It is not really so easy to get admission in a faraway country. The processes involved are very daunting and nerve-wracking. However, people still make it to the list at the end of the day. A University degree is the gateway to a better future and possibly the only avenue for a standard job in some developing countries.
For the universities we are going to list, you will require more than SAT/ACT test scores and 4.0 to get admission. Getting into these schools is very difficult and more competitive for just anyone to get through. There is a tougher candidate pool with only the top students getting admitted into the schools. Harvard is one of the toughest schools in America you can get into. It has ranked the hardest college to get into in America for the third time in a row. It is not just Harvard, there are others with similar conditions. If you are planning to apply for admission in any of them, you will have to fully get yourself prepared for the journey ahead. In our best way, we have compiled the top ten hardest schools to study abroad.
- Stanford University
Stanford University is frequently ranked as the best university in the world. The admission rate is quite low, compared to the number of admissions per year. As of 2018/19 academic year, the rate of admission is just 4.4%. Of late, the provost of the institution, Persis S. Drell, announced that it may stop publishing the admission rate in order not to dissuade prospective applicants from trying their luck. She pointed out that it would be a shame if talented students should opt not to apply because of the fear of rejection. Whichever way she tried to paint the situation, the truth remains that the acceptance figure is relatively low and does not have an outlook that says it is set to rise very soon.
- Harvard University
Harvard University is an Ivy League Research University that is situated in Massachusetts USA. It is not just the oldest university in the US, it is also one of the most famous universities in the world. It is no news that Noble Laureates and heads of states in the world are products of Harvard. There are several colleges and courses in the university with state-of-the-art infrastructure.
For one to find himself into the university as a student, it is not something that could easily come by. Over 43 000 candidates applied for admission for the 2019/20 academic year and not up to 2000 candidates were able to make it to the list. The acceptance rate was 4.5% against the previous academic year which was 4.7%.
- Princeton University
Princeton is an elite private Ivy League college with worldwide recognition for its quality. It is one of the oldest universities in America, established in 1746. Though the admission rate for the 2019/20 was 5.8% as against 5.5% of the previous year. However, this may not be unconnected to the fact that the application this year is lower than that of the previous year. Meanwhile, the school looks like it will open wider doors to accommodate more students.
- California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Caltech is among the United States premier technical institutes. The major focus of the university is on courses that are technical art and applied science related which makes it easier to attract scholars around the globe. The acceptance rate is about 7% with eggheads who ace the SAT and other competitive exams. The institute is the foundation of so many revolutionary projects in the world.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
The prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the dream school of every aspiring engineer. It was established as an applied science college, though of late, it has made provisions for students of management, science, linguistics, and economics. 85 Noble Laureates and other awardees have passed through this famous institution. The acceptance rate is around 7% with about 19 020 applicants and 1 511 seats accepted in 2015.
- Yale University
Founded in 1701, Yale University is one of the top ten universities in the world. It was also the first US university to award a PhD. More than 2000 courses are offered in this great citadel, though it is only popular for its Law and Medical courses.
Renowned diplomats and scientists have passed through Yale University. No wonder the admission process is very tough with different stages involved before one gets admission. Sadly, the acceptance rate is just 6%.
- London School of Economics and Political Science
This university is known for its popularity as a research university. Most of the courses studied in the university focus on social sciences. It has about 25 academic departments with leading graduates and world leaders in social sciences as the products.
Furthermore, the university boasts of representation in 155 countries and has the highest number of international students. The acceptance rate is 8.9%.
- University of Chicago (UChicago)
The University of Chicago is a very challenging university to get admission. It allows for students to work as they study. The curriculum focuses on courses with critical thinking as their core. In addition, the university offers different programmes for financing education which include scholarships and financial aids. It is important to note that need-based international students may not be admitted into the school. The acceptance rate is 7%.
- University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
The University of Pennsylvania is a research-based institution that encourages the students to be curious about the world. It was established in 1740 with a rich history being the first in setting up most educational faculties like the first School of Medicine and the first School of Business. The outstanding faculties give the students opportunities to experience another level of teaching. The programmes offered in this Ivy League school are inter-school dependent on healthy rivalry and curious-minded students. The acceptance rate is 8%.
- University of Oxford
The University of oxford is ranked first in the World University Ranking 2020. It is not just one of the Oldest universities in the English-speaking world, it is the second oldest surviving university. It comprises of 44 colleges with students numbering around 22 000. The university has an envious alumni network comprising 26 Nobel Laureate winners, Olympic medalists, UK Prime Ministers and other modern world leaders, including Bill Clinton. Oxford is blessed with several strengths, but prides more in science and recently, it ranked the highest in the world for medicine. It is also among the top ten universities worldwide for life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities.
The acceptance rate is considerably 17.5%.
Myth that Getting Admission Abroad is Very Difficult
One of the biggest misconceptions about studying abroad by international students is that it is very difficult to apply for universities abroad. It might be true to an extent and that is because you choose to focus on a particular set of schools. The above mentioned hardest universities to get into are just 1% of the total universities abroad. If you just focus on them alone, it is definitely going to be difficult gaining admission. Most media outlets and articles are not helping matters at all, as they keep stressing on the fact that it is very hard and only a few members of the Ivy League schools get thrown around as examples. This is simply giving a selective attention to schools that accept only a small portion of the applicants.
The truth is that the Ivy League schools and other top universities only rank 1% of the total universities abroad, with their acceptance rate being lower than 20%. What happened to the other 99%? Another set of universities are those that rank ‘top 200’ which accept between 25% and 50% of the applicants. These set of universities form just 10% of the universities abroad. This means that there are other 90% universities abroad and they accept more than half of the applicants.
It is my opinion that you could consider these other universities instead of focusing on the top hardest universities only. If you just focus on the small group, you are going to experience difficulties in gaining admission, but if otherwise, you are more likely to smile your way abroad.
Since there are more options with good quality standards of education, it will be great to consider them as well. This might help in debunking the myth that it is difficult to gain admission abroad. However, the choice is yours.
The Challenges of Studying in a Non-English Speaking Country
While there are big pluses studying in a non-English speaking country, there are also some unavoidable drawbacks. It is obvious that some of these countries accommodate English programmes which attract both international students and domestic students who wish to study in English. Well, for those who choose to study in these countries, here is what you need to know
- Classes in English in such countries may lack clarity. Some of the expert professors may not be able to impart properly in English. They may feel their only duty is to deliver the course, not minding whether the students understood the lectures or not. This could be quite challenging. You will need to search for the professor for each course online and find out their proficiency in English, whether they could deliver the course or not.
- You must have a basic understanding of the local language. Speaking the local language will help you to make a good impression on the people. It might take you time to be able to adapt to the local language, but since it is necessary, you will have to set some time aside and make efforts to learn it.
- You will experience a new culture. This could be an added advantage to you if you are someone who loves diverse cultures. If not, you might not be so comfortable mingling among people you barely understand. Furthermore, it leads to creative thinking, positive experiences, imagination and curiosity when you discover the uniqueness in other people’s culture.
While there are some challenges in learning in a non-English speaking country, there could also be opportunities for growth and wider experiences.
Also, for those who wish to apply for programmes in the top universities abroad, do not let the acceptance rate discourage you. Rather, be positive in your pursuit, do the needful and leave the rest for the university to decide.