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Allen Grove

The Orange Bowl - Clemson vs. West Virginia - A College Admissions Match-Up

By January 4, 2012

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This evening we'll see the Clemson Tigers compete against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the BCS Orange Bowl. Both are public universities, but you'll note significant differences when we compare admission and cost data:

West Virginia University:

  • Percentage of applicants accepted: 88%
  • Middle 50% SAT Reading: 460 / 560
  • Middle 50% SAT Math: 480 / 580
  • Middle 50% ACT Composite: 20 / 26
  • Total Cost (In-State, 2010-11): $16,642
  • Total Cost (Out-of-State, 2010-11): $28,238
  • Four-Year Graduation Rate: 33%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 59%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 22,303

Clemson University:

  • Percentage of applicants accepted: 63%
  • Middle 50% SAT Reading: 550 / 640
  • Middle 50% SAT Math: 580 / 670
  • Middle 50% ACT Composite: 25 / 30
  • Total Cost (In-State, 2010-11): $25,060
  • Total Cost (Out-of-State, 2010-11): $40,528
  • Four-Year Graduation Rate: 50%
  • 6-Year Graduation Rate: 77%
  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 15,346

Both universities have notable academic strengths, and both have chapters of Phi Beta Kappa because of their strong programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Clemson is significantly more selective than West Virginia, and those better-prepared students result in a higher graduation rate. West Virginia certainly wins on the financial front, although the lower price has its own cost: West Virginia has an unfortunate 23 to 1 student / faculty ratio compared to Clemson's more healthy 16 to 1 ratio. Also, more students at Clemson receive grant aid than at West Virginia. Clemson's wide-ranging strengths make it one of my public university top picks, and I'd have to pick Clemson over West Virginia in this admissions match-up. As for who will dominate on the football field, I'll leave that analysis to Tim Hyland, About.com's guide to college football.

On the athletic front, West Virginia competes in the Big East Conference, and Clemson competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

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