What is an Acceptance Rate?

6 minute read
Acceptance Rate: Meaning and Average Admittance Rate for Colleges

You have probably heard discussions about college acceptance rates from professors, counsellors, admissions officers, and other students throughout the college application process. But what exactly are college acceptance rates, and how should you assess them when you narrow down your list of potential colleges? In this blog, we will let you know about the meaning and importance of acceptance rates. 


The percentage of applicants a college accepts is known as its acceptance rate. It is computed by dividing the total number of applicants by the number of accepted students. 

For instance, College A’s acceptance rate is 5% if they receive 100,000 applications but only take 5,000 students. College B’s admittance rate is 50% if it receives 10,000 applications but only admits 5,000 students. Even though both schools ultimately admitted the same number of students, College A’s admittance rate was significantly higher than College B’s since College A got ten times as many applications.

What Does a “Good” Acceptance Rate Mean?

What is Acceptance Rate? - What does a good acceptance rate mean?

There isn’t a difference between good and bad admittance rates. Schools with low admission rates (less than 10%) are typically more selective, have high standards, or get thousands of applications for a limited number of openings.

But that in no way implies that institutions with greater admission rates are subpar! They might just have more space on their campuses to accommodate more freshmen or less stringent admission standards.

Also Read: Yonsei University Acceptance Rate for International Students

What is the Average Acceptance Rate for Colleges?

What is Acceptance Rate? - Average acceptance rates for colleges

The average rate of admittance to colleges, according to U.S. News, is 68%. Over half of U.S. universities have an admissions rate of 67% or higher, according to the Pew Research Center, even though the toughest colleges to get into have admittance rates of less than 10%.

What Does a Low Acceptance Rate Mean?

Low acceptance rates imply that universities do have very high standards of selection criteria in the admission process or that a large chunk of students is fighting for a few seats available in the university. However, a lower admittance rate does not necessarily imply a better college. Here is the reality, despite the hype around the admittance rate. It does not provide you with much information about the level of education you will obtain at a specific institution. It’s a gauge of its rarity, not necessarily of its value or quality.

List of Colleges with High Acceptance Rates

What is Acceptance Rate? - Colleges with high acceptance rate

Following is the list of colleges with high acceptance rates:

Universities Acceptance Rate
New York University  30%
University of California  30.2%
University of Michigan  26%
University of Roehampton  93.9%
Nottingham Trent University 88.9%
University of Brunswick  74%
Lakehead University  55%
University of Limerick 70%
Maynooth University 73%
La Trobe University 100%
James Cook University 79%

Must Read: Study in Colleges with High Acceptance Rates

Advantages of High-Acceptance Colleges

There are many advantages to attending institutions with high admission rates. The following are some noteworthy advantages:

  • Students who submit strong applications stand out from the competition and may be awarded financial aid or scholarships.
  • High-income families are more likely to get their children accepted into institutions with low acceptance rates.
  • The New York Times reports that universities with poor admission rates accept more applicants from the top 1% of the population than the rest.
  • High admittance rate and reasonable tuition are offered by several famous universities.

Also Read: Uppsala University Acceptance Rate

List of Colleges With the Lowest Acceptance Rates

What is the acceptance rate? - Colleges with low acceptance rate

Following is the list of colleges with the lowest acceptance rates: 

University Acceptance Rate
Harvard University 5%
Stanford University 5%
Princeton University 6%
Columbia University 6%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 7%
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) 7%
Duke University 8%
Brown University 8%
Yale University 7%
Alice Lloyd College (KY) 7%
University of Chicago 7%

Advantages of Low Acceptance Rate Colleges

The benefits of pursuing studies from low acceptance rate colleges are:

  • Prestigious Colleges: Only 5% of applications may be accepted by Ivy League colleges, compared to 50% at smaller colleges. The two most selective undergraduate colleges, Stanford University and Harvard University, may be extraordinarily difficult to admit students to outside the Ivy League. 1,410 universities were ranked in an annual survey, according to data given to U.S. News.
  • Powerful Networking: The graduates from these low acceptance rate universities are mostly noble laureates, academic award winners and renounced faces. The alumni networks of the Ivy League are regarded as being strong and friendly. You join an exclusive community of alumni after graduating and are also given a top-notch education. Keeping in touch with Ivy League alumni can have a big impact on your life and your future job.
  • World-class Resources: When you enrol in an Ivy League school, you have access to research and study materials created by the brightest minds. Ivy League professors are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about a variety of subjects. The university encourages and frequently requires these professors to research these subjects. These experts produce fresh ideas on subjects that students are already studying, giving them access to cutting-edge study materials.
  • Higher Starting Salary: According to a US Department of Education survey, graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $54,700 (INR 44 L) annually, while those with a master’s or higher earn an average of $65,000 (INR 53 L).

Which is Better – A Higher or Lower Admission Rate?

Although many prominent schools are also among the most competitive for admission, this does not imply that a school’s admission rate indicates how good or bad it is.

Consider admission rates at universities primarily as a tool. Use acceptance rates to ensure you have a good balance while constructing your college list; for instance, don’t solely submit applications to institutions with admission rates under 10%. Beyond this, you shouldn’t evaluate schools’ “goodness” by their college admission rates.

The majority of universities will ultimately offer top-notch educational options. The goal of the admissions process is to identify your areas of strength. Don’t let a higher acceptance percentage deter you from enrolling in an institution that may otherwise be a perfect fit!

Myth: Selectivity Means Quality

Over time, the idea that a low admission rate equates to a higher-quality education has gained ground. Because some of the most prestigious universities typically have lower admission rates, this is the case.

The truth is that the higher-profile universities only have lower admission rates because, in general, there are many more applicants than there are seats available in their programmes. It’s crucial to remember that even if they are extremely selective and require excellent test scores and grades from candidates, the requirements to get in don’t often reflect what you’ll gain out of the school or the time there.

Relevant Reads:

Northwestern University Acceptance Rate for International StudentsNorwich University of the Arts Acceptance Rate for International Students
Swinburne University of Technology Acceptance Rate for International StudentsFrankfurt University of Applied Sciences Acceptance Rate for International Students
Thompson Rivers University Acceptance Rate for International StudentsUniversity of Aberystwyth Acceptance Rate for International Students


Is 40% a good acceptance rate?

Competitive schools are those that accept between 20 and 40 percent of applications, yet are not overly selective.

What does it mean if the acceptance rate is high?

Simply described, it is the proportion of applicants who are accepted for a given year. The schools may not necessarily be more or less selective as a result. Rates can also indicate the number of candidates; the lower the acceptance rate, the more applications there are.

What does a 5% acceptance rate mean?

For instance, 2,500 students will have been admitted if a prestigious university accepts 5% of applicants but the school receives 50,000 applications. In comparison, if you apply to a school that only receives 5,000 applications and has a 50% acceptance rate, the school will only admit 2,500 of you.

The factors that affect university admission rates are numerous. They could be beneficial when you create your school list. But be careful not to read too much into these figures! No statistic ought to prevent you from enrolling in the institution that will best meet your needs.

Both the toughest to get into colleges and colleges with high acceptance rates are not necessarily the worst options. In the end, pay attention to whatever institution is the best fit for you, regardless of its admission rate. For more information connect with our Leverage Edu experts to know which college is fit for you. 

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