When you’re helping your child decide where to apply for college, it’s good to make a varied list of potential schools. Including a few universities with high acceptance rates can help your child feel confident they will have options to choose from, regardless of their GPA or standardized test scores.
Why Do Some Colleges Have High Acceptance Rates?
Just because a school accepts most applicants doesn’t mean it offers a low-quality education. There are lots of good universities with high acceptance rates.
Many of these schools focus on providing higher education to students who may not have as many opportunities as their peers. Some colleges with high acceptance rates want to encourage inclusivity and equity for their student body.
What Is a Good Acceptance Rate?
It’s easy to identify schools with low acceptance rates. These are generally very selective, “prestigious” universities that accept less than 10 percent of applicants.
It’s harder to define a “good” acceptance rate. Some schools accept most or all students simply because they don’t have a lot of applicants (e.g. specialized or religious colleges). Other schools have minimal admission requirements and/or large campuses that can accommodate more students.
Many two-year colleges (community colleges) and for-profit schools accept 100 percent of applicants. However, there are also many public and private nonprofit, four-year colleges with high acceptance rates.
Some of these schools have an “open-admissions” policy, which means they will accept all students who meet minimal entrance requirements. Other colleges don’t necessarily admit all applicants but have acceptance rates above 90 percent. Here are some of the best colleges with high acceptance rates.
Academy of Art University
San Francisco, California
There are several colleges with high acceptance rates in California, and Academy of Art University is one of them. This school accepted 100 percent of applicants in the fall of 2020. It has a rolling admissions process, and applications are accepted through the first week of each semester (fall, spring, and summer).
The Academy of Art University is a proprietary institution that offers many bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in various art disciplines. Students can also earn an associate degree or a bachelor of science. There are over 100 accredited degree programs available, and students can take online and in-person classes.
- Size: Approximately 5,300 undergraduate students
- Student/teacher ratio: 12:1
- Tuition: $1,072/unit, 3 units per class (undergraduate domestic student), $1,156/unit, 3 units per class (undergraduate international student)
Alabama State University
A public university located near the middle of the state, Alabama State University has a very high acceptance rate of 99 percent. It offers a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. There are also programs for some doctoral degrees, including a Ph.D. in Microbiology and a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
Alabama State University has a test-optional admissions policy, although students may need to submit test scores to qualify for academic scholarships. Students with good grades/test scores can qualify for generous financial aid packages, including full-ride awards that cover tuition, fees, books, and room and board.
- Size: Approximately 3,500 undergraduate students
- Student/teacher ratio: 10:1
- Tuition: $11,248/academic year (in-state undergraduate), $19,576/academic year (out-of-state undergraduate)
Boston Architectural College
If your child is interested in East Coast colleges with high acceptance rates, consider Boston Architectural College. It’s a private institution offering architecture and design programs. It has an open admissions policy for onsite degree programs. The school hopes to encourage diversity in the design profession by offering educational opportunities to students who traditionally wouldn’t have them.
This college offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in architecture, design, interior architecture, and landscape architecture. The school has a rolling admissions process, although there are hard deadlines for selective online degree programs and scholarships.
- Size: less than 500 students
- Student/teacher ratio: 4:1
- Tuition: $26,800 (per undergraduate semester, for 12-18 credits)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
This large public university on the coast of Florida has rolling admissions and a 100-percent acceptance rate. It offers degree programs in various fields, including business, education, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and social sciences.
A Broward College student can earn their associate degree and then transfer to another university, or stay and complete their bachelor’s. There are also online courses and several technical certificate programs.
- Size: Approximately 56,000 undergraduate students
- Student/teacher ratio: 30:1
- Tuition: $2830/per year (in-state undergraduate), $9690/per year (out-of-state undergraduate)
Located in southwest Oklahoma, Cameron University is a public college with an open admissions policy. Students can select from a wide variety of associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree programs. There are online courses and hybrid options too. The school also prides itself on affordability; 65 percent of students graduate without any debt.
Cameron University offers a military-inclusive experience for veterans and those currently serving. The 160-acre campus provides all students with a range of organizations, sports, and community service opportunities.
- Size: Approximately 3,200 undergraduate students
- Student/teacher ratio: 17:1
- Tuition: $223.50/semester hour (in-state undergraduate), $537.50/semester hour (out-of-state undergraduate)
College of Staten Island CUNY
Staten Island, New York
CUNY–College of Staten Island boasts a 204-acre campus on Staten Island, which is the largest single site for a college in New York City. It’s a university with a high acceptance rate and the only public college on Staten Island. CUNY offers everything from associate degrees to doctoral programs.
CUNY (The City University of New York) does not require applicants to submit SAT/ACT scores. Moreover, it’s operating as a test-optional school until at least spring 2025. This college offers a wide variety of degree programs in everything from biology and computer science to drama and political science.
- Size: Approximately 10,700 students
- Student/teacher ratio: 21:1
- Tuition: $3,465/semester (full-time resident), $620/equated credit (full-time non-resident)
Colorado Mountain College
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
A small public college headquartered in historic Glenwood Springs, Colorado Mountain College has rolling application deadlines. There are several satellite locations in surrounding mountain towns as well. CMC locations in Spring Valley, Leadville, and Steamboat Springs are all full-service residential campuses.
Colorado Mountain College offers a range of certificate and associate degree programs. Students can also earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing, education, business administration, and ecosystem science. The school accepts all applicants with its open enrollment policy, and there is no application fee. Some degree programs are more selective.
- Size: Approximately 15,000 students
- Student/teacher ratio: 12:1
- Tuition: $200/credit hour (in-state), $510/credit hour (out-of-state)
Kansas State University
Kansas State University is a public college located in northeast Kansas. It offers over 250 undergraduate degree options along with 70 master’s degree programs. In 2020, it accepted 95 percent of applicants. The school also offers over 100 online programs.
K-State’s varsity sports teams are part of the NCAA Division I Big 12 Conference. There are numerous on-campus student organizations. Located close to the Fort Riley military base, Kansas State University offers unique opportunities to military members and veterans. It has earned national recognition as a military-inclusive college.
- Size: Approximately 17,000 students
- Student/teacher ratio: 19:1
- Tuition: $316.30/credit hour (undergraduate resident), $852.00/credit hour (undergraduate non-resident)
The University of Texas
El Paso, Texas
This public university offers students countless opportunities and experiences throughout its 421-acre campus. Students can select from over 160 undergraduate, graduate, and online degree programs. There are also several doctoral degree programs.
The University of Texas at El Paso accepted 100 percent of applicants in 2020. The school is dedicated to keeping costs low to provide access to higher education for students from all backgrounds.
- Size: Approximately 21,000 undergraduate students
- Student/teacher ratio: 25:1
- Tuition: $8,508/year (Texas resident undergraduate), $21,164/year (non-resident undergraduate)
Use College Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.
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