university set up in 1891 and has laid the foundation of many revolutionary projects including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The university focuses on courses related to technical arts and applied sciences, attracting prodigies from across the world. The acceptance rate for the courses is a low 8% as could be seen in 2015 where 6,800 applicants applied for 235 seats. These applicants are usually top of their class and ace the SATs and other competitive exams.

Stanford University


Leland Stanford Junior University or Stanford University as it is popularly known is probably the biggest contributor to the world economy by way of supporting the Silicon Valley. It is known both for its arts as well as sciences courses and often is rated as the ‘dream college’ in the USA. Its alumni range from 30 living billionaires to 17 astronauts and 60 Nobel Laureates indicating the diverse academic pursuits.

The acceptance rate of the college is a ridiculously low 4.8%; in 2015 43,997 candidates competed over 2,114 seats making it probably the toughest college to get in!

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Every engineers’ dream is to study at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT as it known. The university set up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA was started purely as an applied science college however in recent time it has gained favour among students for sciences, economics, linguistics and management as well. It has produced 85 Nobel laureates and other awardees, especially entrepreneurs.

The acceptance rate is a low 7.9% in 2015 where 19,020 applicants competed for 1,511 seats. SAT and GRE scores run into the top 1 percentile for admissions.

Princeton University


Princeton University is one of the older American Universities, having started way back in 1746. Since it is an old university its focus is more spread across various courses of study and has exemplary courses in humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. It has alumni who are now in the US Senate and Congress, Supreme Court and have also won several notable awards.

The university has a very low acceptance rate of 6.5 %, making it very hard to get into as 29,303 students who applied in 2015 realised as they competed for only 1,911 seats.

Yale University


Yale University is one of the oldest universities in USA and one of the top ten in the world. Started in 1701, it was also the first university to award a PhD in the USA. While the university offers over 2,000 courses across various disciplines, this Ivy League institution is popular for its Law and Medical courses.

The coveted institution is alma mater for diplomats, scientists and scholars. It is also a tough school to get into with an acceptance rate of only 6.3%! The admissions process is rigorous and includes a series of stages from submitting forms, letters of recommendations, SOPs and even includes an interview process for graduate programs.

University of Pennsylvania


University of Pennsylvania or UPenn as it is known is also an Ivy League institution and one of the original colonial colleges having been formed in 1740. With a rich history of enabling educational firsts like setting up the first school of medicine (Perelman School of Medicine) and first school of business (Wharton School of Business), UPenn is also the Alma Mater to powerful alumni ranging from diplomats to CEOs.

It is no wonder that it is one of the toughest and most coveted schools to get into and has an acceptance rate of 9.4%!

London School of Economics and Political Science


London School of Economics is a public research university and is a leading university for the study of social sciences. Although the name suggests study of economics, there are 25 academic departments at the university and has produced thought leaders in social sciences and heads of states, leading to an influence in policy-making across the world.

It has students applying from across the world and has a representation of 155 countries in its student body and has the highest representation of international students. No wonder then that the acceptance rate is a low 8.9%.

Juilliard School


Juilliard School located in New York, USA, is the world’s best institution for the arts. The school trains students in drama, music and dance and offers Diploma, Bachelors and Masters Programs in all three of them. Actors like Viola Davis, Robin Williams, and Kevin Spacey are all alumni of the school.

Unlike other schools and universities, along with the traditional application process there is also an audition stage since the schools offers courses in the performing arts. The acceptance rate at the school is a meager 6%.

Indian Institutes of Technology


IITs are public educational institutions and currently there are 23 IITs in India. Many of these institutes, especially IIT Delhi and IIT Mumbai feature in the top schools in the world. They offer both undergraduate as well as graduate programs and offer courses in Engineering and Management as well as Physics, Maths and Chemistry.

They take in admissions through their common entrance test, JEE which is touted as one of the toughest entrance exams in the world. Over 11 lakh students compete for about 11,000 seats in all the IITs combined together which boggles even the best of statistics!

Apart from these colleges that are hardest to get into are also the Indian Institutes of Management which offers MBA courses and takes admissions through CAT, touted to be the higher educational equivalent of the JEE! There is also the National Defence Academy, the training academy for the defence services as well as the Indian Civil Services which are tough to get into!