Southwest Assemblies of God No. 2
The toughest schools in Texas? U.S. News ratings put Rice on top, confuses therest
Can you judge a school by its acceptance rate? U.S. News has ranked universities across the country by how competitive admission is, and the programs on top might be surprising.
In addition to academic juggernauts like Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (all of which admit less than 10 percent of applicants), the most selective program in the country is the Curtis Institute of Music in Pennsylvania, which admits only one out of every 25 applicants. No. 2 is Kentucky's tiny, rural Alice Lloyd College, which despite an acceptance rate of 7 percent is categorized as a second-tier institution by U.S. News and World Report.
Other non-Ivies in high demand? New York's prestigious (and free) Cooper Union, the military academies and outliers like College of the Ozarks and Florida Memorial University — hey, it is in Miami.
Among Texas colleges, Rice University came out on top, accepting 21 percent of applicants to make it one of the 40 most selective programs in the country. Texas's only other school among the 100 most competitive nationwide is Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahatchie.
If that sounds weird, how about imagining The University of Houston—Victoria (40.85%) as harder to get into than either the University of Houston main campus or even the University of Texas.
SAGU, "a Bible-based institution for theological and professional studies," accepts about 30 percent of applicants to make it one of the toughest tickets in Texas. Other religious schools had similar low acceptance rates, including Hardin-Simmons University (34.74%), University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (37.41%) and Houston Baptist University (37.77%).
Among other Houston schools, Texas Southern University accepts just over 36 percent of applicants, the University of Houston lets in 70 percent, and the University of St. Thomas admits 80 percent. University of Texas and Texas A&M fell somewhere in the middle, with acceptance rates of 48 percent and 69 percent, respectively.
If that sounds weird, how about imagining The University of Houston—Victoria (40.85%) as harder to get into than either the University of Houston main campus or even the University of Texas. It's obvious that without taking into account other factors like the high school GPA and average SAT scores of admitted students, the rankings can give a skewed impression on their face.
These overall statistics also fail to take into account tougher admission in a single program — like the music school at Sam Houston State — or to an honors program like UT's Plan II. And admissions policies vary widely — out-of-state applicants to UT have a much tougher time, for example, while Rice allegedly favors students who are not from Texas to maintain geographic diversity.
Basically, if you're looking for a challenge, sign up for a marathon. If you're choosing a school, ignore the selectivity factor and look at the colleges that have programs and admission standards that match your strengths and interests.