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American Universities Acceptance Rate – Ivy League & Below featured image

American Universities Acceptance Rate – Ivy League & Below Stats

Navigating the landscape of American higher education can be both an exciting and daunting journey for prospective students. At the center of this journey lies a crucial metric that can determine a student’s trajectory – American universities’ acceptance rate. 

American universities’ acceptance rate is a key indicator of two important aspects – competition and reputation. As a result, it also serves as a yardstick for aspiring students, guiding their application strategies and decisions. 

This blog will delve into the acceptance rates of American universities across the country – from the notoriously low Ivy League acceptance rates, to much higher  

What is acceptance rate?

Acceptance rate at a university or college is a metric used by educational institutions to indicate the percentage of applicants who are offered admission. It is calculated by dividing the number of accepted students by the total number of applicants, then multiplying the result by 100 to get a percentage. For example, if a university receives 10,000 applications and offers admission to 2,500 of those applicants, its acceptance rate is 25%. University acceptance rate is also known as admission rate. 

How does American universities’ acceptance rate impact application? 

University acceptance rate is an incredibly influential metric. While a lower acceptance rate can enhance a school’s desirability and lead to more applications, it also requires the school to manage its admissions strategy carefully to maintain its desired student profile and educational quality. Here are just some of the ways that American universities acceptance rate can influence the number of applications a school receives.

  • Perception of selectivity and prestige: Schools with lower acceptance rates are often perceived as more prestigious and selective. This can most clearly be seen in Ivy League acceptance rates. This perception can make such institutions more desirable to prospective students, who may view admission as a badge of honor or a marker of academic and personal achievement. As a result, schools with low acceptance rates may see higher application volumes as more students aspire to gain admission. 
  • Self-selection process: University acceptance rate can influence the self-selection process among potential applicants. A very low acceptance rate might discourage some students from applying, particularly if they believe their credentials do not match the typical profile of admitted students. Conversely, American universities with high acceptance rate might attract a broader pool of applicants, including those who view the institution as a “safety” school where they have a higher chance of admission. 
  • Application strategy: Students often apply to a mix of “reach,” “match,” and “safety” schools based on admission rates and their own academic profiles. Schools with extremely low acceptance rates may find themselves more frequently categorized as “reach” schools, receiving applications from students who are applying to multiple competitive institutions in hopes of gaining admission to at least one. 
  • Marketing and reputational effects: Schools that are successful in lowering their acceptance rate over time may use this as a marketing tool, highlighting their selectivity to attract even more applicants. This can create a virtuous cycle where the perceived increase in prestige leads to more applications, potentially allowing the school to become even more selective. 
  • Influence on rankings: Since acceptance rates can affect a school’s position in national and international rankings, a change in acceptance rate can indirectly influence application rates. Higher rankings often lead to increased visibility and desirability among prospective students, such as seen in Ivy League admission rates, thereby increasing the number of applications. 

American universities’ acceptance rate – A breakdown 

To give you an understanding of the variance in acceptance rate, here is a breakdown of the latest American universities acceptance rate from a range of schools across the U.S, listed in alphabetical order. 

According to the latest data by, the average acceptance rate for American universities and colleges is around 67% or higher. An acceptance rate of 50% or higher is considered a high admission rate, while a 10% or lower is considered low, typically seen among Ivy League acceptance rates. 


Acceptance Rate

American University


Amherst College


Babson College 


Barnard College 


Bates College 


Boston College 


Bowdoin College 


Brown University 

Bucknell University 


Carleton College 


Carnegie Mellon University 


Colgate University 


Colorado College 

Columbia University 


Dartmouth College 


Davidson College 

Duke University 

Emory University – Emory Campus 


Georgia Tech 

Grinnell College 


Hamilton College 

Harvard University 

Haverford College 


Johns Hopkins University 


Lehigh University 


Middlebury College 



New York University 


Notre Dame 


Olin College of Engineering 


Pitzer College 


Pomona College 


Princeton University 


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 


Rice University 

Swarthmore College 


Trinity College 


Tufts University 


Tulane University 



University of Chicago 


University of Georgia 

University of Pennsylvania 


University of Richmond 


University of Southern California 


University of Texas – Austin 


University of Virginia 

Wake Forest University 

Washington and Lee University 


Washington University in St. Louis 


Wellesley College 


Wesleyan University 


William & Mary 


Williams College 


Yale University 


Wrap up

If you’d like to learn how to increase your application rate, then check out Comm100’s student engagement platform. Admissions and enrollment teams around the world use Comm100 to attract and enroll more students – all through responsive, convenient, and personalized engagement. Learn more here

Kate Rogerson

About Kate Rogerson

Kate is the Content Marketing Manager at Comm100. She has extensive experience in content creation for technology companies across the world, including the UK, Australia and Canada. She specializes in B2B messaging, branding and soccer trivia.