10 Colleges That Receive the Most Applications

Three schools received more than 50,000 applications each from prospective students

By Ryan Lytle
Posted 2012

Colleges That Receive the Most Applications
Colleges That Receive the Most Applications

As the college-bound population grows and technology affords the convenience of applying to schools online—such as through the Common Application, which allows students to apply to more than 400 schools at once—the number of applications colleges and universities receive each year from prospective students continues to increase. While college counselors suggest students apply to five to eight schools, some students ultimately apply to more than 10 colleges.

Of the 1,311 schools that reported application data in an annual survey conducted by U.S. News, the average college received 5,948 applications for fall 2010 admissions—an increase of more than 400 applications from the year before.

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Among the schools that received the most applications, 32 schools received more than 30,000; 12 schools received more than 40,000; and three schools received more than 50,000 applications for fall 2010 admissions.

The 10 colleges that received the most applications averaged 48,849, which is more than eight times larger than the national average. Nearly all the schools topping the list—nine of the top 10—are National Universities. The other school in the top 10, California State University—Long Beach, a Regional University in the west, received 47,673 applications. Among the top 10 universities on this list, seven are in California.

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Schools that were designated by U.S. News as Unranked were not considered for this report. U.S. News did not calculate a numerical ranking for Unranked programs because the program did not meet certain criteria that U.S. News requires to be numerically ranked.

Below is a table of the 10 universities that received the most student applications for admissions for fall 2010, among all colleges and universities that reported application data to U.S. News.


School name (state)

Applications received

U.S. News rank & category

University of California—Los Angeles


25, National Universities

St. John's University (NY)


152, National Universities

University of California—Berkeley


21, National Universities

Drexel University (PA)


88, National Universities

University of California—San Diego


37, National Universities

California State University—Long Beach


26, Regional Universities (West)

University of California—Santa Barbara


42, National Universities

University of California—Irvine


45, National Universities

San Diego State University


164, National Universities

Tulane University (LA)


50, National Universities

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find admissions data, complete rankings, and much more.

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U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2011 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’s data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists have no influence over U.S. News’s rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools.

Originally posted on USNews.com on October 6, 2011

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