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March Madness 2024 Elite 8: Selectivity

Estrela Consulting March 30, 2024

March Madness 8

It’s March Madness time! Here at Estrela, we are taking our brackets to the next level. Join us each round to learn something fun about the schools in the tournament! In the first round, we explored the mascots, our second round celebrated notable alumni, and in the Sweet 16 we learned about campus traditions.

Now we will analyze how ELITE these remaining 8 institutions truly are based on admission selectivity. But, we assure you, these are all amazing schools - and you should never pick or eliminate a school based on its selectivity alone!


UCONN vs. Illinois

The University of Connecticut has a 55% admission rate, although particular programs such as the School of Nursing and College of Engineering have lower acceptance rates. While in-state residency is considered as part of the holistic review, it is not a determining factor in admission and there is not a set quota of in-state spaces at UCONN. The middle 50% of accepted students at UCONN who submitted scores under the test-optional policy had an ACT score of 27-33 and an SAT score of 1240-1410 

At the University of Illinois, the overall admission rate is 44%, however, the percentages vary greatly by major. Computer Science at UIUC has a 7.5% admission rate! Illinois states that they evaluate out-of-state students against the same criteria as in-state students. Overall, the middle 50% of accepted students at Illinois had an unweighted GPA of 3.7-4.0; of the 54% who submitted test scores their middle 50% range was an ACT score of 31-34 and SAT score of 1400-1530, however, averages for specific majors vary.


Alabama vs. Clemson

The University of Alabama admits 80% of its applicants. While Alabama does not publish specific admissions stats for out-of-state students, they have a particularly high number of out-of-state students for a state school; of their undergraduate student population 42.1% are from Alabama and 57.9% are from another state or International. Alabama also enrolls a very high number of National Merit Scholars due to the generous scholarship offers available to them. The middle 50% of Alabama residents accepted had a GPA of 3.47-4.16, ACT composite score of 22-29, and SAT composite score of 1160-1330; the middle 50% of out-of-state accepted students had a 3.59-4.26 GPA, 26-33 ACT, and 1170-1400 SAT. Alabama is test-optional, so those numbers reflect scores submitted. 

Clemson University has an admission rate of 38%; students from South Carolina were admitted at a rate of 49% while out-of-state students faced a 36% acceptance rate. The middle 50% of students admitted to Clemson who chose to submit scores had an ACT score of 28-32 and SAT score of 1240-1400.


Duke vs. NC State

Duke has an acceptance rate of 6.3%. If Duke is a frontrunner on your college list, however, it is worth considering Early Decision as your application plan; students applying ED have a 16.5% admission rate while 5.2% of regular decision applicants are admitted. The middle 50% of accepted students at Duke who chose to submit test scores had ACT composite scores of 34-35 and SAT composite scores of 1520-1570. 

North Carolina State admits 39.5% of applicants. The middle 50% of accepted students at NC State had a weighted GPA of 4.25-4.5 and unweighted GPA of 3.79-3.97. At NC State 53% of students did not submit test scores, but of those who did the middle 50% had ACT scores of 24-31 and SAT scores of 1260-1420. While specific out-of-state admission rates are not available, the state of North Carolina does cap the out-of-state enrollment at 18% of the student body.


Purdue vs. Tennessee

Purdue’s overall admission rate is 50%, however, admission rate varies by college and major. The college of engineering is the most competitive, with 38.7% of applicants being admitted; particularly competitive majors include professional flight technology at 11.9%, nursing at 24.8%, and computer science at 29.5%. Overall, the middle 50% of the admitted class at Purdue had a GPA of 3.6-4.0, ACT composite score of 27-34, and SAT composite score of 1210-1450, however, specific averages for each college and major vary. While Purdue had been test-optional during the pandemic, they have reinstated a requirement for test scores starting with applicants for Fall 2024.

The University of Tennessee has seen explosive growth in the number of applications over the last few years, resulting in a notable increase in selectivity. Students from Tennessee are admitted to UT at a rate of 59.4%, while 33.3% of out of state students are admitted. The middle 50% of admitted students had a UT Core GPA of 4.04-4.46, ACT composite score of 26-31, and SAT composite score of 1240-1400. Tennessee reinstated test score requirements in Fall of 2023.

As you can see, the Elite 8 colleges are all selective in their admissions decisions. While today we focused on statistics and numbers, remember that the admissions process is so much more than that. Colleges are looking for students who not just fit their academic profile, but who will also contribute to the campus community, whether through extracurricular activities, leadership roles, or personal experiences. As you consider applying to these schools, it’s important to understand what makes each one special and to showcase your strengths and passions in your application.

Which schools will make it to the Final 4? Check back with us next week for an in-depth look at the Final 4 schools, including location, size, popular majors, and more!

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Tagged: ncaa, alumni, march madness, Alyson Campbell, Jamie Kirby, basketball, elite 8

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