Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Maintenance will occur on the site beginning at 10:00 am PT tomorrow morning. While it is very unlikely, this may result in intermittent down time. Thank you in advance for your understanding!

List of highly selective colleges

greatone1greatone1 Registered User Posts: 122 Junior Member
edited December 2010 in College Search & Selection
What are highly selective colleges other than the ivy-league schools
I already know of Stanford, MIT, Berkely, Duke California Tech
What are other great colleges like these?
Also what makes them so selective, rather, what makes these ivy-league colleges and selective colleges better than normal state-public colleges?
I want to know that because i want to know why my education would be bettered at a highly selective school. It seems like a lot of people want to go to these colleges just because they are Ivy-league and in reality know nothing about what makes them so great and i want to know.

I'm new to the collegesearch game and am really searching for knowledge about one of the most important decisions in ones life. Sorry for the incessant questions thx for your help
Post edited by greatone1 on

Replies to: List of highly selective colleges

  • collegehelpcollegehelp Registered User Posts: 6,523 Senior Member
    Washington U St Louis
    Johns Hopkins
    U of Chicago
    Notre Dame
    Carnegie Mellon

    Liberal Arts Colleges:
    Claremont McKenna
    Washington and Lee

    What makes more selective colleges better?
    talent of fellow students
    fellow students are academically motivated
    talent of faculty
    quality of instruction
    level of instruction that challenges excellent students
    faculty-student mutual respect and interest
    professional maturity and accomplishments of faculty
    personal maturity of faculty
    resources and facilities
    academic climate
    mentoring/role models
    maturity and dedication of fellow students
    originality and sophistication of ideas that are presented/discussed
    opportunities for research and academic/professional experience
    advantages seekeng jobs and grad schools later
    professional contacts of faculty
    quality of academic advising
    special culture, tradition, history
    imparts a sense of pride and accomplishment
    prestige factor
    environment that imparts desire for excellence
    social consciousness/moral awareness/cultural growth
    fun and pleasures that are not malicious or self destructive
  • AlexandreAlexandre Super Moderator Posts: 24,123 Super Moderator
    To Collegehelp's list, I would add a few schools.

    Boston College
    Tufts University
    University of California-Berkeley
    University of California-Los Angeles
    University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
    University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
    University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
    University of Virginia
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • asdfTT123asdfTT123 Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    There's also Deep Springs College...but that's a whole other league...
  • quagmire123quagmire123 Registered User Posts: 271 Junior Member
    Harvey Mudd is excellent for math, science, and engineering and is pretty selective
  • Cre8tive1Cre8tive1 Registered User Posts: 1,342 Senior Member
    Julliard is the North Pole of selective schools and Deeps Springs is the South Pole, the big bottom belly.
  • asdfTT123asdfTT123 Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    Add Brandeis to the list...
  • chococookiechococookie Registered User Posts: 252 Junior Member
    Highly selective colleges are good for all the reasons collegehelp listed. However, the primary reason most people want to attend highly selective colleges is definitely the prestige factor; it will help in the job market. I agree, most people don't know anything about Ivy Leagues other than that they're prestigious, and it's pretty ridiculous. I think that's why a lot of colleges are making students write "Why ______ University?" essays these days.

    I want to emphasize that there are many amazing colleges that aren't highly selective. You can find a good network of intelligent, highly motivated students there. There's a thread discussing such schools, and everyone should check it out.
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    However, the primary reason most people want to attend highly selective colleges is definitely the prestige factor

    I don't necessarily agree with that. I think people aspire to selective institutions because they aspire to be like the peers they'd find there. And as Collegehelp notes, those peers tend to be talented, academically motivated, mature, dedicated, sophisticated, etc. And yes - they also tend to be accorded post-grad perks which include prestige and good jobs.

    By the way, Collegehelp, that's an excellent list of characteristics!
  • blbkblbk Registered User Posts: 135 Junior Member
    add USC
    University of Southern California
  • hawkettehawkette Registered User Posts: 4,863 Senior Member
    What constitutes “highly selective” is certainly up to the reader, but I doubt many objective observers would describe colleges with a 50%+ Admit Rate as “highly selective.”

    In the case of several of the publics you mention (U Illinois, U Wisconsin, U Michigan, U North Carolina), they may be “highly selective” for OOS students. However, IMO such a description would be a stretch for the bulk of the IS students who make up a great majority of the enrollment. The IS and overall Acceptance Rate for each of these is 50%+.

    As for the original question, I compared the USNWR Top 40 Nat’l Unis using the following formula:

    65% = Ranking by SAT 25/75 mid-point

    20% = Ranking % of Top 10% students

    15% = Acceptance Rate

    Below is how they ranked. I inserted gaps where there were marked scoring differences between groups.

    Rank , College , ( # of points )

    1 , Yale , ( 2 points )
    2 , Caltech , ( 3 points )
    2 , Princeton , ( 3 points )
    4 , Harvard , ( 4 points )
    5 , MIT , ( 5 points )

    6 , Columbia , ( 8 points )
    6 , Wash U , ( 8 points )
    8 , U Penn , ( 11 points )
    8 , Dartmouth , ( 11 points )
    8 , Stanford , ( 11 points )
    11 , Brown , ( 12 points )
    11 , Duke , ( 12 points )
    13 , U Chicago , ( 13 points )
    14 , Northwestern , ( 14 points )

    15 , Rice , ( 17 points )
    15 , Georgetown , ( 17 points )
    17 , Tufts , ( 19 points )
    17 , Cornell , ( 19 points )
    19 , Vanderbilt , ( 20 points )
    19 , Emory , ( 20 points )
    19 , Notre Dame , ( 20 points )
    22 , UC BERKELEY , ( 21 points )
    23 , Johns Hopkins , ( 22 points )
    23 , USC , ( 22 points )

    25 , Brandeis , ( 26 points )
    26 , Carnegie Mellon , ( 27 points )
    26 , UCLA , ( 27 points )
    28 , Boston College , ( 28 points )
    28 , WILLIAM & MARY , ( 28 points )
    28 , NYU , ( 28 points )
    31 , U VIRGINIA , ( 29 points )
    31 , Lehigh , ( 29 points )
    31 , U MICHIGAN , ( 29 points )

    34 , UC SAN DIEGO , ( 31 points )
    35 , GEORGIA TECH , ( 33 points )
    35 , U Rochester , ( 33 points )
    37 , U N CAROLINA , ( 34 points )
    38 , Wake Forest , ( 35 points )
    39 , U ILLINOIS , ( 38 points )
    40 , U WISCONSIN , ( 39 points )
  • StitchInTimeStitchInTime Registered User Posts: 1,289 Senior Member
    Food for thought: Prestige Versus Education By Thomas Sowell:
    ...Stop and think: What is an academic institution's prestige based on?

    Academic prestige is based mostly on the research achievements of the faculty. Places like Harvard or Stanford have many professors who are among the leading experts in their respective fields, including some who have won Nobel Prizes.

    Good for them. But is it good for you, if you are a student at Prestige U.?

    Big-name professors are unlikely to be teaching you freshman English or introductory math. Some may not be teaching you anything at all, unless and until you go on to postgraduate study.

    In other words, the people who generated the prestige which attracted you to the college may be seen walking about the campus but are less likely to be seen standing in front of your classroom when you begin your college education.

    Lower level courses are usually left to be taught by junior faculty members or even graduate students.

    Yet these courses are often the foundation on which higher level courses are built.

    If you don't really master introductory calculus, physics or economics, you are unlikely to do well in higher level courses which presuppose that you already have a foundation on which they can build.

    By contrast, at a small college without the prestige of big-name research universities, the introductory courses which provide a foundation for higher courses are more likely to be taught by experienced professors who are teachers more so than researchers.

    Maybe that is why graduates of such colleges often go on to do better than the graduates of big-name research universities.

    You may never have heard of Harvey Mudd College but a higher percentage of its graduates go on to get Ph.D.s than do the graduates of Harvard, Yale, Stanford or M.I.T. So do the graduates of Grinnell, Reed, and various other small colleges.

    Of the chief executive officers of the 50 largest American corporations surveyed in 2006, only four had Ivy League degrees. Some — including Michael Dell of Dell computers and Bill Gates of Microsoft — had no degree at all.

    Apparently getting into Prestige U. is not the life or death thing that some students or their parents think it is.

    Unfortunately, prestige rankings are so hyped in the media — especially by U.S. News & World Report magazine — that many people think that is how to choose a college.

    What you really want is not the "best" college but the college that fits you best. For that, you need in-depth information, not statistical rankings. For such information, you could start looking up colleges in the 900-page guide, "Choosing the Right College." After that, campus visits would be in order.
  • morrismmmorrismm Registered User Posts: 3,499 Senior Member
    USNews has a list of the 100 most selective schools in the country. It has most of the expected, and some not so much. It also does not include some you would have expected.
  • michiganfallmichiganfall Registered User Posts: 685 Member
    Define Highly selective.
  • morrismmmorrismm Registered User Posts: 3,499 Senior Member
    I guess this my point. If you want a list--here it is. Is this list what you were trying to get at? Or was there a different agenda?
This discussion has been closed.