Colleges Where Applications Are on the Rise

October 5, 2018 by Sam Stebbins

Source: InnaPoka / iStock
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 32% of American adults have a bachelor’s degree, the largest percentage on record. Currently, more than 19 million Americans are enrolled in an undergraduate college program — and next year, millions more will join the ranks.

There are thousands of four-year institutions across the country, and attracting prospective students can be a challenge. Sill, some schools have managed to distinguish themselves and are becoming increasingly popular among the college-bound.

How people choose which colleges and universities to apply to varies. For many, attending the most prestigious and academically rigorous school is the most important — if not the only — consideration. For others, the decision hinges on the cost of tuition and the value of financial aid packages and scholarships. Distance from home and campus amenities are yet more variables that can make a difference.

Keeping these factors in mind, experts recommend that prospective college students apply to four to eight different schools. These should be a mix of reach schools, where, based on academic credentials, admission would be a long shot; target schools, where admission is more likely; and safety schools, where admission is all but guaranteed.

While colleges and universities all have a certain enrollment capacity threshold, there is no limit to the number of applications they can consider. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed five-year changes in the number of applications submitted to nearly 600 four-year post-secondary institutions to identify the 100 colleges where applications climbed the most.

This list includes schools from all over the country; both public and private, large and small, urban and rural, non-profit and for profit, highly selective and less so. Spikes in the total number of applicants range from 46.7% to 377.8%.

Click here to see the colleges where applications are on the rise.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.

Source: Geographer. / Wikimedia Commons

100. California State University-San Bernardino, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 46.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,740
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 18,327
> Acceptance rate: 58.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $8,704

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Source: Thinkstock

99. University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Nevada
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 47.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,533
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 25,279
> Acceptance rate: 82.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,582

Source: CribbVisuals / Getty Images

98. New York University, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 47.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 60,724
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 26,417
> Acceptance rate: 31.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $36,256

Source: Ethan James Scherrer / Wikimedia Commons

97. University of Kansas, Kansas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 47.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,015
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 19,338
> Acceptance rate: 93.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $18,365

Source: Bart Everson / Wikimedia Commons

96. Xavier University of Louisiana, Louisiana
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 48.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 6,609
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,293
> Acceptance rate: 61.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $17,034

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

95. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 48.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,468
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 4,435
> Acceptance rate: 48.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $43,027

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

94. University of Massachusetts-Lowell, Massachusetts
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 49.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 11,321
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 14,012
> Acceptance rate: 60.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $18,375

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Source: Chamberednautilus / Wikimedia Commons

93. Kenyon College, Ohio
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 49.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 6,403
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 1,677
> Acceptance rate: 26.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $31,704

Source: strickke / Getty Images

92. University of Utah, Utah
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 49.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 14,308
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 24,635
> Acceptance rate: 76.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $12,363

Source: Jalans / Wikimedia Commons

91. Boston University, Massachusetts
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 57,441
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 18,080
> Acceptance rate: 29.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $33,728

Source: kenlund / Flickr

90. University of Nevada-Reno, Nevada
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,644
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 18,348
> Acceptance rate: 82.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $16,230

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Source: LawrenceSawyer / Getty Images

89. West Virginia University, West Virginia
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 21,558
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 22,501
> Acceptance rate: 76.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,486

Source: KMSatoh202 / Wikimedia Commons

88. University of Iowa, Iowa
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 28,494
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 24,503
> Acceptance rate: 84.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,845

Source: West Texas A&M University / Wikimedia Commons

87. West Texas A & M University, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 6,163
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 7,394
> Acceptance rate: 60.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,806

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

86. Babson College, Massachusetts
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,648
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,342
> Acceptance rate: 24.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $29,847

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

85. Saint Xavier University, Illinois
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,315
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,942
> Acceptance rate: 75.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,911

Source: kahunapulej / Flickr

84. Rutgers University-Camden, New Jersey
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,725
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 5,489
> Acceptance rate: 57.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $12,399

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Source: Anniegh / Wikimedia Commons

83. Clarkson University, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 50.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,066
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 3,090
> Acceptance rate: 68.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $31,050

Source: J654567 / Wikimedia Commons

82. University of Kentucky, Kentucky
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 51.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 20,480
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 22,425
> Acceptance rate: 90.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $19,361

Source: Paul Berendsen / Wikimedia Commons

81. Hofstra University, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 51.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 28,617
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 6,861
> Acceptance rate: 62.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $32,566

Source: rahimageworks / Flickr

80. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 51.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 32,839
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 31,358
> Acceptance rate: 52.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $15,910

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Source: Bradley University / Wikimedia Commons

79. Bradley University, Illinois
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 51.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,786
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 4,649
> Acceptance rate: 69.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $25,857

Source: Shane.torgerson / Wikimedia Commons

78. Texas State University, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 52.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 22,701
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 34,180
> Acceptance rate: 71.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,579

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

77. University of Massachusetts-Boston, Massachusetts
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 53.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,886
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 12,660
> Acceptance rate: 68.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $10,991

Source: joeshlabotnik / Flickr

76. Spelman College, Georgia
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 53.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,864
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,137
> Acceptance rate: 35.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $36,190

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

75. Houston Baptist University, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 54.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,256
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,316
> Acceptance rate: 34.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $21,084

Source: Downtowngal / Wikimedia Commons

74. California State University-San Marcos, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 54.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,366
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 14,615
> Acceptance rate: 51.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $10,454

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Source: Rossrover / Wikimedia Commons

73. William Paterson University of New Jersey, New Jersey
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 55.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,791
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 8,838
> Acceptance rate: 75.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,779

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

72. Ohio University-Main Campus, Ohio
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 55.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 20,623
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 23,167
> Acceptance rate: 74.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $21,607

Source: 5thLargestinAfrica / Flickr

71. California State University-Stanislaus, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 55.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,618
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 9,057
> Acceptance rate: 74.3%
> Avg. annual cost: $6,768

Source: Justefrain / Wikimedia Commons

70. California State University-Los Angeles, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 55.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 35,429
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 24,818
> Acceptance rate: 63.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $3,907

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Source: Stanton49 / Wikimedia Commons

69. University of North Carolina at Charlotte, North Carolina
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 55.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 17,518
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 23,914
> Acceptance rate: 62.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,811

Source: LanceKing / Getty Images

68. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 56.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 34,889
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 18,862
> Acceptance rate: 26.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,100

Source: Courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne University

67. Lenoir-Rhyne University, North Carolina
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 56.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 6,300
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 1,699
> Acceptance rate: 70.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $19,380

Source: Iamneven / Wikimedia Commons

66. Boise State University, Idaho
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 56.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,330
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 20,744
> Acceptance rate: 81.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,363

Source: Tebp (Uploads) / Wikimedia Commons

65. University of California-Los Angeles, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 57.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 97,112
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 31,002
> Acceptance rate: 18.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,760

Source: Popochen / Wikimedia Commons

64. California State University-East Bay, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 57.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,670
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 13,474
> Acceptance rate: 69.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,425

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Source: Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

63. University of California-Davis, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 58.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 68,553
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 30,066
> Acceptance rate: 42.3%
> Avg. annual cost: $16,446

Source: CSU Monterey Bay / Flickr

62. California State University-Monterey Bay, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 58.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 16,258
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 6,764
> Acceptance rate: 35.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,233

Source: Peter Flass / Wikimedia Commons

61. Skidmore College, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 58.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,181
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,680
> Acceptance rate: 29.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $25,254

Source: Bobak Ha'Eri / Wikimedia Commons

60. Central Washington University, Washington
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 59.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,255
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 12,080
> Acceptance rate: 79.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,124

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

59. Murray State University, Kentucky
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 59.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 6,479
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 8,559
> Acceptance rate: 85.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,562

Source: Spatms / Wikimedia Commons

58. California State University-Bakersfield, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 60.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,487
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 8,814
> Acceptance rate: 67.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $6,794

Source: Jeffrey Beall / Wikimedia Commons

57. Colorado College, Colorado
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 60.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,894
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,107
> Acceptance rate: 16.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $29,528

Source: Anh-Viet Dinh \ Trinity University / Wikimedia Commons

56. Trinity University, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 61.0%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,255
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,395
> Acceptance rate: 40.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $28,540

Source: Amerique / Wikimedia Commons

55. University of California-Riverside, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 61.0%
> 2016-2017 applications: 42,629
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 20,073
> Acceptance rate: 66.3%
> Avg. annual cost: $12,404

Source: vomsorb / Flickr

54. Miami University-Oxford, Ohio
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 61.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 29,771
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 17,147
> Acceptance rate: 65.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $20,316

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Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

53. Southern Connecticut State University, Connecticut
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 61.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,625
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 7,947
> Acceptance rate: 63.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $15,234

Source: Bob Collowân / Wikimedia Commons

52. University of California-Berkeley, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 63.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 82,561
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 30,574
> Acceptance rate: 16.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $18,178

Source: Scott Brody / Wikimedia Commons

51. Rowan University, New Jersey
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 64.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 13,520
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 15,401
> Acceptance rate: 71.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $19,246

Source: raybouk / Flickr

50. California State University-Chico, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 64.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 23,591
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 16,710
> Acceptance rate: 65.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,185

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Source: Twhair / Wikimedia Commons

49. Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 64.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,153
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 13,854
> Acceptance rate: 56.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,456

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

48. Purdue University-Main Campus, Indiana
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 64.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 49,007
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 32,132
> Acceptance rate: 56.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $12,117

Source: n28307 / Flickr

47. University of California-Santa Barbara, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 65.0%
> 2016-2017 applications: 77,112
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 22,186
> Acceptance rate: 35.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $16,154

Source: Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons

46. Texas A & M University-Commerce, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 65.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,805
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 8,494
> Acceptance rate: 46.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,396

Source: beklaus / Getty Images

45. University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 66.0%
> 2016-2017 applications: 34,047
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 29,056
> Acceptance rate: 76.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $20,323

Source: Educatedblkman1914 / Wikimedia Commons

44. North Carolina A & T State University, North Carolina
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 66.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,367
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 10,341
> Acceptance rate: 53.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $11,049

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

43. Cleveland State University, Ohio
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 66.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,528
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 12,078
> Acceptance rate: 87.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $15,320

Source: See below / Wikimedia Commons

42. Iona College, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 67.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,896
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 3,178
> Acceptance rate: 91.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $27,000

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

41. University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 69.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,459
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 13,134
> Acceptance rate: 58.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $17,016

Source: Solidago / Getty Images

40. Montana State University, Montana
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 69.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,996
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 14,652
> Acceptance rate: 82.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $15,411

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Source: Mikejuinwind123 / Wikimedia Commons

39. University of California-Irvine, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 70.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 77,816
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 29,307
> Acceptance rate: 40.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,944

Source: Rdikeman / Wikimedia Commons

38. Case Western Reserve University, Ohio
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 70.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 23,115
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 5,150
> Acceptance rate: 35.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $34,973

Source: Thomson200 / Wikimedia Commons

37. LIU Brooklyn, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 70.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,273
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 3,945
> Acceptance rate: 87.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $26,771

Source: peterspiro / iStock

36. Ohio State University-Main Campus, Ohio
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 71.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 44,845
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 45,946
> Acceptance rate: 54.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $18,042

Source: toddmedia / Getty Images

35. The University of Alabama, Alabama
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 72.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 38,237
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 33,305
> Acceptance rate: 52.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $19,993

Source: Daniel Hartwig / Wikimedia Commons

34. Ball State University, Indiana
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 72.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 24,735
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 17,004
> Acceptance rate: 62.3%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,535

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Source: Nandaro / Wikimedia Commons

33. Pace University-New York, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 73.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 18,470
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 8,674
> Acceptance rate: 83.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $31,734

Source: Megan Miller / Wikimedia Commons

32. Temple University, Pennsylvania
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 74.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 33,139
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 29,580
> Acceptance rate: 52.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $22,940

Source: opalsson / Flickr

31. University of California-San Diego, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 75.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 84,208
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 28,587
> Acceptance rate: 35.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,616

Source: kenlund / Flickr

30. University of Washington-Seattle Campus, Washington
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 77.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 43,517
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 31,331
> Acceptance rate: 45.3%
> Avg. annual cost: $9,443

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Source: Iidxplus / Wikimedia Commons

29. Washington State University, Washington
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 77.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 23,223
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 25,277
> Acceptance rate: 72.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $17,885

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

28. New Jersey Institute of Technology, New Jersey
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 77.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,222
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 8,483
> Acceptance rate: 59.3%
> Avg. annual cost: $17,972

Source: Casey Marshall from Santa Cruz, United States / Wikimedia Commons

27. University of California-Santa Cruz, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 77.9%
> 2016-2017 applications: 49,181
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 17,577
> Acceptance rate: 57.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $16,792

Source: 79315705@N06 / Flickr

26. Minnesota State University-Mankato, Minnesota
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 78.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 11,428
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 12,782
> Acceptance rate: 62.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,704

Source: sshepard / Getty Images

25. University of Maine, Maine
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 78.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 12,952
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 9,279
> Acceptance rate: 89.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $17,564

Source: Stephen Schafer / Wikimedia Commons

24. California State University-Channel Islands, California
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 79.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,310
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 7,054
> Acceptance rate: 73.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,834

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Source: Jeffrey M Foster / Wikimedia Commons

23. University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 79.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,695
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 10,808
> Acceptance rate: 92.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $15,427

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

22. New York Institute of Technology, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 82.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,084
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 3,664
> Acceptance rate: 72.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $23,300

Source: Beyond My Ken / Wikimedia Commons

21. The New School, New York
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 84.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 8,997
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 7,125
> Acceptance rate: 60.1%
> Avg. annual cost: $45,601

Source: Sk5893 / Wikimedia Commons

20. Coastal Carolina University, South Carolina
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 84.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 17,768
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 9,898
> Acceptance rate: 61.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $16,224

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Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

19. The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 84.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 12,686
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 18,470
> Acceptance rate: 68.0%
> Avg. annual cost: $10,036

Source: Tim Pierce / Wikimedia Commons

18. Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 86.1%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,224
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 6,282
> Acceptance rate: 33.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $41,382

Source: Lwowen / Wikimedia Commons

17. Wingate University, North Carolina
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 87.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,581
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,592
> Acceptance rate: 69.6%
> Avg. annual cost: $18,094

Source: Nick Kline / Wikimedia Commons

16. Colby College, Maine
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 89.6%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,833
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 1,917
> Acceptance rate: 18.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $20,361

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

15. Clark University, Massachusetts
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 91.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 7,914
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,240
> Acceptance rate: 54.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $28,810

Source: greatdegree / Flickr

14. University of Denver, Colorado
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 93.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 20,322
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 5,765
> Acceptance rate: 53.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $35,163

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Source: Bluejayscholar / Wikimedia Commons

13. Creighton University, Nebraska
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 102.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,352
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 4,255
> Acceptance rate: 70.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $31,481

Source: kenlund / Flickr

12. Utah State University, Utah
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 103.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,401
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 24,618
> Acceptance rate: 90.2%
> Avg. annual cost: $12,338

Source: Thomson200 / Wikimedia Commons

11. Clark Atlanta University, Georgia
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 104.0%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,733
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 3,302
> Acceptance rate: 71.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $26,809

Source: gerrydincher / Flickr

10. Claflin University, South Carolina
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 123.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,387
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,038
> Acceptance rate: 41.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $18,089

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Source: Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

9. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus, Georgia
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 126.2%
> 2016-2017 applications: 30,528
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 15,573
> Acceptance rate: 25.8%
> Avg. annual cost: $15,873

Source: Courtesy of University of Colorado

8. University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus, Colorado
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 126.3%
> 2016-2017 applications: 12,252
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 15,586
> Acceptance rate: 60.5%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,586

Source: Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons

7. Tarleton State University, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 131.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 9,583
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 11,288
> Acceptance rate: 50.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $12,831

Source: Chris Funkhouser / Wikimedia Commons

6. Seton Hall University, New Jersey
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 139.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 15,427
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 5,969
> Acceptance rate: 66.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $28,700

Source: Honors Lane / Wikimedia Commons

5. University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Maryland
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 143.5%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,231
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 2,861
> Acceptance rate: 38.4%
> Avg. annual cost: $15,732

Source: SUU-University Relations / Wikimedia Commons

4. Southern Utah University, Utah
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 150.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 10,573
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 8,550
> Acceptance rate: 72.3%
> Avg. annual cost: $14,451

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Source: 139918543@N06 / Flickr

3. Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi, Texas
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 153.4%
> 2016-2017 applications: 12,909
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 10,170
> Acceptance rate: 64.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $12,948

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

2. University of Memphis, Tennessee
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 218.7%
> 2016-2017 applications: 21,392
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 17,396
> Acceptance rate: 56.7%
> Avg. annual cost: $13,663

Source: davidpinter / Wikimedia Commons

1. Grand Canyon University, Arizona
> 5 yr. increase in applications: 377.8%
> 2016-2017 applications: 34,096
> Total undergraduate enrollment: 49,556
> Acceptance rate: 56.9%
> Avg. annual cost: $20,912

Detailed Findings

While there are several dozen private institutions on this list, the majority of schools reporting the largest increases in applications are public. This pattern fits the overall distribution of college matriculation. Nationwide, three quarters of Americans enrolled in college or graduate school attend a public institution. This is partially because public schools typically offer steep reductions in tuition for in-state students.

Indeed, among the public schools on this list, average annual costs range from about $4,000 at California State University-Los Angeles, to $23,000 at Temple University in Pennsylvania. Among private institutions, costs are generally far higher, ranging from $15,000 at Saint Xavier University in Illinois, to $45,600 at The New School in New York.

While applying to a college is by no means the same as enrolling there, many of the schools on this list have also grown considerably in the last five years. Of the 100 schools with the largest increases, 75 have a larger student body today than they did five years ago. In 17 schools, overall enrollment has grown by more than 20% since the 2011-2012 school year.

In other cases, a growing pile of applications has allowed schools to become more selective in the admissions process. In 65 of the 100 schools on this list, acceptance rates are lower now than they were five years ago.

Methodology

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the 100 colleges and universities with the largest five-year percentage increase in applicants from the 2011-2012 school year to the 2016-2017 year. Only schools with at least 4,000 applicants in 2011 were considered. Average annual costs also came from NCES and factor in financial aid recipients. Acceptance rates were calculated using NCES data. Five year changes in student body size were calculated using the 12-month unduplicated headcount from NCES. Total undergraduate enrollment came from College Navigator, an NCES program and is for the most recent available year.