The goals are aligned, for both undergraduate applicants who care about their schooling in business studies, and business schools who want to snatch the best candidates from the sea of applications that make it into their admissions rack. Both want to covet the best.
Perhaps that is why students spend months researching their options, all things financing etcetera considered, and schools play Captain Selective when sending out admission offers. Hence the gap in application and offers that give rise to acceptance rates.
What is an Acceptance Rate?
Succinctly put, it is the ratio of the number of admission offers offered to the number of applications received by the university.
Students often use this acceptance rate as a measure of how selective, or rather, how exclusive the university is. In other words, it is the university version of playing hard to get.
What do Acceptance Rates represent?
In the recent past, American colleges have been dropping their acceptance rates faster than before. Nearly 250,000 applicants compete for mere 23,000 spots in the Ivy Leagues. That is less than 10% acceptance combined.
For instance, the rate at University of Pennsylvania has gone down from 47% in 1991 to a little over 12% in 2016.
On the other hand, international student population has exploded since 2007 (by 22.3%) and the number of American college ready students is over 3 million, while class sizes have remained more or less consistent.
What does this mean? With colleges being that selective and more and more students fighting for a nod, a larger pool of well-deserving candidates are being left with less than their dream choice of college.
Does a low acceptance rate always imply exclusivity? No. Simply because it doesn’t tell you the whole story. A high rate may still deliver few offers if the number of applications are low to begin with.
Really what one should consider is the total number of applicants one has to compete with. If there is very high demand, even a low rate will still lead to a large number of offers. Whereas, a high acceptance rate in a college which receives only a few applications can only serve up so many offers.
Also, selectivity only tells us part of the story. What really determines the exclusivity of a college is a combination of the acceptance rate and the yield. So, even if a college accepts only 10% of the students who applied, and yet the final number of enrolment is only 20%, it may indicate that students with offers chose above that institute.
And finally, selectivity is also highly associated to the brand reputation of the university. Fame brings in high demand and schools like the Ivy Leagues can then afford to sieve through the piles for the most stellar candidates.
What’s important to keep in mind is that there are equally good undergraduate programs with resources to provide quality education to a larger student body.
Thus, instead of judging a school by its acceptance rate, it is crucial to take a wholesome approach to evaluating a school for college applications.
Business Undergraduate Acceptance Rates
Many students who have a well-conceived plan for their future career often decide to embark on its training early. Business, a professional field which usually finds followers with some years of work experience, does get its fair share of early birds in their undergrad.
Business degrees, and studies aligned with business such as Economics, Accounting, Supply Chain, Bachelors in Business Administration, are gaining popularity among high-school students who wish to either start their own ventures or get entry level jobs in various organizations. Read Best Undergraduate Degrees for Business
Popular business schools are thus tapping on this vast student pool to establish credible undergraduate business degrees or courses.
Unlike MBA though, where students dialogue directly with the corresponding business school in the university, undergraduate students are usually selected under a common admission process.
Therefore, acceptance rates are usually defined by the entire undergraduate selection body rather than the respective departments. It is because specializations and majors are generally selected after admission, in the first few semesters.
In this article, we have taken some of the top business schools for undergraduates, according to the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education, and sorted them in an increasing order of their acceptance rates.
We have collated the acceptance rates for business schools at the undergraduate level, wherever available. Else, all acceptance rates represent the selectivity among entire undergraduate application.
Acceptance Rates for Undergraduate Business degrees
|Cornell University||3% at Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management|
|Harvard University||6.7% Harvard Economics|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||6.7%|
|University of Pennsylvania||7.1% Wharton Business School|
|University of Chicago||7.3%|
|Johns Hopkins University||10.0%|
|Carnegie Mellon University||12% Tepper School of Business|
|University of Michigan, Ann Arbor||12%|
|University of Washington at St. Louis||14.0%|
|University of California, Los Angeles||14%|
|Emory University||18.0% Goizueta Business School|
|University of Notre Dame||19.0% Mendoza College of Business|
Schools outside of the US are also known to be highly selective. For instance, ESSEC’s BBA program is known to admit only 4.2%, which makes its 180+ class strength.
How to apply to an undergraduate business program with low acceptance rate?
As mentioned before, the picture of admissions is quite incomplete without considering all the details that make a program desirable.
Acceptance rate, yield, or enrolment, aside, students should also look at the placement statistics, alumni record, tuition costs, financial aid, and reputation of a school or the business department they are interested in.
Finally, students are advised against tunnelling their choice of undergraduate college to one or two highly selective colleges.
The best strategy to go about college applications is to understand the class profile of admitted students – where were they placed in high school percentile of performance, what was their GPA, what kind of SAT scores did they have, and such.
Consequently, you can evaluate your own reach, with regards to your GPA, SAT, essays, recommendations, etcetera in the context of the previous information.
Although what exactly plays a role in admission is never clear, given the holistic nature of most college applications, you can increase your chances of an admission offer by spreading your applications across a broad bandwidth of colleges from low to high acceptance rates.
Good luck and read our blogs for more information on undergraduate and graduate applications. For college admissions consulting help, drop us a line at info[at]mbacrystalball[dot]com.
Here are some articles that may help you along in your research.
- University Ranking: Top universities in the world
- How to get into the top universities in the world for your undergraduate degree?
- Undergraduate College Admissions FAQs: Q&A with University of Pennsylvania faculty
- Common Application for undergraduate admissions
- Undergraduate Business Schools with the highest starting salaries
- Selectivity rate at the top business schools for MBA, around the world
- Undergraduate Business School with the best Placement
- Best Undergraduate Business Schools for Finance, Accounting, Investment Banking (Wall Street), Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Consulting