Yale is a private research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Yale is best known as a member of the Ivy League, and it routinely attracts world-renowned educators and researchers. Beyond exceptional academics, Yale meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for their 5,964 students without any loans. The acceptance rate is 6.22%.
Vanderbilt is a private research university in Nashville, Tennessee. The school has serious southern vibes and was founded in 1873. It is home to many long standing traditions. It’s intense academically and socially, and people love the school. The music and food scene in Nashville are right at Vanderbilt student’s fingertips, and Greek life is huge. About 6,800 undergraduate students attend the school. The acceptance rate for the class of 2022 was 9.6%.
Princeton is a research university in Princeton, New Jersey. One of the best schools in the country and a member of the prestigious Ivy League, Princeton also prides itself on doing well by the 5,300 undergraduate students. Of recent graduates, 82% graduated debt-free. With exceptional academics and generous loan-free aid packages, it’s not surprising that is it hard to get into Princeton. The overall acceptance rate is only 5.5%. When broken down by GPA, students with a 4.0 have a significant advantage. Last year, 8.1% of applicants with a 4.0 GPA were accepted compared to less than 3% of applicants with a GPA below 3.8.
Harvard is a small, relatively unknown, liberal arts school “just outside of Boston.”
The University of Virginia is a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s a big school (campus is over 1,600 acres) with about 16,000 undergraduate students. The overall acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 24%. But when broken down, 36% of in-state students were granted admission and only 19% of non-Virginians got in.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is in, you guessed it, the beautiful town of Chapel Hill in the wonderful state of North Carolina. A public research university, UNC offers affordable in-state tuition, so if you are a North Carolinian already, it’s definitely worth a look. It isn’t an easy school to get into, though. Only about 24% of students who apply are invited to join the 19,000 strong undergraduate student body. If you go, you’ll join the likes of sports greats like Michael Jordan and Mia Hamm, and great-greats like doctor-turned-comedian Ken Jeong.
Cornell is a private research university that is a member of the prestigious Ivy League. Like Columbia, Harvard, and Yale, Cornell is in an urban setting. However, Ithaca, a medium-sized city in upstate New York, is a smaller and more low-key than New York City or Boston. This makes Cornell a great geographic fit for people who want to be surrounded by resources, but don’t want to be shoved on public transit. Cornell has 15,182 undergraduate students spread across a variety of colleges and is famous for their unique programs for an Ivy League institution. Cornell is the only school in the Ivy League to offer degrees in agriculture and hospitality. They boast 50 Nobel Laureates, and 23% of the students are international. The acceptance rate is 10.6%.
Amherst College is a pretty small college in Amherst, MA. It has 1,849 undergraduates and is a part of the 5-college consortium, enabling students to take classes at University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and Smith College in addition to Amherst. Amherst is known for having strong science programs and for fostering a particularly intense academic atmosphere. Their acceptance rate last year was 8%, making it the #2 most competitive liberal arts college. Its supplement can be a bit overwhelming with the number of options and sub-prompts, so we’re here to break it down for you.
Claremont McKenna is a private liberal arts school in Claremont, California. It is a very small school of only 1,318 students, but don’t let that put you off if you’re not enthusiastic about a tiny collegiate environment. Claremont McKenna is one of the five undergraduate schools that make up the Claremont Colleges, or the 5C’s. The other schools are Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, and Scripps. Instead of being limited to one school, students at the Claremont Colleges can take courses at any of the schools. Each of the schools has subjects that they are best known for, and Claremont McKenna is hugely respected for their emphasis on economics, finance, government, and international relations. So respected, that their acceptance rate has plummeted over the past few years. Today, it is 9%, making Claremont McKenna Ivy-adjacent when it comes to exclusivity.
The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with just over 10,000 undergraduate students. While all of the undergraduate programs are impressive, the school gets especially high praise in the fields of finance, business, and anthropology. Penn is also known for the Huntsman program, which has an acceptance rate so low that the school no longer reports it. The acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 7.4%.
Dartmouth College is a private liberal arts school and is a member of the prestigious Ivy League. It is in Hanover, New Hampshire, and there is a focus on providing an education that is in sync with the mountainous landscape. All of the programs at Dartmouth have this self-awareness. It grounds their offerings in the daily realities of being based in an area that, for many, is quite unruly and wild. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the school motto is Vox clamantis in deserto, or “a voice crying out in the wilderness.”
An acceptance to Columbia College, the undergraduate liberal arts college of Columbia University, is one of the most sought-after acceptances in the world. The small student-body is critical to maintaining a smaller-school feel smack dab in a big school in the heart of New York City, but it also means that there aren’t very many spaces open each year. Known for intense academics and a competitive environment that keeps students on their toes, Columbia is able to attract globally-renowned scholars as professors and visiting lecturers, granting students access to world leaders on almost any subject. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a lot of people want to get it, but only around 5% of students who apply to Columbia are accepted.
Boston University (BU) is a private university known for its long-standing reputation in research. Located along the Charles River near the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, its diverse variety of study abroad programs, scientific advancements, school spirit, and deep culture of BU Terrier pride—rooted from nationally awarded sports teams—are all highlights of the university.
Colgate University is a private liberal arts college in Hamilton, NY. Their small size, just under 3,000 undergraduate students, can be deceptive. They offer 56 majors, providing students with a wide breadth of academic options. An institutional commitment to sustainability guides all of their programs. In April 2019, Colgate became the first school of higher education in New York to reach carbon neutrality. They also have a community garden, an on-campus produce stand, and they prioritize locally-sourced food in the dining room. Looking off-campus, many students are involved in the Colgate Hunger Outreach Program, which works to address hunger locally. Last year, their acceptance rate is 22.6%.
It is almost impossible to get into Stanford. That may be frustrating if Stanford is your dream school. Stanford accepts so few applicants that they stopped publishing their acceptance rate after it dipped below 4.7%. Their application doesn’t make trying your luck easy, either. With 11 questions, it’s a bit of a beast. But if you are genuinely passionate about Stanford and have the scores and grades to match, we’re here to help.
Stanford is thought of as the best schools in the world. It’s so good that they decided that publishing their astonishingly low acceptance rate isn’t even worth it. The last acceptance rate that we have was for the Class of 2022, and it was a measly 4.7%. We feel confident in saying that it hasn’t gone up since. Are we saying this to try to discourage you from applying? No. But we do want you to be fully aware that you are vying to be one of four-in-a-hundred.
Brown University is located in Providence, RI. It’s a member of the Ivy League and has an undergraduate population of about 6,750. There are also numerous graduate schools, including a medical school. Brown has robust research opportunities, tends to foster a culture that values extroverts and those with immense school spirit, and is known for its open curriculum. It’s competitive--their acceptance rate last year was 7%. Students do not have to take any “core” classes and are asked to define their academic pursuits by their “concentration.” Students who seek flexibility, are self-determined, and are great at time management thrive there. The lack of structure isn’t for everyone, but those who love it, really, really love it. Their supplement is comprised of three short answer prompts. We break them each down below in an effort to demystify the supplement to one of the most sought-after undergraduate institutions in the country.
USC is a large school in Los Angeles, California with a rapidly declining acceptance rate. Our students (and students all over the world) love USC for its school spirit and excellent programs. Last year, it had an 11% acceptance rate. Fight on.
USC is a research university in Los Angeles, California. Last year, 66,000 people applied. For TKG clients, USC is one of our most applied to schools. It’s also the school that we receive the most emails about from blog readers. The acceptance rate for the class of 2023 was 11%.
Pomona College is a super small college near Los Angeles, CA. It’s a part of the Claremont Colleges, which consists of Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College (CMC), Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College. All of these schools are in Claremont, CA and share a somewhat collective campus spanning 1 square mile. These five undergraduate colleges are joined by two graduate institutions as well. Pomona is quite selective. They did not release their acceptance rate this year, but last year’s was 6.9% and we imagine that it was even lower. While they don’t have a totally open curriculum, their core requirements are flexible and can be satisfied across a broad range of departments so you can still take courses aligned with your interests. Let’s dive into their supplement.