10 Colleges That Get the Most Applications

Katy Hopkins

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

More than 8.2 million applications were sent to U.S. colleges by prospective freshmen vying to enroll in fall 2011--many of which went to institutions in California.

[Find out how to apply to college for free.]

The University of California--Los Angeles received 61,564 applications from students hoping to enroll as full-time, first-time freshmen in fall 2011, the highest amount reported by 1,333 ranked colleges in a 2012 U.S. News survey--and much higher than the per-school average of 6,170 applications.

Of the 10 schools that received the most freshman applications in fall 2011--accounting for a half million total--seven are located in California. Other schools in the UC system, including the University of California--San Diego and the University of California--Berkeley, received more than 50,000 applications each, placing them on the top 10 list below. Another state school, California State University--Long Beach, received just a few hundred less: 49,767, the 5th highest total for fall 2011 admissions.

Two colleges in Pennsylvania drew among the highest numbers of applications as well. Drexel University in Philadelphia received 48,450, and Pennsylvania State University--University Park rounded out the top 10 below with a total of 45,502 applications from prospective full-time freshmen.

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These are the colleges that received the most applications from prospective full-time, first-time freshmen for fall 2011, according to school reports. Schools designated by U.S. News as Unranked, because they did not submit enough data for a numerical rank to be calculated, were not considered.

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

School (state) Applications received U.S. News rank and category
University of California--Los Angeles 61,564 24, National Universities
University of California--San Diego 53,448 38, National Universities
St. John's University (NY) 52,972 147, National Universities
University of California--Berkeley 52,966 21, National Universities
California State University--Long Beach 49,767 28, Regional Universities (West)
University of California--Irvine 49,287 44, National Universities
University of California--Santa Barbara 49,008 41, National Universities
Drexel University (PA) 48,450 83, National Universities
University of California--Davis 45,806 38, National Universities
Pennsylvania State University--University Park 45,502 46, National Universities

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2012 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 U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The application data above are correct as of Jan. 8, 2013.