What Makes A College Selective ?

Of the approximately 3,500 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S., approximately 100 are considered highly selective. Selectivity is measured by the percentage of students who are admitted. The lower the percentage, the more selective the school is. These colleges will enroll approximately 100,000 of the roughly 3.25 million high school seniors this spring—or about 3 percent.

Here a few examples of highly selective colleges, with their 2016 admitted student profile:


There are also a number of schools that are extremely selective because they have specialized programs for a specific type of applicant. This category would include schools like Juilliard, which is focused on admitting students who demonstrate excellence in the performing arts. Student auditions are a key part of the application requirements at these schools. This group also includes military schools like West Point, where applicants must pass a fitness assessment, along with a nomination from their representative in the U.S. Congress or Senate.