The 10 US universities that receive the most applications

Students at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.
Al Seib | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Students are applying to more colleges than ever before. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, in 1990, 9% of college freshmen applied to seven or more schools. By 2016, this percentage had increased to 35%.

Some of the biggest schools receive tens of thousands of applications and enroll over 50,000 undergraduate students. Every year, accredited American colleges and universities are required to submit admissions data to the Department of Education. More than 7,500 institutions complete these surveys each year.

CNBC Make It recently analyzed 2018 admissions data in order to identify which schools receive the most applications each year. We found was that the one school system, and 10 universities in total, stand out for receiving the most applications — by far.

Here are the 10 universities with the most applications and how many students get in:

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10. Boston University

Number of applicants: 60,825
Number admitted: 15,273
Number admitted who enrolled: 3,498
Percent of applicants admitted: 25.1%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 22.9%

9. San Diego State University

Number of applicants: 60,910
Number admitted: 21,574
Number admitted who enrolled: 5,366
Percent of applicants admitted: 35.4%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 24.9%

8. California State University, Long Beach

Number of applicants: 63,048
Number admitted: 17,650
Number admitted who enrolled: 4,138
Percent of applicants admitted: 28.0%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 23.4%

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7. New York University

Number of applicants: 64,007
Number admitted: 17,707
Number admitted who enrolled: 6,022
Percent of applicants admitted: 27.7%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 34.0%

6. University of California, Davis

Number of applicants: 70,952
Number admitted: 30,762
Number admitted who enrolled: 5,868
Percent of applicants admitted: 43.4%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 19.1%

5. University of California, Santa Barbara

Number of applicants: 81,824
Number admitted: 26,846
Number admitted who enrolled: 4,538
Percent of applicants admitted: 32.8%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 16.9%

4. University of California, Berkeley

Number of applicants: 85,044
Number admitted: 14,549
Number admitted who enrolled: 6,379
Percent of applicants admitted: 17.1%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 43.8%

Students cheer during the UC Irvine commencement ceremony at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
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3. University of California, Irvine

Number of applicants: 85,092
Number admitted: 31,063
Number admitted who enrolled: 6,545
Percent of applicants admitted: 36.5%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 21.1%

2. University of California, San Diego

Number of applicants: 88,446
Number admitted: 30,061
Number admitted who enrolled: 5,699
Percent of applicants admitted: 34.0%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 19.0%

1. University of California, Los Angeles

Number of applicants: 102,225
Number admitted: 16,456
Number admitted who enrolled: 6,038
Percent of applicants admitted: 16.1%
Percent of admitted who enrolled: 36.7%

Al Seib | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

According to the figures reported to the Department of Education, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) receives the most applications. UCLA reported that it received 102,225 undergraduate applications during the 2017-2018 school year, that it accepted 16.1% of those applications and that 36.7% of those admitted chose to enroll at the school.

Overall, schools within the University of California (UC) school system report receiving a dizzying number of applications — UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis each receive more than 70,000 applications each year.

Many experts attribute the massive number of applications to online application portals such as the common application, which make it easier for students to apply to several institutions at once. Indeed, one reason the UC system receives so many applications is simple: students are able to apply to all nine universities with one application.

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