SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

You Can Get Into These Highest Acceptance Rate Colleges


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 or poor standardized test scores, or 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 four-year college.

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


Why Do These Colleges Have Such High Acceptance Rates?

Whereas 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 school. Colleges with high acceptance rates are more willing to give these students the opportunity to pursue a four-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, while Evergreen State is a progressive liberal arts college.


List of Colleges With the Highest Acceptance Rates

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

I didn't include two-year colleges or for-profit colleges; however, both often have 100% admission rates. Keep in mind that community colleges (two-year colleges) can be a good option to get a low-cost education and offer the possibility of eventually transferring to a four-year college. In fact, many four-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 that they'll 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.

All data comes from US News or individual school websites.



You might want to consider attending a community college.


School City State Acceptance Rate
Boston Architectural College Boston MA Open Admission
CUNY College of Staten Island Staten Island NY Open Admission
City University of Seattle Seattle WA Open Admission
Utah Tech University Saint George UT Open Admission
Granite State College Concord NH Open Admission
Jarvis Christian College Hawkins TX Open Admission
Missouri Western State University St. Joseph MO Open Admission
New Mexico Highlands University Las Vegas NM Open Admission
University of Maine at Augusta Augusta ME Open Admission
University of Maryland Global Campus Adelphi MD Open Admission
University of Pikeville Pikeville KY Open Admission
Utah Valley University Orem UT Open Admission
Washburn University Topeka KS Open Admission
Wayne State College Wayne NE Open Admission
Weber State University Ogden UT Open Admission
Wiley College Marshall TX Open Admission
Wilmington University New Castle DE Open Admission
D'Youville College Buffalo NY 100%
Mary Baldwin University Staunton VA 100%
Montana State University Northern Havre MT 100%
Rochester University Rochester Hills MI 100%
Sul Ross State University Alpine TX 100%
Thomas More College of Liberal Arts Merrimack NH 100%
Union Institute & University Cincinnati OH 100%
Lewis-Clark State College Lewiston ID 99%
Cameron University Lawton OK 99%
New England College Henniker NH 99%
Montana State University Billings Billings MT 99%
University of Texas at El Paso El Paso TX 99%
Adams State University Alamosa CO 99%
La Roche University Pittsburgh PA 99%
Northeastern State University Tahlequah OK 99%
University of Maine at Fort Kent Fort Kent ME 99%
Martin Methodist College Pulaski TN 98%
Naropa University Boulder CO 98%
Mississippi University for Women Columbus MS 98%
University of Maine at Machias Machias ME 98%
Covenant College Lookout Mountain GA 98%
Prescott College Prescott AZ 98%
University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas VI 98%
Nyack College Nyack NY 97%
Eastern Oregon University La Grande OR 97%
Wayland Baptist University Plainview TX 97%
Benedictine College Atchison KS 97%
California University of Pennsylvania California PA 97%
Purdue University Northwest Hammond IN 97%
Warner Pacific University Portland OR 97%
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green KY 97%
Oregon Institute of Technology Klamath Falls OR 97%
Evergreen State College Olympia WA 97%
Brewton-Parker College Mount Vernon GA 96%
University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg MS 96%
Alabama State University Montgomery AL 96%
Bennett College Greensboro NC 96%
Columbia College Columbia SC 96%
Grambling State University Grambling LA 96%
Missouri Southern State University Joplin MO 96%
Universidad Adventista de las Antillas Mayaguez PR 96%
University of Wyoming Laramie WY 95%
Brigham Young University–Idaho Rexburg ID 95%
Palm Beach Atlantic University West Palm Beach FL 95%
Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico–Arecibo Arecibo PR 95%
Wright State University Dayton OH 95%
Kansas State University Manhattan KS 95%



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


How to Use This List of Colleges With the Highest Acceptance Rates

If you're considering colleges with high acceptance rates, you should research the colleges that interest you on this list to determine whether you truly want to apply to and attend them. There are several factors to help you determine whether a college is a good fit for you, including location, support services, and the majors offered.

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


2 Potential Cons of Attending High Acceptance Rate 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. Make sure to research specific colleges you're interested in to determine the extent to which these concerns apply to a school you're considering.


#1: High Acceptance Rates = Low Prestige

Oftentimes, colleges are judged based on their acceptance rates; as a result, schools with higher acceptance rates tend to have worse reputations than more selective colleges do. While you can most certainly accomplish your academic and professional goals by studying at any college, it can be slightly more difficult to get certain jobs or get admitted to more selective graduate school programs if you went to a less prestigious college or university.


#2: Less Motivated Students

In addition, some of these colleges might 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.


2 Potential Pros of Attending High Acceptance Rate 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 about the benefits of attending less prestigious universities. By competing against fewer gifted students, you're potentially more likely to excel, especially in the most demanding subjects.

Many students who wish to attend medical school or pursue a STEM degree, for example, opt to go to less selective colleges in the hopes that it'll be easier for them to maintain a high GPA and achieve their academic goals.


#2: Cost

Most schools with the highest acceptance rates, especially state schools, are much cheaper than selective private colleges. If you don't get generous financial aid at a selective school, you could graduate with a tremendous amount of debt and place a financial burden on your family.

For example, tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year at CUNY Medgar Evers College for an in-state student is just $6,930. Meanwhile, tuition for all students at Columbia, an extremely selective Ivy League school in New York City, is $68,400. Keep in mind, however, that many selective private colleges do a good job of meeting your financial need.

Even many private colleges with high acceptance rates are 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 $62,874 tuition for Rice University, a highly selective private school in Houston, Texas.

In addition, less selective schools are more likely to award merit scholarships to outstanding students. At the most selective schools, merit scholarships are a lot less common, since almost all the students have stellar academic credentials.

If you don't qualify for or receive enough need-based financial aid, you might be able to get a merit scholarship from a college with a high acceptance rate.



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


What's Next?

What's a good GPA for college? A bad GPA? Our complete guide goes over how to determine what a good GPA is for you based on your goals and the colleges you're applying to.

Retaking the SAT? Check out our ultimate SAT study guide to help you with your prep. Taking the SAT very soon? Then take a look at 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.



Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

author image
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.

Get Free Guides to Boost Your SAT/ACT
100% Privacy. No spam ever.

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!