We recently reported on the 20 hardest colleges to get into in America, and big names like Harvard and Dartmouth dominated the list. But one school you might not have heard of also made the top 20.
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts, was No. 14 on the list.
The academic-review site Niche.com ranked the hardest-to-get-into colleges based on acceptance rates and SAT and ACT scores – with acceptance rates receiving a weighted average of 60% and ACT and SAT scores getting 40%.
While the Franklin W. Olin College might not be a household name, many impressive students want to go there.
Students in the 75th percentile at Franklin W. Olin had an SAT score of 2300 out of a possible 2400, according to the Niche data, based on information reported to the US Department of Education. The fall 2014 acceptance rate was just 12%, US News & World Report finds. The average GPA of incoming students is a 4.0, according to the Princeton Review.
There are a few good incentives for students to apply to this school of just 370 students. For starters, 100% of enrolled students get the merit-based Olin Tuition Scholarship of $21,750. Once students get in, they get instruction in small classes: More than 98% of classes have fewer than 50 students, and 51.2% have fewer than 20.
Six months out of college, the average Olin grad from 2012, 2013, and 2014 makes $78,074, according to the school.
A relatively new school, Olin was formed in 1997 with a $200 million gift from the F.W. Olin Foundation. At the time, it was the largest gift in US history to a higher-education institution, The New York Times reported in 1997.
The school aimed to teach engineering to undergrads in “new, interdisciplinary ways,” according to The Times.
A decade later, The New York Times Magazine wrote a profile that described Olin and explained why it attracts such exceptional students. The engineering college resembles a liberal-arts school in that students learn “how to learn,” The Times noted. It also focuses on humanities in addition to technical classes.
From The Times:
The notion of taking part in something new is part of the draw for incoming students. Alyssa Levitz could have gone just about anywhere after high school – her grades and scores were great, and her equally accomplished sisters were accepted at the University of Pennsylvania and Brown. She had visited 15 colleges, and they were starting to blur. But Levitz, who says she is as comfortable with math and science as with historical fiction, and who plays flute, piccolo and piano, found that Olin “just stood out.”
Years after The Times Magazine profile, Olin is still in high demand.