10 Colleges That Get the Most Applications

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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


24, National Universities

University of California--San Diego


38, National Universities

St. John's University (NY)


147, National Universities

University of California--Berkeley


21, National Universities

California State University--Long Beach


28, Regional Universities (West)

University of California--Irvine


44, National Universities

University of California--Santa Barbara


41, National Universities

Drexel University (PA)


83, National Universities

University of California--Davis


38, National Universities

Pennsylvania State University--University Park


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.

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