The Nation’s “Most Desirable” Colleges

Perhaps your “most desirable” list looks a little something like this: Kate Upton, a new Range Rover, and straight A’s. Or more like this: Ryan Gosling, a trip to the Maldives, and a closet full of designer clothes. Whatever your dream life looks like now, chances are it’s a little different than when you were in high school – and applying to colleges. Sure, Kate Upton and Ryan Gosling might still have made the list, but you probably also had  “attend X school” on there, too. And if you remember the nerve-wracking acceptance process, you were just hoping that not too many other kids your age had the same school on their “most desirable” lists. Now, there’s a way to find out just how much other people want to go to your favorite school. 3080 A cool new map compiled by eCollege Finder shows which schools are the “most desired” in each state. While some of the winners are boringly obvious (seriously, are there any other colleges in North Dakota besides its state university?) there are some surprises in there. For instance, UCLA (pictured above) won the battle over USC and Stanford as the school high school seniors most wanted to attend, and with all of the schools in Boston, Northeastern University is the college of choice. Make no mistake; the most desired schools aren’t necessarily the most prestigious colleges. Brown and Yale were the only Ivy League schools to win their respective states, but to be fair, tiny states like Rhode Island and Connecticut don’t have a ton of academic competition. To reach the results, eCollege Finder simply determined the schools in each state that received the most number of applications. So, while Harvard University or MIT might be harder to get into than any other university in Massachusetts, it probably only receives a small number of applications from the truly elite students who have a shot of getting in there. Those schools aren’t getting many after-thought “safety school” applications.

Top 5 Most Applications:

  1. University of California – Los Angeles – 72,676
  2. New York University – 57,552
  3. Pennsylvania State University – 47,552
  4. Northeastern University – 47,364
  5. University of Michigan – Ann Arbor – 46,813

Top 5 Fewest Applications:

  1. University of Alaska – Anchorage – 3,062
  2. University of Wyoming – 4,181
  3. South Dakota State University – 4,851
  4. North Dakota State University – 5,812
  5. University of Hawaii at Manoa – 6,901

Alabama – University of Alabama

  • Location – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,975
  • Acceptance Rate – 57%
  • Total Undergraduates – 28,026

Alaska – University of Alaska

  • Location – Anchorage, Alaska
  • Number of Applications Received – 3,062*
  • Acceptance Rate – 72%
  • Total Undergraduates – 16,498

Arizona – University of Arizona

  • Location – Tucson, Arizona
  • Number of Applications Received – 26,329
  • Acceptance Rate – 77%
  • Total Undergraduates – 31,565

Arkansas – University of Arkansas

  • Location – Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Number of Applications Received – 18,908
  • Acceptance Rate – 59%
  • Total Undergraduates – 20,350

California – University of California-Los Angeles

  • Location – Los Angeles, California
  • Number of Applications Received – 72,676
  • Acceptance Rate – 22%
  • Total Undergraduates – 27,941

Colorado – University of Colorado

  • Location – Boulder, Colorado
  • Number of Applications Received – 22,473
  • Acceptance Rate – 88%
  • Total Undergraduates – 25,941

Connecticut – Yale University

  • Location – New Haven, Connecticut
  • Number of Applications Received – 28,977
  • Acceptance Rate – 7%
  • Total Undergraduates – 5,405

Delaware – University of Delaware

  • Location – Newark, Delaware
  • Number of Applications Received – 25,458
  • Acceptance Rate – 65%
  • Total Undergraduates – 18,202

Florida – University of Central Florida

  • Location – Orlando, Florida
  • Number of Applications Received – 31,820
  • Acceptance Rate – 49%
  • Total Undergraduates – 51,010

Georgia – University of Georgia

  • Location – Athens, Georgia
  • Number of Applications Received – 18,458
  • Acceptance Rate – 56%
  • Total Undergraduates – 26,259

Hawaii – University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Location – Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Number of Applications Received – 6,901
  • Acceptance Rate – 80%
  • Total Undergraduates – 14,655

Idaho – Boise State University

  • Location – Boise, Idaho
  • Number of Applications Received – 7,832
  • Acceptance Rate – 78%
  • Total Undergraduates – 19,477

Illinois – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Location – Champaign, Illinois
  • Number of Applications Received – 33,203
  • Acceptance Rate – 62%
  • Total Undergraduates – 32,281

Indiana – Indiana University

  • Location – Bloomington, Indiana
  • Number of Applications Received – 37,826
  • Acceptance Rate – 72%
  • Total Undergraduates – 32,371

Iowa – University of Iowa

  • Location – Iowa City, Iowa
  • Number of Applications Received – 21,642
  • Acceptance Rate – 80%
  • Total Undergraduates – 21,999

Kansas – University of Kansas

  • Location – Lawrence, Kansas
  • Number of Applications Received – 12,389
  • Acceptance Rate – 92%
  • Total Undergraduates – 19,169

Kentucky – University of Kentucky

  • Location – Lexington, Kentucky
  • Number of Applications Received – 19,810
  • Acceptance Rate – 69%
  • Total Undergraduates – 20,827

Louisiana – Tulane University

  • Location – New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,122
  • Acceptance Rate – 26%
  • Total Undergraduates – 8,357

Maine – University of Maine

  • Location – Orono, Maine
  • Number of Applications Received – 8,306
  • Acceptance Rate – 81%
  • Total Undergraduates – 8,778

Maryland – University of Maryland

  • Location – College Park, Maryland
  • Number of Applications Received – 26,247
  • Acceptance Rate – 47%
  • Total Undergraduates – 26,538

Massachusetts – Northeastern University

  • Location – Boston, Massachusetts
  • Number of Applications Received – 47,364
  • Acceptance Rate – 32%
  • Total Undergraduates – 16,640

Michigan – University of Michigan

  • Location – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Number of Applications Received – 46,813
  • Acceptance Rate – 33%
  • Total Undergraduates – 27,979

Minnesota – University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

  • Location – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Number of Applications Received – 43,048
  • Acceptance Rate – 44%
  • Total Undergraduates – 34,469

Mississippi – University of Mississippi

  • Location – University, Mississippi
  • Number of Applications Received – 14,258
  • Acceptance Rate – 59%
  • Total Undergraduates – 16,060

Missouri – Washington University in St. Louis

  • Location – Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,117
  • Acceptance Rate – 16%
  • Total Undergraduates – 7,259

Montana – Montana State University

  • Location – Bozeman, Montana
  • Number of Applications Received – 12,581
  • Acceptance Rate – 84%
  • Total Undergraduates – 12,679

Nebraska – University of Nebraska

  • Location – Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Number of Applications Received – 10,929
  • Acceptance Rate – 64%
  • Total Undergraduates – 19,103

Nevada – University of Nevada-Reno

  • Location – Reno, Nevada
  • Number of Applications Received – 7,857
  • Acceptance Rate – 84%
  • Total Undergraduates – 15,082

New Hampshire – Dartmouth College

  • Location – Hanover, New Hampshire
  • Number of Applications Received – 23,110
  • Acceptance Rate – 10%
  • Total Undergraduates – 4,193

New Jersey – Rutgers University

  • Location – New Brunswick, New Jersey
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,631
  • Acceptance Rate – 60%
  • Total Undergraduates – 31,593

New Mexico – University of New Mexico

  • Location – Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Number of Applications Received – 11,467
  • Acceptance Rate – 65%
  • Total Undergraduates – 22,773

New York – New York University

  • Location – New York, New York
  • Number of Applications Received – 57,845
  • Acceptance Rate – 26%
  • Total Undergraduates – 22,498

North Carolina – Duke University

  • Location – Durham, North Carolina
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,374
  • Acceptance Rate – 13%
  • Total Undergraduates – 6,655

North Dakota – North Dakota State University

  • Location – Fargo, North Dakota
  • Number of Applications Received – 5,812
  • Acceptance Rate – 84%
  • Total Undergraduates – 11,988

Ohio – Ohio State University

  • Location – Columbus, Ohio
  • Number of Applications Received – 31,359
  • Acceptance Rate – 56%
  • Total Undergraduates – 43,058

Oklahoma – Oklahoma State University

  • Location – Stillwater, Oklahoma
  • Number of Applications Received – 11,064
  • Acceptance Rate – 76%
  • Total Undergraduates – 20,323

Oregon – University of Oregon

  • Location – Eugene, Oregon
  • Number of Applications Received – 21,263
  • Acceptance Rate – 74%
  • Total Undergraduates – 20,809

Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania State University

  • Location – University Park, Pennsylvania
  • Number of Applications Received – 47,552
  • Acceptance Rate – 54%
  • Total Undergraduates – 39,192

Rhode Island – Brown University

  • Location – Providence, Rhode Island
  • Number of Applications Received – 28,919
  • Acceptance Rate – 9%
  • Total Undergraduates – 6,435

South Carolina – University of South Carolina

  • Location – Columbia, South Carolina
  • Number of Applications Received – 23,429
  • Acceptance Rate – 61%
  • Total Undergraduates – 23,363

South Dakota – South Dakota State University

  • Location – Brookings, South Dakota
  • Number of Applications Received – 4,851
  • Acceptance Rate – 92%
  • Total Undergraduates – 11,118

Tennessee – Vanderbilt University

  • Location – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Number of Applications Received – 31,099
  • Acceptance Rate – 13%
  • Total Undergraduates – 6,796

Texas – University of Texas

  • Location – Austin, Texas
  • Number of Applications Received – 38,161
  • Acceptance Rate – 40%
  • Total Undergraduates – 39,955

Utah – Brigham Young University

  • Location – Provo, Utah
  • Number of Applications Received – 11,423
  • Acceptance Rate – 49%
  • Total Undergraduates – 31,060

Vermont – University of Vermont

  • Location – Burlington, Vermont
  • Number of Applications Received – 22,381
  • Acceptance Rate – 78%
  • Total Undergraduates – 11,211

Virginia – University of Virginia

  • Location – Charlottesville, Virginia
  • Number of Applications Received – 28,984
  • Acceptance Rate – 30%
  • Total Undergraduates – 15,822

Washington – University of Washington

  • Location – Seattle, Washington
  • Number of Applications Received – 30,199
  • Acceptance Rate – 55%
  • Total Undergraduates – 29,475

West Virginia – West Virginia University

  • Location – Morgantown, West Virginia
  • Number of Applications Received – 16,521
  • Acceptance Rate – 85%
  • Total Undergraduates – 22,827

Wisconsin – Marquette University

  • Location – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Number of Applications Received – 23,432
  • Acceptance Rate – 57%
  • Total Undergraduates – 8,293

Wyoming – University of Wyoming

  • Location – Laramie, Wyoming
  • Number of Applications Received – 4,181
  • Acceptance Rate – 96%
  • Total Undergraduates – 10,194

Check out the map to see if your school is as desired by others as it is by you. And while you’re at it, take a look at some of the other cool maps, like the one with the highest graduation rates. This time, we’ve got to hand it to the Ivies – they have this one locked down.

Randi Whitcomb