This item has been updated.
Of all college statistics, the admission rate might be the most misleading. Which is saying something because there are other strong candidates for that title. Graduation rates, for instance.
The admission rate looks straightforward enough: Admission offers divided by applications. But what is an offer, and what is an application?
At the end of the recruiting cycle, a waiting list might be wholly converted to admission offers. Those don’t get included in the calculations in the initial flurry of news releases as colleges issue decisions.
Various colleges define applications in various ways. Some are quite strict about only counting apps that have all required elements in a file — essays, test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. Others essentially count anyone who starts the process and pays a fee.
Volume of applications can rise or fall based on whether a college asks for a supplemental essay, whether it just joined the Common Application or some other collective online portal, or whether the Common App itself changes its format.
It also matters a great deal how many applicants are accepted through binding early decision programs that require students to enroll if given an offer. A college might load up on ED admits and then deny admission to a huge number of regular-cycle applicants.
Bottom line: Admission rates are volatile from year to year, and comparing rates from one college to another is a precarious business.
Still, these rates are closely watched and impossible to ignore. Every student wants to know: What are my chances? Admission rates don’t really convey what the chances are for an individual applicant, but they usually reflect something about a college’s position in the hotly competitive market. So here is a sampling of rates for colleges and universities for students who applied to enter as freshmen in the fall for the Class of 2018. The figures combine all early and regular admission offers.
We’re expanding on a list we put together last week for the Ivy League. The first portion of this list is drawn from the top 20 schools on each of two sets of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, for liberal arts colleges and national universities. The second portion is comprised of selected schools in Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia (some of which are also in the top 20). We’ll update this file as we get more information.
One more caveat: All of this is preliminary. There will be many changes before and after the May 1 deadline for admitted students to decide which offer to accept.
Amherst College: 1,103 admission offers out of 8,468 applications, 13 percent.
Bowdoin College: 1,032 offers out of 6,935 apps, 15 percent.
Brown University: 2,619 offers out of 30,432 apps, 9 percent.
California Institute of Technology: 529 offers out of 6,524 apps, 8 percent.
Carleton College: 1,446 offers out of 6,293 apps, 23 percent.
Claremont McKenna College: 613 offers out of 6,043 apps, 10 percent.
Colgate University: 2,224 offers out of 8,713 apps, 26 percent.
Columbia University: 2,291 offers out of 32,967 apps, 7 percent.
Cornell University: 6,014 offers out of 43,041 apps, 14 percent.
Dartmouth College: 2,220 offers out of 19,296 apps, 12 percent.
Davidson College: 1,169 offers out of 5,558 apps, 21 percent.
Duke University: 3,499 offers out of 32,506 apps, 11 percent.
Emory University: 4,616 offers out of 17,797 apps, 26 percent.
Grinnell College: 1,626 offers out of 6,056 apps, 27 percent.
Hamilton College: 1,312 offers out of 5,071 apps, 26 percent.
Harvard University: 2,023 offers out of 34,295 apps, 6 percent.
Harvey Mudd College: 510 offers out of 3,678 apps, 14 percent. Note: Harvey Mudd’s figures are based on what it labels “actionable” applications, meaning those that are complete enough for the college to make a decision. Separately, it reports a higher figure for total apps. If that higher figure were used, its admission rate would be a percentage point lower.
Haverford College: no figures available yet.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology:1,419 offers out of 18,357 apps, 8 percent.
Middlebury College: 1,422 offers out of 8,196 apps, 17 percent.
Northwestern University: 4,349 offers out of 33,673 apps, 13 percent.
Pomona College: 938 offers out of 7,727 apps, 12 percent.
Princeton University: 1,939 offers out of 26,641 apps, 7 percent.
Rice University: 2,498 offers out of 17,720 apps, 14 percent.
Smith College: 1,802 offers out of 4,461 apps, 40 percent.
Stanford University: 2,138 offers out of 42,167 apps, 5 percent.
Swarthmore College: 930 offers out of 5,540 apps, 17 percent.
University of California at Berkeley: no figures available until April 18.
University of Chicago: 2,304 offers out of 27,503 apps, 8 percent.
University of Notre Dame: 3,720 offers out of 17,897 apps, 21 percent.
University of Pennsylvania: 3,583 offers out of 35,868 apps, 10 percent.
U.S. Military Academy: no figures available yet.
U.S. Naval Academy: no figures available yet.
Vanderbilt University: 3634 offers out of 29,490 apps, 12 percent.
Vassar College: 1,771 offers out of 7,784 apps, 23 percent.
Washington University in St. Louis: 5,002 offers out of 29,211 apps, 17 percent.
Wellesley College: 1,330 offers out of 4,710 apps, 28 percent.
Wesleyan University: 2,199 offers out of 9,477 apps, 23 percent.
Williams College: 1,150 offers out of 6,316 apps, 18 percent.
Yale University: 1,935 offers out of 30,932 apps, 6 percent.
From Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia
American University : 6,927 offers out of 15,127 apps, 46 percent.
Catholic University : no figures available yet.
College of William and Mary : 4,738 offers out of 14,545 apps, 33 percent.
George Mason University : no figures available yet.
Georgetown University : 3,232 admitted out of 19,501 apps, 17 percent.
Howard University : 4,867 offers out of 13,714 apps, 35 percent.
James Madison University : 14,675 offers out of 23,326 apps, 63 percent.
Johns Hopkins University : 3,586 offers out of 23,875 apps, 15 percent.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland : no figures available yet.
University of Maryland : 12,419 offers out of 26,228 apps, 47 percent. Note: another 3,829 were offered admission starting in the spring semester, a U-Md. initiative that is unusually broad compared to the practice of other schools.
University of Maryland Baltimore County : 5,808 offers out of 10,081 apps, 58 percent.
University of Virginia : 8,970 offers out of 31,042 apps, 29 percent.
Virginia Tech : 14,230 offers out of 20,897 apps, 68 percent.
Washington and Lee University : 1,062 offers out of 5,801 apps, 18 percent.