A Poets&Quantsanalysis of acceptance rates at the top 50 U.S. schools reveals that en masse, the numbers are going up
- Applications at about 80% of schools are down, by a little or by a lot, meaning it looks likely that admissions offices are compensating by opening the gates a little wider.
- Of 49 schools that made their acceptance rate and related data available, 38 saw their application volume drop between 2017 and 2018, by an average of nearly 200 applications; included in the roster of schools with declines are nine of the top 10 schools.
- Only 10 schools saw app volume go up, by an average of just 68 apps.
- Acceptance rates seemed to respond, going up at 34 schools, including eight of the top 10 schools, while dropping at only 11 others. Among the schools that saw increases were Stanford, which again has the lowest acceptance rate at 6.3%.
- Serious MBA applicants should consider ‘acceptance rate’ when crafting their target list of schools. This is a proxy for the selectivity, prestige, and market demand of a given MBA program.
- A relatively low 6.3% acceptance rate at Stanford should not discourage an applicant whose GPA, GMAT, and resume are above the class average.
- Likewise, a relatively high 30% acceptance rate at Cornell Johnson should not encourage an applicant whose GPA, GMAT, and resume are clearly weaker than that school’s class average.
ONLY 4 SCHOOLS IN TOP 50 SEE DOUBLE-DIGIT RISE IN APPLICATIONS
- Of the 34 schools with increases in their acceptance rates, 25 saw them go up by 2 percentage points or more; seven saw double-digit increases, including an 18-point jump at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management, to 61% from 43%.
- Hardest hit: Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, where apps dropped by more than 30%, from 332 in 2017 to 231 last fall. Going back to 2016, when it had 453 applications, Krannert’s application volume has fallen by 49%.
- Thirty-eight schools saw their application volumes drop, at an average of 198 apps per school
The biggest declines in terms of the actual number
- 447 at Wharton
- 465 at Harvard
- 385 at Chicago Booth
- 490 at Yale SOM
- 508 applications at Texas-Austin’s McCombs School of Business
- 226 (27.8%) aat Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business
- 393 at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.
- 490 at Virginia’s Darden School of Business,