By Chris Weller /
June 19, 2017
Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani India University

This story originally appeared on

Ivy League universities are notoriously hard to get into, but compared to the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), they might as well be open to everyone.

Located in Pilani, India, the flagship BITS campus boasts an acceptance rate of just 1.47%, according to 2012 data, which makes it the most exclusive university in the world.

Here's what it's all about.

Out of the more than 180,000 people that apply to BITS Pilani each year to be first-year undergrads — primarily in engineering and the sciences — only around 2,600 people get accepted.

The private university routinely ranks as one of the top schools in India and the premier one for engineering. In 2017, it placed third in Career360's ranking of Indian universities.

"BITS symbolizes the maturing of Indian technical ability and 'can-do' entrepreneurial spirit, especially as derived from the private sector," the school states on its website.

Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani India University

In many ways, the school runs like a typical university. Professors give lectures to roomfuls of students. But the students who gained admission managed to pass an incredibly hard entrance exam called BITSAT (BITS admission test) that spans chemistry, physics, logic, and math. Students must score 75% or above just to be considered.

This test forms the entire basis of a student's qualifications, as BITS defines itself as "merit only." Unlike liberal-arts universities, the college doesn't weigh extracurricular activities or students' potential for growth.

Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani India University

BITS Pilani offers multi-person "hostel" rooms to share. Some of the newer campuses offer single-person rooms.

The university hopes to expand to even more campuses within the next three years in order to accommodate the growing student demand. However, the Pilani location has no plans to raise its rock-bottom acceptance rate anytime soon.