Graduate School Acceptance Rates

The GradReports Team | Published 6/20/2018

This time of year can be tough for soon-to-hopefully-be graduate students. You've sent in your application packages, which likely included personal statements, transcripts and other requirements. And now you're just… waiting.

The real reason you're probably reading this post: what are the odds that you got into your top program(s)? That's not an easy answer and it depends on the type of program. Perhaps surprisingly, some programs have very high acceptance rates. An example is CUNY, College of Staten Island, which has a near 100 percent admission rate and accepts applications on a rolling basis.

Of course, some schools and programs are much more selective than others. These include the usual suspects, including programs within the Ivy League, which can have admission rates below 10 percent of students. Stanford and Harvard business programs, for example, admit about 7 and 11 percent of applicants, respectively. Medical schools like George Washington University and the Mayo Medical School admit around 2 percent of applicants. Technology programs, elite music programs and schools like Cooper Union are also very selective.

It's hard to say whether you got in. But if you're nervous and want to do everything possible to receive that "Congratulations!" letter, there are a few things you can do.

Use this time wisely. Attend events that could improve the strength of your network. There are many places to check for these kinds of events, including, LinkedIn groups, targeted Facebook groups, and the events calendar on university pages, among many other places. If you live near your top-choice programs, stay on top of what's going on and try to attend a handful of lectures and panels. Sign up for email listservs if they are connected to your career ambitions; they're a great way to stay abreast of upcoming events, especially in larger cities. Also, try to sit in on continuing education courses. This may seem premature, but it will show initiative to both your potential professors and deans, as well as potential employers. Nothing separates equally qualified candidates quite like ambition.

Ensure you have realistic options. You're chances of getting admitted to grad school are slim if you only apply to highly selective programs. There's nothing wrong with applying to these reach schools, but no one can bank on getting in. Make sure that you have also applied to target programs for which acceptance is realistically attainable and safety programs that you are fairly confident you will get into. If you have variability in the level of selectivity for the programs you are applying to, you boost your chances of getting into a program you will be happy with - even if it's not at your dream school.

Breathe. This time will pass more quickly than you think and before you know it, you'll be sitting in a graduate school classroom.

At the end of the day, acceptance rate should not dictate what school is the best - especially the one that is the best for you. While this metric does indicate some level of a program's prestige, you may very well be just as happy or happier at a school that will still fulfill your graduate school needs, despite a higher acceptance rate. Make sure to do your research and dig beyond the numbers to find out what the pros and cons of each program are for you, and select those at which you can envision your future self thriving.