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You Can Get Into These Highest Acceptance Rate Colleges

Posted by Justin Berkman | Sep 15, 2018 8:30:00 AM

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Colleges with high acceptance rates can be good options for you when you’re selecting schools you want to apply to or attend. If you have low grades, standardized test scores, or you need to add safety schools to your list of colleges, these schools can give you more confidence that you’ll be able to gain admission to a 4-year college.

In this article, I’ll give you the list of colleges with the highest acceptance rates, explain why they have such high acceptance rates, and offer pros and cons of attending these schools.


Why Do These Colleges Have Such High Acceptance Rates?

While the most selective colleges are focused on admitting the best and brightest students, colleges with high acceptance rates tend to be more concerned with providing access to higher education to those who meet minimum requirements. Many students face obstacles that prevent them from excelling in high school, and some students just lack motivation while they're in high school. Colleges with high acceptance rates are more willing to give these students the opportunity to pursue a 4-year college degree.

Also, some of the smaller colleges on the list have a particular focus. Most of the students who are applying are qualified students who are interested in attending that specific type of college. For example, BYU-Idaho is a Mormon school and Evergreen State is a progressive liberal arts state institution.


List of Colleges With the Highest Acceptance Rates

Most of these colleges are state institutions, but there are private religious colleges on the list like Jarvis Christian College and Wayland Baptist University, and there are private non-sectarian colleges like Wilmington University.

I didn’t include 2-year colleges or for-profit colleges; however, both often have 100% admission rates. Keep in mind that community colleges (2-year colleges) can be a good option to get a low-cost education and have the possibility of transferring to a 4-year college. In fact, many 4-year state colleges will offer guaranteed admission from a community college if you fulfill certain requirements.

Note that some of these colleges are designated "open admission," which means they will offer admission to all applicants who meet their entrance requirements (usually minimal). This is different from colleges that accepted 100% of applicants last year but do not necessarily always do so. These colleges are at least nominally selective in nature. 


You may want to consider attending a community college.


School City State Acceptance Rate
Boston Architectural College Boston MA open admission
Wilmington College Wilmington OH open admission
Wilmington University New Castle  DE  open admission
Cameron University Lawton  OK  open admission
Western International University Tempe  AZ  open admission
University of the Potomac Washington  DC  open admission
Daytona State College Daytona Beach FL open admission
Indian River State College Fort Pierce FL open admission
University of Pikeville Pikeville  KY  open admission
University of Maryland-University College Adelphi  MD  open admission
Missouri Western State University St. Joseph  MO  open admission
Bismarck State College Bismarck ND open admission
Wayne State College Wayne  NE  open admission
Granite State College Concord NH open admission
New Mexico Highlands University Las Vegas  NM  open admission
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City Oklahoma City  OK  open admission
Jarvis Christian College Hawkins TX open admission
Dixie College of Utah Saint George UT open admission
Utah Valley University Orem  UT  open admission
Weber State University Ogden  UT  open admission
City University of Seattle Seattle WA open admission
University of Maine-Augusta Augusta ME open admission
University of Akron Akron OH open admission
Wright State University Dayton OH open admission
Wiley College Marshall TX open admission
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College  St. Mary-of-the-Woods  IN  100%
Metropolitan State University St. Paul  MN  100%
Montana State University-Billings Billings  MT  100%
Montana State University - Northern Havre MT 100%
University of Texas-El Paso El Paso  TX  100%
Ottawa University Ottawa  KS  99.5%
Nyack College Nyack NY 99.4%
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Edinboro PA 99.3%
Harding University Searcy AR 99.1%
Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston  ID  99%
Lyndon State College Lyndonville  VT  99%
Wayland Baptist University Plainview  TX  99%
Evergreen State College Olympia WA 98%
Grand View University Des Moines IA 98%
Utah State University Logan  UT  97.8%
Benedictine College Atchison KS 97.7%
Western State Colorado University Gunnison CO 97.4%
University of Sioux Falls Sioux Falls SD 97.2%
Maine College of Art Portland ME 97%
Washburn University Topeka  KS  97%
Covenant College Lookout Mountain GA 96.5%
Brigham Young University-Idaho Rexburg  ID 96%
Missouri Southern State University  Joplin  MO  96%
New England College Henniker NH 96%
Johnson State College Johnson VT 95.5%
Mary Baldwin College Staunton VA 95.5%
Fontbonne University Clayton MO 95%
Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach FL 95%
Loras College Dubuque IA 95%
University of Wyoming Laramie WY 95%
Kansas State University Manhattan KS 94.5%
University of Central Arkansas Conway AR 94.4%
Bethel University St. Paul MN 94.4%
Tennessee Technological University Cookeville TN 94.4%
Colorado Christian University Lakewood CO 94.3%
Lubbock Christian University Lubbock TX 94.3%
Governers State University University Park IL 94%
Neumann University Aston PA 94%
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green KY 94%
La Roche College Pittsburgh PA 93.9%
CUNY-College of Staten Island Staten Island NY 93.8%
Houghton College Houghton NY 93.8%
Linfield College McMinnville OR 93.7%
Southern Vermont College Bennington VT 93.7%
Westminster College New Wilmington PA 93.5%
Mississippi University for Women Columbus MS 93.5%
Sweet Briar College Sweet Briar VA 93%
Bemidji State University Bemidji MN 93%
Freed-Hardeman University Henderson TN 93%
University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio TX 93%
University of Kansas Lawrence KS 93%
Colorado State University-Pueblo Pueblo CO 92.7%
University of Montana Missoula MT 92.7%
Clarion University of Pennsylvania Clarion PA 92.7%
College of Coastal Georgia Brunswick GA 92%
Keystone College Factoryville PA 92%
South Dakota State University Brookings SD 92%
Shepherd University Shepherdstown WV 92%
CUNY-Medgar Evers College Brooklyn NY 91.9%
Bennet College Greensboro NC 91.8%
North Central University Minneapolis MN 91%
University of Houston-Downtown Houston TX 91%
Carlow University Pittsburgh PA 90%
Mansfield University of Pennsylvania Mansfield PA 90%
Bard College at Simon's Rock Great Barrington MA 89%



CUNY College of Staten Island (CUNY Academic Commons/Flickr)


How Should You Use This List?

If you’re considering colleges with high acceptance rates, you should research the colleges that interest you on this list to determine if they’re schools you should apply to or attend. There are many factors to help determine if a college is a good fit for you including location, support services, and the majors offered.

Look at the school’s website, and use guidebooks, college finders, search websites, and other ranking lists to help you in the college selection process. If possible, consult with teachers, counselors, parents, current students, and alumni.


Possible Concerns With Attending These Schools

The schools with the highest acceptance rates are not all the same, but I'm going to generalize potential issues with going to a less selective college. You should research specific colleges you're interested in to determine the extent to which these concerns apply to a school you're considering.

Often, schools are judged based on their acceptance rates. Schools with higher acceptance rates tend to have worse reputations than more selective colleges. While you can accomplish your academic and professional goals by studying at any college, it can be more difficult to get certain jobs or admitted to more selective graduate school programs from a less prestigious university.

Also, some of these colleges can have students who are less academically inclined or motivated. In college, you learn from and are often inspired by your peers. More selective schools tend to have a greater percentage of driven students with advanced academic skills.


Possible Benefits of Attending These Schools

Although there are considerable potential drawbacks to attending a less selective college, there are also some possible benefits.


#1: Being a Big Fish in a Small Pond

In his book David and Goliath, author Malcolm Gladwell wrote of the benefits of attending less prestigious universities. If you're competing against fewer gifted students, you may be more likely to excel, especially in the most demanding subjects. Many students who wish to attend medical school or pursue a STEM degree opt to go to a less selective college in the hopes that it will be easier to maintain a high GPA and achieve their academic goals.


#2: Cost

Most of the schools with the highest acceptance rates, especially the state schools, are much cheaper than selective private colleges. If you don’t get generous financial aid at a selective school, you may graduate with tremendous debt or place a financial burden on your family. For example, tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year at Tennessee Tech for an in-state student is just $8,732. Tuition for Vanderbilt, a selective private college in Nashville, Tennessee, is $48,600. Keep in mind, though, that many of the more selective private colleges do a good job of meeting your financial need

Even many of the private colleges with high acceptance rates are much more affordable than selective private colleges. The tuition and fees for Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas are $11,720. That's significantly cheaper than the $46,600 tuition for Rice University, a selective private school in Houston, Texas.

Also, less selective schools are more likely to award merit scholarships for outstanding students. At the most selective schools, merit scholarships are less common since almost all of the students have stellar academic credentials. If you don't qualify for or receive enough need-based financial aid, you may be able to get a merit scholarship from a college with a high acceptance rate.


You might save money if you attend a school with a high acceptance rate. (401(K) 2012/Flickr)


What's Next?

What's a good GPA? A bad GPA? Here's a complete guide.

Retaking the SAT? Check out our ultimate SAT study guide to help you with your prep. Taking the SAT very soon? Check out our guide to cramming for the test

Not sure where you'd like to go to college? We'll help you find the right college for you


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Justin Berkman
About the Author

Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.

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