Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Admissions Trends at Top Public Colleges

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert Posts: 2,921 Senior Member
"... Getting admitted to a top public college is becoming tougher, as applicant pools grow and average acceptance rates fall.

That's one finding of an analysis of data submitted by the top 10 highest-ranked public colleges and universities in the 2008 through 2018 editions of U.S. News' National Universities rankings.

Here are three admissions trends at the top 10 ranked public colleges. Calculations for some years included U.S. News data from more than 10 public schools due to rankings ties." ...


Replies to: Admissions Trends at Top Public Colleges

  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,351 Senior Member
    "It's really the race to prestige – prestige at a reasonable price," she says.

    Yes, I don't think its the ease of the application process that accounts for it being tougher to get into top public universities like Berkeley and UCLA.

    Once you have completed the Common App with all the supplementals, and figured out how to ask for your rec letters and uploaded abstracts and art supplements to Slide Room, and reconfig'd your resume for uploading, and figured out which universities don't take Common App, you're winded, and are trying to figure out if you really need/want to fill out more apps to UC colleges, and those who don't take CA, like MIT and Georgetown.

    The online app process has not made anything easier. The more reasonable explanation is that those who are competing for a top college are also looking for top colleges that are affordable. We need more like them.
  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 Registered User Posts: 1,012 Senior Member
    @preppedparent Well, the full menu of UCs are a pretty much a single click once you do the first one, so that for sure is easier.

    I'd guess the reasons are:
    Rise in importance of Rankings. Since USNews, in particular, splits rankings by National U and LAC, the "big college" ranking is the one most kids/parents look at. And internationally the WSJ/Times International rankings reward the top publics' big post-grad research depts. so internationally their reputation is very good. Also, internationally many countries have only a "public" University system so students don't differentiate.

    Price: The Cals, UCLA, UMich, UVa, UNC of the world are ranked up with or higher than many more expensive privates (even for OOS) So a kid from Oregon or China, if they don't expect need or merit money, pays 10k-15k less to go to ULCA or UNC than NYU or BC. (A full-pay OOS student picking #30 UNC over #32 BC saves 20k a year!) 30-80k over 4 years is real money for even upper middle-class families. And in state,of course, becomes very significant.

    Increasing population. CA, while the rate of growth has leveled off, is still growing. We added 6 million residents this century? Add increased international applicants and US pop growth overall also contibutes.

    The on-line app process has made it easier for international students. UCLAs 100k applications is due, in part, because of rising middle class in India + China etc., strong international rep and relative ease of applying. (UCLA, for instance, reports 47k CA res, 6k OOS and 4K international applicants in 2010, 59k CA res, 21k OOS, 17k Int. in 2016... CA apps are up marginally, OOS and Int exponentially...)

    BTW, this is why I argue UCs - esp UCB and UCLA should increase OOS tuition. Rep is higher than many more expensive privates and folks will pay for the name. There's really no reason UCB should be 10k a year cheaper than BU or Tulane. Even at 5k a year cheaper (UMich tuition) those schools would be over-subscribed.
  • altuvvzkaltuvvzk Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Yup, there's no doubt that UCB and UCLA have good reputations for out of state folks, but the flip side is that few quality applicants pay full price at BU and Tulane. Merit aid and other scholarships really lower the prices of those schools for top applicants. Sure, there are rich kids with so-so grades at all of them, but they're not what UCB or UCLA want. Okay, maybe they want the money. In that case I give up.
  • OldngrayOldngray Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    @CaliDad2020 I cosign with everything you just said. The UCLA campus is heavily marketed towards international students and with sports programs that play abroad, it only helps to increase the fame of our campus.
  • EngPIIEngPII Registered User Posts: 289 Junior Member
    China is a major contributor to applications for undergrad apps for sure. In the 90s, it was graduate students who received research assistantships in the technical fields, then hired with H1Bs to work for Microsoft, Intel, Dell. Fast forward to 2017 and 200M more people in the middle class, all the people I know in China are still on the bandwagon of sending their kids to the US and paying the full fare for undergraduate (or even many in boarding school/feeder high schools), along with 7-series or Lexus rides that are 50% cheaper than in China. Unfortunately, the two trends of a less welcoming American business environment for employment (H1Bs have been for years in drastic decline for BS students), and the inability to procure high paying jobs in China with their expensive American educations (slower and changing China industrial environment) will lead to a decline in China student applications.

    We are also looking like an unsafe country, with the Chinese press/WeChat trend of murders, shootings scaring off Chinese parents. This is now a defining factor on WeChat and with parents.

    Once the 350k Chinese apps start dropping off, we'll see a noticeable decline in the foreign applications at US universities.
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 18,405 Senior Member
    With the sudden jump in the number of application when UMich joined CommonApp, it is clear that is the main cause of the decrease in admission rate.
  • preppedparentpreppedparent Registered User Posts: 3,351 Senior Member
    I don't think its the Chinese pushing up the number of apps to top publics. In my students' circles, the China families don't think much of US public colleges and when admitted prefer a private school, even one of lesser rank, say NYU to Cal because they think "private" still means "better."
  • whatisyourquestwhatisyourquest Registered User Posts: 748 Member
    Are you referring to ethnic Chinese families now living in the US, or to international Chinese students? From everything that I've read, the latter still revere Berkeley and aren't interested in (say) Dartmouth or any of the LACs.
This discussion has been closed.