Niche.com ranked Stanford University as the most selective university for 2022. With a 4% acceptance rate and a widespread, national appeal, it’s easy to see how the school earned the top spot for this metric. However, please take this ranking with the same ‘grain of salt’ you should take all rankings. Just because Stanford has a lower acceptance rate doesn’t mean it’s the best fit school for your particular needs and goals.
We would also like to point out that there are other US schools with lower acceptance rates. As a result of the pandemic, Hampshire College had a 2% acceptance rate this past year. (It’s widely expected to revert back to its historic range above 50%.) Additionally, the Curtis School of Music had an acceptance rate of 3.9% this past year. However, with all due respect to the school, its appeal is limited to its niche of serious musicians.
Finally, two schools with very low acceptance rates that have flown underneath the radar of many college applicants are Deep Springs College and Cooper Union. Deep Springs College is a very small college in the California desert. It is a 2-year school with free tuition. Students are required to transfer to a 4-year school after graduating and the list of schools these students transfer into is quite impressive.
Cooper Union was free until 2014 and they announced in 2018 that they will return to free tuition by 2028. Both of these small, niche colleges have had some years marked by extremely low acceptance rates. While both of these schools’ acceptance rates are currently higher than Stanford’s, our point is that this has not always been the case and we wish to implore you to carefully consider which schools are best fitted for your particular needs and cast a wide net while selecting your target list of colleges.