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What Makes a College Popular

ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 3303 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
What are the most popular colleges

Why are they popular?
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Replies to: What Makes a College Popular

  • lvvcsflvvcsf 2304 replies57 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2016
    It depends on how you define popular. If you mean school which received the most applications then UCLA would be the most popular in 2015. I believe they received about 112,000 applications. One reason would be that they are in a great area in the most populous state. If on the other hand if you mean which college has the highest yield (students who matriculate/students accepted) then I believe Harvard takes that crown because ..well they're Harvard.
    edited January 2016
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  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 3303 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think applications are a great way to judge popularity.

    Are there any resources that total applications for undergraduate, masters, professional and doctorate programs per university?

    That would be a quite interesting ranking.
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  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 3303 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @okon2122 where does US News list the total applications for undergrad, grad, professional and doctoral?
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  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 3303 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2016
    If Harvard was as popular as people make it to be, wouldn't they collect double the applications they do from around the world?

    Students vote with their applications each year. Not just for undergraduates but also for all types of graduate and professional degrees.

    Do successful sports teams influence popularity?

    Good weather?

    Opportunities to become doctors, lawyers, mbas and other desirable careers?

    How much is college popularity changing from generation to generation?
    edited January 2016
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2016
    Statistics for admission are readily available... I am sure many students who would love to attend Harvard choose to save the application fee because they know they won't be admitted. Of course we see many students out here who are intent on throwing that fee away because they have no chance. But some potential applicants are smart enough to know that they have no shot.

    And yes, of course successful sports teams affect the popularity. Duke is a perfect example.
    edited January 2016
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  • lostaccountlostaccount 5323 replies90 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited January 2016
    ClarinetDad16, no, they could be the most popular if "being the most popular" means that most students would accept an offer from that school if one were extended, but most student know not to apply because they don't stand a chance. The most telling may be to group schools by the credentials required-then seeing which command the most applicants. But then you have geographic preferences. A school in a populated state may garner more applications than one in a less populous state. But the one in the less populous state may garner far more applications than any other school in that non populous-state, etc.

    If you were to tell students they could attend any school they wanted without applying, I bet Harvard and Stanford would beat every other school.

    Finally, believe it or not, some schools still don't use the common ap. That means their applicants are self selected in a way not true for other schools. Having to complete an entirely different application is a major impediment for those who don't feel they stand a shot or who would have just added a check had they been able to apply using the common app.
    edited January 2016
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  • zobrowardzobroward 3741 replies193 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Do successful sports teams influence popularity?

    Good weather"

    yes and yes.


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  • palm715palm715 801 replies24 postsRegistered User Member
    Google "most popular colleges" and see how many entities want to you to click on a list based on their criteria, with a lot trying to quantify what has already been mentioned on this thread, 1) number who apply & 2) go to if accepted.

    As for the palm715 ohana, we are throwing out all previous colleges lists and now trying exclusively for "most right swiped Tinder" schools. Thanks for the heads-up on how to cut through the clutter.
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  • BrownParentBrownParent 12597 replies179 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    schools that are generous with financial aid are popular.

    Most colleges only publish undergraduate applications rec'd. They don't routinely publish grad and professional schools.
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  • Marakov29Marakov29 111 replies3 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    NYU seems to be every other person's dream school
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  • merc81merc81 10171 replies152 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    By one definition, popular schools can be considered to be those that kids want to go to because kids want to go to.
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  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 1203 replies9 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Most people feel that throwing away $70 to a school they know they won't be admitted to is a complete waste. If Harvard's app was free it would likely get many more applications, especially considering their essay is theoretically optional as I recall.
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  • Much2learnMuch2learn 4609 replies168 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Size is a plus (more seats available)
    Strong job placement
    Good facilities
    Popular programs (business, engineering)
    Decent dorms (a/c is a plus)
    Internship and co-op opportunities
    Graduate programs
    In or near a city
    Greek life
    Athletics
    Fewer application essays
    High graduation rates
    Research opportunities
    Brand recognition
    Prestige
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  • goldenbear2020goldenbear2020 891 replies17 postsRegistered User Member
    Factors that increase "popularity" to applicants:
    - Available on Common App
    - No Common App supplement
    - Test optional or flexible policy
    - Application fee waiver
    - Marketing campaign (especially mailings)
    - Need-blind and/or meets full financial need
    - Merit scholarships
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  • ClarinetDad16ClarinetDad16 3303 replies119 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Other perceived factors that kids like:
    - "hot" girls / guys
    - nice dorms
    - good food
    - nice gym
    - school spirit
    - easy to get to
    - weather
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  • tk21769tk21769 10623 replies27 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The median distance students go from home to college is less than 100 miles.
    In many states, the college that enrolls the most students is the public flagship or one of the "directional" state universities. By these measurements, the most "popular" colleges are big, local, relatively inexpensive colleges.

    Students at "top" private high schools presumably have above-average freedom of choice in selecting colleges. They have more money, they have higher test scores, and they probably get better guidance counseling than the average kid. Colleges that seem to capture relatively many matriculations from these high schools include the Ivies (all 8 of them), certain LACs (especially the NESCAC schools), Chicago, Duke, Georgetown, JHU, Michigan, MIT, Northwestern, NYU, Stanford, Tufts, USC, UC Berkeley, Vanderbilt, and WUSTL. Probably not coincidentally, these schools are highly ranked by US News.

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  • merc81merc81 10171 replies152 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Popularity can be somewhat tentative, as manifested by some comparisons with the use of published resources from earlier years:

    -- Wheaton College (MA) had higher SAT scores than Notheastern.

    -- Bryn Mawr had higher scores than Tufts.

    -- St. Lawrence had higher scores than Bowdoin.

    -- Reed had higher scores the University of Chicago.

    -- Oberlin had higher scores than Duke.

    -- Amherst had higher scores than Princeton.

    -- Trinity College (CT) had higher scores than UC-Berkeley.

    -- Connecticut College had higher scores than the University of Southern California.

    -- Colgate had higher scores than Vanderbilt.

    Some colleges may be out of fashion. Others may have substantively lost ground. Others may have held their own while simply being exceeded by colleges that have risen sharply.

    Btw, I realize that some CC readers may not find older data interesting or potentially relevant. This post was for those who do. Colleges on either side of the above comparisons were chosen for their notability, a positive recognition.

    (SAT scores do not indicate popularity by themselves, but are used here as a discrete metric that makes for convenient comparisons.)
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