In this article, CollegeAdvisor. Theodore and Abbie, two admissions experts from com, explain college acceptance rates and explain how they affect the process of making a college list. Sign up to work one-on-one with an admissions coach for more advice on future planning and the college application process in general.
Acceptance Rates Basics – What Does “Acceptance Rate” Mean?
Simply put, a school’s acceptance rate is the proportion of applicants who are admitted; acceptance rates are significant in your college search process.
You divide the number of students accepted by the total number of applicants to determine acceptance rates. Here is the formula:
Acceptance rate is equal to 100 times the ratio of accepted students to all applicants.
For example, if a college receives 10,000 applications and accepts 2,000 students, the acceptance rate would be 20%
From school to school, acceptance rates for college vary significantly because of a variety of unique factors.
Factors that Influence Acceptance Rate
The first factor is the school’s own standards. Every school filters applicants based on various factors, including high school GPA, test scores, the quality of the essay, and more. In all of these areas, the most prestigious schools in the country typically have higher standards. In addition, they frequently have more applicants, which brings us to the second element: volume.
Assuming that the schools are the same size, a school with tens of thousands of applicants each year will have a lower acceptance rate than schools with only a few thousand applicants.
However, the size of schools varies greatly, so that is something else to consider. Colleges with the lowest acceptance rates are small, elite institutions with a large applicant pool. Large student bodies, low or average admissions standards, and comparatively few applicants characterize colleges with the highest acceptance rates.
Check out their profile on Cappex to see how many people are applying to the school you are interested in. Each of our college profiles includes information on the number of applicants, the number of acceptances, and the demographics of those accepted students.
With this information at your disposal, you can choose the colleges you want to include on your list more intelligently. We respond to some of your most frequent inquiries about college acceptance rates in the guide below.
Are “Admission Rate” and “Acceptance Rate” the Same Thing?
Yes, the acceptance rate and admission rate are interchangeable terms. Both of them refer to the proportion of applicants who are accepted (or admitted) into a particular college or university in a particular year.
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What’s a “Good” Acceptance Rate?
Although the concept of “prestige” was introduced in the introduction, it is a myth that a school with a low acceptance rate is prestigious. Here’s why:
It’s difficult to define what constitutes a good or bad acceptance rate.
Schools with low acceptance rates (less than 10 percent) are typically more selective, have high standards, or receive thousands of applications for a small number of openings. This may be advantageous if you want to enroll in a more demanding academic program or join a more competitive and elite student body.
As an alternative, a larger institution that is less selective and more likely to accept a wider range of applicants may have a higher acceptance rate. If you are a candidate with a lower GPA or test results, or if you want a more accommodating or less competitive academic environment, this can be excellent.
Your “right” acceptance rate will ultimately depend on your objectives and situation. It’s important to take a number of things into account, such as how well the academic program will suit your needs academically and professionally, whether financial aid is offered, and more.
What is the Average College Acceptance Rate?
According to Research.com, citing data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the average acceptance rate for first-time applicants in the United States in 2022 was 60.7%. But as weve mentioned, this number varies from year to year, especially when you adjust the criteria.
U.S. News & World Report shared that the average acceptance rate among all ranked colleges that reported their admissions statistics in 2021 was 70.1%.
Colleges with Highest Acceptance Rates
College acceptance rates can vary from year to year. States all over the country compete for the top schools when it comes to high acceptance rates. These institutions are not necessarily “safety” schools because factors like size, location, and academic emphasis can all contribute to high acceptance rates.
Take a look at some 2022-2023 colleges and universities with the nation’s highest acceptance rates (in no particular order), according to U.S. News & World Report data. These colleges all have a 100% acceptance rate.
- Academy of Art University
- Broward College
- Cameron University
- Florida Southwestern State College
- Lewis-Clark State College
- Montana State University – Billings
- New England College
- Pensacola State College
- Utah Valley University
- Wayne State College
Colleges with Lowest Acceptance Rates
College acceptance rates are not concrete, as we’ve stated numerous times in this guide so far. They fluctuate from year to year, sometimes varying greatly from one period to another.
That said, many colleges in the nation have held remarkably low acceptance rates for decades (even centuries). In most but not all cases, these are some of the most prestigious schools out there. According to U.S. News & World Report, the 2022-2023 colleges and universities with the lowest acceptance rates are here.
- Harvard University
- Yale University
- Princeton University
- Brown University
- Stanford University
- Columbia University
- University of Chicago
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- California Institute of Technology
- Pomona College
- Dartmouth College
- Juilliard School
Which Colleges Should I Apply To?
Choosing which colleges to apply to is a crucial choice that could have a big impact on your future. We advise taking into account your academic preferences and professional objectives, the campuses of each school, your financial situation, any potential financial aid, and potential extracurricular activities.
However, you should always include safety, reach, and match schools on your college list to increase your chances of enrolling in a school you love. You can be sure that you’ll attend a top college by including institutions with various acceptance rates.
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Find Your Acceptance Chances with Cappex!
You are now one step closer to making an informed list of colleges for your future after learning more information about acceptance rates. But don’t stop there.
To search for schools or to determine your chances of admission to any college or university, create a free Cappex account. Its easy with our comprehensive database and online tools.
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What does a 50% acceptance rate mean?
For example, if an elite university admits 5% of applicants, but the school receives 50,000 applications, that still means that 2,500 students have been accepted In contrast, if you apply to a school with a 50% acceptance rate, but that school only receives 5,000 applicants, the school admits 2,500
What is a good college acceptance rate?
It’s difficult to define what constitutes a good or bad acceptance rate. Schools with low acceptance rates (less than 10 percent) are typically more selective, have high standards, or receive thousands of applications for a small number of openings.
Is a 40% acceptance rate good?
College Admissions Profiles. Schools that accept between 20 and 40% of applicants are considered to be competitive%E2%80%93though not overwhelmingly selective
Is a 60 acceptance rate selective?
MODERATELY SELECTIVE colleges accept fewer than 60% of all applicants AND possess an average composite ACT (25%tile) score of at least 25 or an average combined SAT (25%tile) score of at least 1210 They include: Baylor University.