So you want to major in business? Well, there’s a catch when you apply to many universities. In many cases, you first have to get accepted by the university–and that can be hard enough. And then, once you are on campus and maintain a threshold grade point average, you have to apply again for admission to the business school.
That can be a dicey game. After all, freshman year for many is a year of adjustment and transition. It’s possible that your first year in college won’t be your best. And if that is the case, your grades could keep you out of the business school later on. Besides, most undergraduate business schools lack the ability to satisfy the overwhelming demand.
Consider prestigious UC-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. During the 2016 application cycle, 17% of the university’s applicants were accepted to UC-Berkeley. But students wanting to study at Haas have to apply again to Haas during their sophomore year. For entry into the Haas School this past fall, 713 UC-Berkeley students applied and only 263 were offered admission, or, about 36.9%.
THE ADVANTAGE OF A DIRECT ADMIT PROGRAM
So, if 17% of high school applicants are accepted into UC-Berkeley and then about 37% of those are accepted into Haas two years later, technically the acceptance rate for a high school student going through the UC-Berkeley system is 6.27%. But Haas also accepted 107 outside transfers out of an “eligible” pool of 570, for an acceptance rate of 18.8%. A weighted average calculation of both groups reveals a 8.22% acceptance rate overall. One takeaway: It’s easier to get into Haas by spending the first two years at a junior college or other university than at UC-Berkeley.
This makes direct admit programs much more appealing and is one reason why the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business just switched to a four-year undergraduate program that admits freshmen. “When we talked to upperclassmen, the students who were admitted as freshmen were glad that they were, and the students who were admitted later expressed that they would like to have been (admitted as freshmen),” says Paul Kirsch, managing director of the Ross BBA program. Ross will now admit 80% of its class, roughly 500 students, as freshmen. The remaining 125 students will come in as transfers in their sophomore year (see Ross Opens The Door To Freshmen).
If you’d rather not take a chance and have to go through two admission hoops instead of one, you might be inclined to apply to a school that will directly admit you into the business school. Among our top 50-ranked undergraduate programs, these are the schools that offer candidates direct admission: