10 Colleges That Received the Most Applications

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

Some undergraduate institutions attract an extraordinary number of applicants, and at those schools, college hopefuls may need to make a concerted effort to distinguish themselves from other candidates.

The University of California–Los Angeles was by far the most popular school among prospective college students who sought admission in fall 2019. More than 111,000 individuals competed for spots in UCLA’s freshman class, but only 12% were accepted.

[Read: How Many Colleges Should I Apply to?]

Among the 10 colleges that received the most applications in fall 2019, the average was 85,653. That number is far above the average of 8,889 applicants among the 1,219 ranked schools that provided this statistic to U.S. News in an annual survey.

Meanwhile, there are some colleges that saw numbers well below the average — including 10 that each received fewer than 250 applications.

[Read: A Complete Guide to the College Application Process.]

Nine of the 10 schools that received the most applications in fall 2019 are National Universities, schools that are often research-oriented and offer a wide range of college majors and master’s and doctoral degrees. The one exception is California State University–Long Beach, which is a Regional University, a school that provides a full range of undergraduate programs and some master’s programs but very few doctoral programs.

Eight of these 10 popular colleges among applicants are based in California, including six in the University of California system. The other two schools are in Pennsylvania and New York.

Below is a list of the 10 colleges with the most fall 2019 applicants. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School Number of applicants U.S. News rank and category
University of California–Los Angeles 111,322 20, National Universities
University of California–San Diego 99,133 35 (tie), National Universities
University of California–Irvine 95,568 35 (tie), National Universities
University of California–Santa Barbara 93,457 30 (tie), National Universities
University of California–Berkeley 87,398 22, National Universities
New York University 79,462 30 (tie), National Universities
University of California–Davis 77,152 39 (tie), National Universities
Pennsylvania State University–University Park 71,903 63 (tie), National Universities
California State University–Long Beach 71,297 14, Regional Universities (West)
San Diego State University 69,842 143 (tie), National Universities

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find admissions figures, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2020 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The application data above is correct as of Oct. 27, 2020.

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10 Colleges That Received the Most Applications originally appeared on usnews.com

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