20 Hardest Grad Schools To Get Into in US, Canada, Europe

The hardest grad schools to get generally refer to grad schools with the lowest acceptance rates.

There are many factors that cause the low acceptance rate of a university or college and one of them could be attributed to the fact the school receives more applications and as such, the more students they can reject.

This hard selective process determines a school’s acceptance rate, the more the school is ranked, its reputation gets bigger and the more difficult it becomes to secure admission into it.

In this article, we have compiled a list of the most selective grad schools to get into in the United States, Canada, and Europe at large, this should help you make a more informed decision.

What makes a school hard to get into?

We have explained earlier that college ranking and reputation can lead to a low acceptance rate of a university or college, however, there are other things that make a school hard to get into, some of them include;

Location:

The location of a school can really constitute its strictness in terms of admission, most of the hardest grad schools in the united states are located in California such as Stanford, California Institute of Technology, Pomona, etc.

Department/Major offered:

Some majors or programs are naturally more difficult to apply for to be compared to others, such as medicine.

Students applying for medical programs will need to do more than other students because the admission process is very selective.

Also check out: 28 Best & Hardest Medical Schools to Get Into With Key Facts

School Culture:

According to UCDS.org, school culture can affect the school because students and faculty members can form a friendly partnership or community, this friendship can become a major reason students will decide to attend a particular school.

Tuition costs:

According to Science Direct, tuition fees affects the enrollment of students into a university by 2.7 percent.

Ideally, if a school’s tuition fee is high, most students would not be able to afford it and won’t get entry.

Value of a degree from the institution:

One of the reasons students decide to study in the United States is because of the quality of education and the value of the degree.

For this reason, top-ranking schools will naturally be difficult to get into because of their value.

For your interest:

Although it is difficult to quantify what makes a school hard to get into without individualized comparisons between institutions, these factors listed above play a part too.

What are the hardest grad schools to get into the US?

Hardest Grad schools to get into

The table below shows some of the schools with the lowest acceptance rates in the United States, some were sourced from Forbes.

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Stanford University

Stanford University is one of the hardest grad schools to get into in the United States with a very low acceptance rate of 4.69%.

As a very selective school, it only accepts students based on academic excellence and student brilliance, students are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.96 to get a chance for selection.

Stanford University is currently the world’s leading research institute, occupying 8,180 acres and having a student enrollment of over 17,000 students.

It is widely known for its School of Engineering, ranking second on the U.S. News Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

Contact details:

Address: 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, United States.

Phone: +1 650-723-2300.

Harvard University

Founded in 1636, Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university established in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

It has been ranked #1 in the list of the best global universities according to a list from the academic review site US News.

Harvard is arguably the hardest grad school to get into in the world, intending students would need to perform at the highest level, and the minimum requires GPA is 4.18 and the school has a very low acceptance rate of 5.2%.

The type of students that are accepted by Harvard University is those who have earned top grades while in high school.

Contact details:

Address: Cambridge, MA, United States.

Phone: +1 617-495-1000.

California Institute of Technology

California Institute of Technology is known as one of the best science and engineering institutions in the world, it aims to expand human knowledge through intensive research.

Getting into the California Institute of Technology is quite competitive because of the school’s reputation, it is one of the hardest grad schools to get into in the USA.

The California Institute of Technology’s acceptance rate is as little as 6% and ranked as the 3rd best selective college in the US by Best Colleges.

Contact details:

Address: 1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91125, United States.

Phone: +1 626-395-6811.

Princeton University

Founded in 1746, Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey.

It is also one of the hardest schools to get into with a very low acceptance rate of 6.46%, students looking for admission to Princeton are required to have a minimum of 3.9GPA and a 1510 or above SAT score or 32 or above ACT score.

Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos, and former first lady Michelle Obama are both notable alumni of the school.

Contact details:

Address: Princeton, NJ 08544, United States.

Phone: +1 609-258-3000.

University of Chicago

Let us review the University of Chicago, this is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois with its main campus located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

The University of Chicago has a notoriously low acceptance rate of 6% along with Yale University and it has been listed as one of the most difficult schools to get into.

The University of Chicago is a very prestigious school and is ranked No. 3 on the list of the best law schools by U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges rankings in 2023.

Contact details:

Address: 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, United States.

Phone: +1 773-702-1234.

Yale University

A university with a long-standing history of excellence since 1701, Yale has made it onto the list of the hardest grad schools to get into for a variety of reasons.

It is a very prestigious school and has been ranked as the best law school according to US News.

With an acceptance rate of 6.27%, this privately-owned Ivy League school is one of the most selective grad institutions in the United States located in New Haven, Connecticut.

According to Turito, most students that got admitted to Yale University had a high GPA of 4.19, this does not also guarantee admission.

Contact details:

Address: New Haven, CT 06520, United States.

Phone: +1 203-432-4771.

Columbia University

Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia is one of the oldest privately owned Ivy league research institutions of higher learning in the state of New York.

As one of the most selective grad schools, students applying to Columbia University should have a minimum GPA of 4.12, if your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. 

Columbia University is also one of the best schools in the world, too prestigious that it has been ranked the fifth best in America’s Top Colleges by Forbes, it also has a very low acceptance rate of 5.2%.

Contact details:

Address: New York, NY 10027, United States.

Phone: +1 212-854-1754.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology or MIT was founded in 1861 and is located on the borders of Cambridge and Boston.

As a very prestigious university, it has been ranked as the best university in the world by Top Universities, and the school is known to have played a key role in the development of modern technology and science, it is widely known for engineering and physical sciences.

For your information, it is very difficult to get into this university, with a very low acceptance rate of 7.8%, MIT makes our list of the hardest grad schools to get into the US.

Contact details:

Address: 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States.

Phone: +1 617-253-1000.

Brown University

Founded in 1764, Brown University is one of the most prestigious and competitive universities in the United States.

Brown is a leading private Ivy League research university, home to world-renowned faculty, and also an innovative educational institution in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations

Brown is so hard to get into, it has a low acceptance rate of 7% which means only about seven persons get admitted out of 100 applications, students looking for admission should make a GPA of at least 4.08.

Brown University is known for strong science programs, especially in medicine, math, and computer sciences.

Contact details:

Address: Providence, RI 02912, United States.

Phone: +1 401-863-1000.

Pomona College

Established in 1887, Pomona College is a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California.

Pomona College is on our list of the hardest grad schools to get into in the United States because of its low acceptance rate of 7% which means for every 100 applications, only about 7 get accepted.

Although Pomona is a very selective institution, it is also a very prestigious school, it is known as the best college advocating environmental science according to EnvironmentalScience.org.

Contact details:

Address: 333 N College Way, Claremont, CA 91711, United States.

Phone: +1 909-621-8000

What are the Hardest grad schools to get into Canada?

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University of Calgary

University is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, originally, it started as the Calgary branch of the University of Alberta in 1944.

It is not easy to get into this school, the minimum required GPA is 3.30 and the school has an acceptance rate of about 14% which means that out of every 100 just about 14 students are selected.

International students are welcome to apply for admissions, the school really supports diversity and has been ranked in the 201-250th category internationally, and 8th nationally by the Times Higher Education 2022 rankings.

The University of Calgary is ranked as the eighth best school in the country and also one of the hardest grad schools to get into in Canada.

Contact details:

Address: 2500 University Dr NW, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada.

Phone: +1 403-220-5110.

University of Ottawa

Founded in 1848, the University of Ottawa is a well-known public research university in Ottawa, Ontario with its main campus located in the heart of Ottawa’s Downtown Core.

Students in this school can decide to speak either French or English language because the programs are taught in both languages.

The University of Ottawa is one of the hardest schools to get into in Canada with an acceptance rate of 13%, to get into this school, the student will need to thoroughly impress the admin with a 1080 SAT or a 22 ACT, and the minimum required GPA is 3.11.

If you wish to enroll in one of Canada’s best schools, the University of Ottawa is a very good choice, the school is ranked the 49th most prestigious school in the world by the QS World University Rankings for 2022.

Contact details:

Address: 75 Laurier Ave. E, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada.

Phone: +1 613-562-5700.

Carleton University

Carleton University is located in Ottawa, Ontario, and is an English-language public research university founded in 1942 as Carleton College.

The school is really prestigious, it has been ranked #601-650 in QS World University Rankings 2023.

Carleton University is also famous for journalism, and is also one of the most selective grad schools in Canada with an acceptance rate of about 21%, to get a chance for admission, score a high GPA, and SAT/ACT.

Contact details:

Address: 1125 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada.

Phone: +1 613-520-2600.

Hardest grad schools to get into the UK

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University of Bath

Founded in 1966, the University of Bath is a public research university located in Bath, Somerset, the United Kingdom famous for its excellence in teaching and research.

The University of Bath is also one of the hardest grad schools to get into in the United Kingdom with a very low acceptance rate ranging from 10-20% and UCAS points of 478, this means from every 100 applications, only about 10-20 are accepted.

It is, however, a very prestigious university to consider, University of Bath has been ranked 179 out of 1,422 universities around the world by the QS World University Rankings 2023.

Other than the academic excellence, another reason students choose Bath is because of the nightlife and a good standard of live entertainment.

Contact details:

Address: Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, United Kingdom.

Phone: +44 1225 388388.

University of Edinburgh

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, the University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s leading research universities.

Founded in 1583 by an act of the Scottish Parliament and is believed to be one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the hardest grad schools to get into in the UK with a very low acceptance rate of 10% according to Wikipedia.

Contact details:

Address: Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL, United Kingdom.

Phone: +44 131 650 1000.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Hardest Schools in California?

Stanford University is the hardest school in California, others include Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Duke University, and the University of Notre Dame.

What are the hardest grad schools to get into in Texas?

The most selective schools in Texas include; Rice University, Trinity University, Texas Wesleyan University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Dallas.

What are the hardest grad schools to get into in North Carolina?

The hardest grad school in North Carolina is Duke University at an 8% acceptance rate, Davidson College at 20%, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at 25%, Wake Forest University at 32%, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts at 36%.

What are the hardest grad schools to get into in Georgia?

The hardest grad school in Georgia is Emory University with a 19% acceptance rate, Georgia Institute of Technology at 21.3%, Point University at 35%, the University of Georgia at 47%, and Savannah State University at 46%.

What are the hardest grad schools to get into in New York?

The hardest grad school in New York is Columbia University with a 7% acceptance rate, Connell University with 11%, Barnard College with 14%, the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art at 18%, and United State Military Academy at West Point at 9%.

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Conclusion

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Besides that, we’ve put in a lot of time and effort to ensure that we offer the most accurate information possible.

However, please keep in mind that admission statistics and data are dynamic and can change at any time.

As such, we always recommend you confirm details with the school’s admissions office.

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