Applying to college? Check out these colleges with the highest acceptance rates. Some may surprise you!
Just because a school has a high acceptance rate doesn’t mean you should knock it right away. It’s smart to apply to a few ‘safety’ schools during your application process. Plus, attending a less-selective school can also have some surprising benefits!
College Acceptance Rates. What are they?
Simply put, it is the percentage of students admitted out of those who apply for a given year. It does not necessarily mean that the schools are more or less selective. Rates can also signify how many applicants there are; the more that apply, the lower the acceptance rate will be.
It’s very important to note that this is different than a yield rate, which includes only the number of students who enrolled. College acceptance rates can also be skewed on purpose — this is done by schools encouraging as many prospective students as possible to apply without regard to their eligibility for enrollment.
Do College Acceptance Rates Matter?
Many colleges and universities will strive for low acceptance rates because it shows they are highly sought-after institutions. High or low acceptance rates also help schools get better rankings on global and national reports.
However, it is very important to remember that high acceptance rates do not necessarily mean a lesser school academically, or that the school is easier to get into. Colleges with high acceptance rates are also less focused on their ranking, and more focused on allowing people of any background access to higher education, something commendable in its own right.
Some students weren’t all-stars in high school, or lacked motivation when they were younger, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do well in college and adulthood. Schools with high acceptance rates can help these students get there.
Should Students Care?
That will depend on you and what matters most to you in a prospective program. Do you value selectivity or are other things important to you, such as academics once you actually begin school?
Acceptance rates can be mostly just about personal or academic reputation and the bragging rights to be able to say you were accepted into a selective school. Ask yourself, “What matters to me in a university?”
In fact, there are surprising benefits to attending a school whose acceptance rates are high. Tuition costs in these schools are generally lower when compared to highly selective schools, for both in-state and private colleges.
Colleges with high acceptance rates are also more likely to give out merit-based scholarships to outstanding students.
Finally, if you attend a less selective school, you may have an easier time standing out. When you are up against fewer outstanding students, you may be more likely to be recognized by professors, achieve higher scores on weighted exams, and achieve a prestigious honor roll GPA. Many students who wish to move on to a selective graduate program may find themselves drawn to a less selective undergraduate program for these reasons.
Important Factors to Consider When Choosing Where to Apply
It is highly advisable to look at many other factors besides acceptance rate when it comes to applying to a school that you will eventually invest money and years of time into.
Here’s a few to keep in mind:
- This can mean cost of living in the area you are applying to, as well as tuition and book-related fees.
Potential for Financial Aid or Scholarships:
- Some schools offer paid teaching assistantships, research fellowships, and other special forms of financial aid other than what is offered by the federal government or private and non-profit organizations.
- This is a big one! Where do you want to spend the next several years of your life, and is your preferred school worth a big relocation? Alternatively, do you prefer more flexibility on location? If that’s the case, look into online schools where you can study from anywhere and on your own time!
Faculty and Professor Reviews:
- Take stock in the faculty and professors at your intended school. Are there any faculty conducting research you are interested in? Check out sites such as Rate My Professors to see how other students view their experience with professors at your school.
- Make sure your intended college has a reputable program for your chosen field. For example, a university might have a great reputation as a 4-year institution, but if you want a degree in Anthropology and their anthro department is nearly nonexistent or underfunded, it’s best to find another school with a more valued program.
Open Admissions. What Are They?
Some schools, such as University of the People, have an ‘Open Admissions’ policy. Just what is this and how can it benefit you?
Open admissions means a school grants admissions to any applicant who completes the application and who hold a high school degree or GED.
These kinds of schools are very appealing to students who may have graduated with a lower GPA, and to those who aren’t interested in taking standardized tests. Many of these schools may also offer pre-degree courses for students to catch up in subjects they haven’t yet mastered.
It’s important to note that just because a college has open admissions, does not mean they are an inferior institution. After all, selectivity isn’t a way to determine student outcome or program quality.
Check Out These Good Universities with High Acceptance Rates: (all between 92-96%!)
- University of Kentucky
- University of Kansas
- Kansas State University
- University of Wyoming
- University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
- University of Northern Colorado
- University of Montana
- Virginia State University
- North Dakota State University
- Western Kentucky University
Finally, if a super high acceptance rate is important to you, we’ve compiled a list of the colleges with the top highest acceptance rates here. All schools listed have 99% acceptance rates:
- CUNY College of Staten Island in Staten Island, NY
- New England College in Henniker, NH
- Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA
- Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA
- Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi
- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri
- Kettering College of Medical Arts in Kettering, OH
- Wright State University Lake Campus in Celina, OH
- Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD
- Adams State College in Alamosa, CO
While college admissions rates can be important in your search for schools to apply to, there are other factors to consider. Remember, high college acceptance rates don’t always mean that a school has a less academically rigid program and there are many amazing schools with high acceptance rates!