The 25 Hardest Colleges to Get Into In America

An aerial view of John Kennedy Street in the Harvard University area of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
An aerial view of John Kennedy Street in the Harvard University area of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Roman Babakin/iStock via Getty Images

The website Niche uses statistics and reviews to calculate the best of everything, from neighborhoods across America to the country's best places to work. Though the 2019 school year has only recently begun, the review site is already looking ahead to next year. Using data they received from the U.S. Department of Education and reports submitted by Niche users, Niche crunched the numbers to come up with a list of the hardest colleges to get accepted to in the U.S.

With an acceptance rate of just 5 percent and an SAT range of 1460 to 1590, it’s no surprise that Harvard University claimed the top spot on the list. On the opposite cost, second-placer Stanford University is nearly just as picky, with a 5 percent acceptance rate and an SAT range of 1390 to 1540.

Though Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute may be lesser known than MIT, Yale, or Princeton, with an acceptance rate of just 2 percent, the San Francisco-based school (which is part of the Claremont University Consortium) has the most competitive acceptance rate in the top 25—though they only have 500 undergrads. Even the 25th college on the list, Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, only accepts 15 percent of those who apply.

Niche's full list of schools is rather long (you can view it here), but these at the 25 hardest colleges to get into in America.

  1. Harvard University

  1. Stanford University

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  1. California Institute of Technology

  1. Yale University

  1. Princeton University

  1. University of Chicago

  1. Columbia University

  1. Brown University

  1. University of Pennsylvania

  1. Northwestern University

  1. Vanderbilt University

  1. Duke University

  1. Pomona College

  1. Dartmouth College

  1. Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute

  1. Johns Hopkins University

  1. Swarthmore College

  1. Rice University

  1. Cornell University

  1. Washington University in St. Louis

  1. Harvey Mudd College

  1. Claremont McKenna College

  1. Amherst College

  1. Williams College

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

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Instant Pot/Amazon

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Apple/Amazon

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Why You Shouldn’t 'Heat Up' Your Car's Engine In Cold Weather

iStock/borchee
iStock/borchee

When the inside of your car is no warmer than the frozen tundra outside, it’s easy to believe you need to let your engine “heat up” for a minute or two by idling in your driveway before driving away. The old adage goes that giving your engine time to reach its normal operating temperature is easier on your car than hitting the gas as soon as you turn the ignition on. One 2009 study showed that, on average, Americans believed a car's engine should be left to idle for nearly four minutes in subfreezing temperatures—but it turns out this behavior is not only bad for your wallet and the environment, but your car as well.

In 2016, Business Insider spoke with former drag racer Stephen Ciatti to get to the bottom of this widespread myth. Ciatti has a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has worked on combustion engines for nearly 30 years, so he knows a thing or two about how to best treat your car. And he says that idling your machine in the cold only leads to a shorter lifespan for your engine.

In older car models that relied on carburetors to run, frigid weather did pose a threat to engine performance. Gasoline is less likely to evaporate in colder temperatures, which would have led to carburetors failing to get the right mixture of air and fuel into the engine. This sometimes caused cars to stall out, and that's likely what led to the practice of heating up our vehicles in our driveways in the winter. But if you’re driving a car that was made in the past few decades, this is no longer something to stress over. Beginning in the 1980s, car companies began replacing carburetors with electronic fuel injection, which uses sensors to calculate the correct mixture of air and fuel to supply your engine with.

When temperatures dip below freezing, your engine is already aware of this and adjusts by introducing more gasoline into the fuel mix. By letting your car idle, you’re subjecting your engine to more gasoline-rich fuel than necessary, and this ends up stripping oil from your engine’s vital components.

"Gasoline is an outstanding solvent and it can actually wash oil off the [combustion chamber's] walls if you run it in those cold idle conditions for an extended period of time," Ciatti told Business Insider. He said this washing action can gradually "have a detrimental effect on the lubrication and life of things like piston rings and cylinder liners." So in the end, what you intend as gentle behavior toward your car’s engine could turn out to be the opposite.

Once your engine reaches a temperature of around 40 degrees it switches back to its regular fuel mixture, but idling doesn’t help it hit that point any faster. According to Ciatti, the fastest way to heat up an engine is to actually drive. But don’t take that as an excuse to go gunning down the driveway: Your engine will take between five and 15 minutes to reach a normal temperature from the moment you hit the gas. Until then, go easy on the pedal to avoid putting additional stress on your engine.

This article originally appeared in 2016.