Figuring Out My Odds For Getting Into Harvard, Stanford, Wharton

One of the most difficult data points to find is the actual admission rates for all of the top schools.  Most of the school rankings have incomplete data; not all schools report their rates during the ranking process.  Additionally, when you cross reference the numbers between different sources, they rarely match one another.  Furthermore, the way each a school defines it’s admissions rate can be different each time.  Did they include the part time and executive applicants as well?  Is this for the admissions year or the calendar year?  Usually these specifics are left out.

Anyway, I wanted to get a broad picture of what the admissions were, so I decided to compile a set of numbers from a single source that had stats for all the top schools.  I’ll ignore the potential data integrity issues for now and just use that as my baseline.

The source I used was Clear Admit and their newly updated MBA Planner App.  For the statistics below, the Clear Admit iPhone app only provided the figures “class size” and “admission rate” in their app.  I used those two figures to back into a number for “total applications.”  The total applications figure is only intended as a ballpark and are not accurate to the exact number. Here is the data for all the top U.S. Schools, sorted by selectivity.  Please note that I backed into the “applications” number by considering class size and admit rate only.  Since I didn’t have the data, I did not consider an “admit and decline” rate, so these are just back of the envelope estimates.  One thing I need to take note of is the fact that 4 of my 6 schools are in the top 10 of this list.  (gulp)

Finally, the last view I created is a graph of sorted by overall demand.  I was a little surprised to see some of the low numbers at the bottom of the graph.  McDonough (Georgetown) has one of the lowest levels of demand and one of the highest admissions rates.  Kenan-Flagler and Tepper are similar.  I also didn’t know that Columbia had more apps than Stanford.

What are my chances?  If I take the weighted average admission rates of Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, Haas, UCLA, and Ross, the percentage is 13.5%.

This post is adapted from Random Wok, a blog written by Mako from Silicon Valley. You can read all of his posts at Random Wok.

Previous posts by Mako at PoetsandQuants:

Why I Want an MBA

Climbing the GMAT Mountain: 630 to 710 on a Practice Test

Do Consultants Have An Unfair Edge Over Other Applicants?

Falling Behind & Stressed Out

My New Critical Reasoning Strategy

  • martin meyer

    You may also want to average the results. That is to say, set it up a chart that assumes all the schools recieve an equal amount of applications and then find the percentage of acceptance from there to get a more accurate result

  • piggles

    The real question is how those percentages change based on GMAT score and academic profile. Work experience, essays, and interviews are very subjective admissions criteria, but GMAT and GPA are the two pieces of truly objective material in everyone’s application. Sure, 70% of applicants are “academically qualified” at the top schools, but no one really knows what that means.

    For example, Ross admits somewhere between 20-25% of its applicants. Does that number improve to 40-50% if you meet the school’s average GMAT score? That information would be much more valuable to applicants and information I imagine most schools wouldn’t want to advertise. I’m certain odds of admission increase as either number increases, but it would be interesting to see how much.

  • Agree completely, Miguel. It’s much more difficult to assess one’s odds of getting into a school because the competition is always a moving target: You don’t know what the competition looks like at any given time: how high the GMATs and GPAs are, how rich the work backgrounds, or how compelling the leadership experiences are.

  • I’d rather look at the data in a slightly different way. It tells me how many people I will be competing against when applying to a specific school. If I were to apply to Stanford, I will be competing with 11 applicants for a spot (according to your numbers above).

    But that’s the only thing the information it tells me. It doesn’t work through probability theory.