The five-year period from 2007 through 2012 saw a 10 percent increase in applications to SBU, according to Associate Provost for Enrollment and Retention Management Matthew Whelan. Efal Sayed/The Statesman

Stony Brook University attributes its competitive admission rates to its high-quality education and successful marketing of the school.  Among the list of the public Association of American Universities, SBU has the fifth most competitive admissions rate.

For the last five or six years, the acceptance rate for undergraduate admissions has hovered at the mid-40 percent mark, but as SBU has become more competitive, the acceptance rate has decreased, with last year’s rate totaling 40 percent. Among freshmen who enrolled in August, the rate of acceptance was just about 40 percent.

The application rate for the current full-time freshman class increased 2.6 percent, with a total of more than 27,000 students applying, according to statistics from Associate Provost for Enrollment and Retention Management Matthew Whelan.

Out of the number that applied, about 11,000 students were accepted into SBU.  Out of those who were accepted, a total of 2,672 were enrolled at SBU as of day five of the fall semester.


Compare these statistics to those of five years ago, when the number of full-time freshmen applications that SBU received was 24,960.  Out of those applications, 10,846 students were accepted to the university.  In the five-year period between 2007 and 2012, the number of applications SBU has received increased roughly 10 percent, according to Whelan.

Although the number of applications that SBU has received increased over the last five years, the number of students put on the wait list fluctuates from year to year.  But it gets tougher every year to get off the wait list because the total enrollment of the school is not greatly increasing and competition is getting tougher.

Each year, being removed from the wait list becomes a more difficult task as SBU’s total enrollment has not greatly increased despite toughening acceptance rates. In the past year, however, more students were taken off the wait list because the number of students that SBU accepted increased.

When comparing the admissions rate by gender, “It has been relatively stable,” Whelan said.  Five years ago, SBU had an enrollment of 50.1 percent male and 49.9 percent female.  Compare that to SBU’s gender breakdown for the 2012-2013 academic year, which is 51 percent male and 49 percent female.


“We have done a lot of work as a university over the last several years in telling our story and in

marketing to different places in and around New York City, Long Island and the five boroughs,” Whelan said.

He continued by explaining that SBU sends out admission counselors to visit high schools and continues to make sure that it is bringing in students from quality institutions who will succeed.

Roughly 80 percent of undergraduate students are from New York State, according to Whelan. The majority of undergraduate students that attend SBU will always be from New York because it is a New York State institution, he stated.

But, it is also important to have geographic diversity among the undergraduate students. It is beneficial to have perspectives from students across the nation when talking about national issues in the classroom, Whelan explained.


The number of international students has just about doubled in the last five years.  This year, SBU had about 250 international freshmen on F-1 student visas.

Along with being geographically diverse, under-graduate students from SBU come from many different financial backgrounds.

Approximately 35 percent of students are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant Program.  This is the federal financial aid program for students from low-income sectors.  SBU also has the second lowest tuition of all the schools that are a part of the public Association of American Universities.

To maintain SBU’s diversity, the undergraduate admissions office is constantly trying to inform prospective students about what the university has to offer.

Social media has played a crucial role in the increase of applicants over the past few years; it is used as an outlet to communicate with prospective students from around the world.

“Social media is a set of tools that allows us to make what can be a complicated process, simpler and a lot more personal for perspective students who can be overwhelmed by the complexity of the admissions process,” Stefan Hyman, the web and electronic information coordinator, said.


For the future, Whelan explained that he feels the number of applicants will continue to grow as the reputation of SBU continues to grow.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.