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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in Texas

Texas is home to some of the top colleges in the country. If you’re looking to study STEM, liberal arts, and many other specialties, chances are, you’ll find a strong program at one of the many institutions in the state.


Exactly which colleges in Texas are the most selective, though? We’ve rounded up the top schools in the state with the lowest acceptance rates. Keep reading to learn all about these prestigious schools.


Overview of Texas Automatic Admissions


Because high schools in Texas had been historically divided racially and economically, Texas House Bill 588 was passed in 1997 to increase diversity in college classes in the state. The bill requires public universities in Texas to admit students in the state who graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes, with the exception of the University of Texas at Austin, where students must be in the top 6% of their graduating high school class.


At some schools, students who graduate within the top 25%, or even 50%, will also be automatically admitted, provided they have certain SAT or ACT scores. 


That means that if you meet these requirements, some of the schools on this list won’t actually be that difficult for you to get into.


10 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in Texas


1. Rice University

Location: Houston

Acceptance rate: 9%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1470-1560 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,992


One of the most prestigious research universities in the United States, Rice was founded in 1912. Today, it’s particularly known for its focus on science and engineering — although it offers many different disciplines — as well as its small class sizes and emphasis on teaching and learning. Rice is also famous for its varsity athletics programs, particularly baseball.


2. Trinity University

Location: San Antonio

Acceptance rate: 29%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1290-1420 SAT, 29-32 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,477


Trinity University is a member of the Annapolis Group, which includes independent, liberal-arts focused institutions. This institution prioritizes critical thinking and leadership, and offers a broad range of majors across areas like business, science, fine arts, and engineering. More than 80% of students participate in research or internships as undergraduates. 


3. Texas Wesleyan University

Location: Fort Worth

Acceptance rate: 36%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 930-1100 SAT, 20-24 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,704


Consistently ranked as a top regional university by U.S. News and World Report, Texas Wesleyan is a Methodist-affiliated university with programs in diverse majors, including marketing, criminal justice, and computer science, and many pre-professional tracks. Along with academics, the school is also notable for its community outreach.


4. University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin

Acceptance rate: 38.5%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1170-1410 SAT, 27-33 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 40,804


UT Austin is the flagship university in the UT system and one of the largest universities in the country. The university offers more than 150 top-ranked undergraduate degree programs, with 18 schools and colleges, including the Cockrell School of Engineering, College of Fine Arts, and the College of Liberal Arts. UT is also a member of the Big 12 athletic conference.


5. University of Dallas 

Location: Irving

Acceptance rate: 39%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1120-1360 SAT, 23-29 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,471


A private Catholic university, the University of Dallas is a top-ranked regional university with three undergraduate schools: Constantin College of Liberal Arts, the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, and the School of Ministry. Study abroad is emphasized; according to the university, 80% of graduates from the class of 2010 participated in an international program.

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6. Baylor University 

Location: Waco

Acceptance rate: 45%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1210-1370 SAT, 26-32 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 14,188


The oldest continually-operating university in Texas, Baylor is a Baptist institution originally established in 1845. It’s known for its tight-knit, faith-based community, along with outstanding programs in science, business, and engineering. Baylor is also a member of the Big 12 Conference. 


7. LeTourneau University


Acceptance rate: 45.5%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1090-1320 SAT, 21-28 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 2,801


LeTourneau is an interdominational Christian-based institution that offers a wide range of programs in areas like aviation, biblical studies, business, criminal justice, engineering, liberal arts, psychology, and more. The school seeks to “integrate faith and work,” while helping students develop academic skills and serve their communities.


8. Texas Christian University

Location: Fort Worth

Acceptance rate: 47%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1150-1343 SAT, 26-30 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,445


The largest Christian-affiliated university, TCU welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds. The university offers plenty of extracurricular opportunities, including numerous religious, service, and Greek life organizations. It’s also a member of the Big 12 Conference. Popular majors include business, journalism, and psychology.


9. Southern Methodist University

Location: Dallas

Acceptance rate: 47%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1320-1450 SAT, 29-33 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,479


SMU is affiliated with the United Methodist Church, although its instruction is nonsectarian. It is a place to explore diverse areas, including business, communication, engineering, and social science, along with more than 100 additional majors. The university is home to many social organizations, including fraternities and sororities. In addition to its flagship campus, the institution also has a campus in Taos, New Mexico.


10. Southwestern University

Location: Georgetown

Acceptance rate: 49%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1150-1310 SAT, 23-29 ACT

Undergrad Enrollment: 1,430


Southwestern is a four-year college that is made up of three schools: the Brown College of Arts and Sciences, the Garey School of Natural Sciences, and the Sarofim School of Fine Arts. It is the oldest university in the state. With plenty of student groups, it accommodates a wide range of interests, from social activities to religious groups to Greek life.


Want to attend one of the most selective colleges in Texas? With CollegeVine’s free Admissions Calculator, you can find out if you have what it takes — and receive guidance on how to increase your chances of admission. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account to get a jumpstart on your college strategy.

Short Bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.