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.
Graduate business school programs often draw a competitive applicant pool that's larger than the number of available seats. Hundreds of prospective students each year receive rejection letters, but those who target certain schools are almost guaranteed to get in.
At Coastal Carolina University, all full-time MBA applicants for the fall of 2013 were admitted. Unlike previous years, the South Carolina school had the highest full-time acceptance rate, according to 127 ranked institutions that reported data to U.S. News in an annual survey. Union Graduate College in New York had the highest acceptance rate for students who started in fall of 2011: 98.7 percent.
[Photos: View the top 20 business schools.]
Some of the 10 schools with high acceptance rates for the fall of 2011 accepted an even larger percentage of students in 2013. University of South Dakota, which accepted 90 percent of full-time applicants in 2011, accepted 95 percent of students who applied for the fall of 2013.
Pepperdine University is new to this year's top 10 list after accepting 77.7 percent of the 260 students who applied for fall of 2013. Ranked at No. 76, it is one of the few schools on the list not labeled Rank Not Published. A school marked RNP is an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its ranking category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
The number of students who applied to the 10 full-time programs with the highest acceptance rates ranged from 20 at one institution to 260 at another. The average acceptance rate among the 10 schools was 87 percent.
The school with the lowest acceptance rate for full-time students was Stanford University. Of the 7,108 applicants for fall 2013, 6.8 percent were accepted. Each of the 10 schools with the lowest acceptance rates accepted less than 21 percent of applicants.
Below is a list of the 10 business schools with the highest full-time MBA acceptance rates. Unranked schools, which do not submit enough data for U.S. News to be ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School (name) (state)||Full-time applicants||Full-time acceptances||Full-time acceptance rate||U.S. News rank|
|Coastal Carolina University (SC)||44||44||100%||RNP|
|University of South Dakota||20||19||95%||RNP|
|Clark Atlanta University||62||58||93.5%||RNP|
|Northern Arizona University (Franke)||47||42||89.4%||104|
|University of Kentucky (Gatton)||99||86||86.9%||100|
|Willamette University (Atkinson) (OR)||196||170||86.7%||RNP|
|Northern Illinois University||73||61||83.6%||RNP|
|Belmont University (Massey) (TN)||43||34||79.1%||RNP|
|University of St. Thomas (Opus) (MN)||93||73||78.5%||100|
|Pepperdine University (Graziadio) (CA)||260||202||77.7%||76|
Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Business School Compass to find acceptance rate data, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.
U.S. News surveyed 453 schools for our 2013 survey of business 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 Business Schools 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 comes 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 acceptance rate data above are correct as of March 18, 2014.