What is Acceptance Rate?

A college’s overall quality and prestige are determined in part by its selectivity, of which acceptance rate is the main indicator. To know more about this read this blog.

Posted by Akshay Nair P R on 10th May 2018

What is Acceptance Rate?

  • Acceptance rate is decided by the ratio of the number of students who are admitted to a university to the number of total candidates that applied to that term.

  • The acceptance rate is based on first-time, freshman students.

  • A lower acceptance rate is indicative of a college that's more selective and admits fewer students.

  • Colleges with lower acceptance rates will rank higher, and overall acceptance rate plays a significant role in College ranking. 

Factors influencing Acceptance Rate

Although one can never fully predict all of the factors that come into play in how a college determines who precisely to accept, when prepping for college applications, although GPA and SAT scores will definitely be a determining factor.

  • How does the acceptance rate percentage break down as compared to the whole number of students applying to your preferred school?

  • It’s also vital to see how you stack up against the average SAT and GPA of your required college.

  • Evaluate the acceptance percentage compared to actual enrollment for additional context.

  • Taking it a step additional, establish a lot of context around the acceptance rate proportion compared to the school’s tuition, fees, and financial aid.

  • Last but not least, compare every school’s acceptance rate percentage to that of other colleges. 


List of Colleges with High and Low Acceptance Rates

  • Low Acceptance Rates

Curtis Institute of Music 


Stanford University 


Harvard University 


Yale University 


Columbia University 


Alice Lloyd College 


Princeton University 


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 


United States Naval Academy 


College of the Ozarks 



  • High Acceptance Rates

Academy of Art University 


Bismarck State College 


Boston Architectural College 


City University of Seattle 


CUNY–College of Staten Island 


Dixie State University 


Granite State College 


Indian River State College 


Metropolitan State University 


Montana State University-Northern 




While an acceptance rate tells you one thing regarding how many students are vying for places at a particular college, on its own, it tells you very little regarding the standard of the education that you might receive once you’re there. Don’t be discouraged by the headlines concerning plummeting acceptance rates — they’re true for less than a handful of highly selective colleges. There are several alternative high-quality colleges out there, and the overall national acceptance rate is actually increasing, and by applying to 14-15 different colleges also increases your chance of acceptance.