Applying to colleges is stressful. You may worry about whether you’ll get into your dream school, or if you’ll get into any school at all.
To ease your anxiety and ensure you get at least one acceptance letter, it’s essential to apply to a safety school. A safety school is a school you’re almost certain to get into. If the more competitive schools on your list don’t work out, your safety school provides a solid backup plan.
And if you don’t think you have the grades to get into a competitive college right now, you can always start at a “safe,” less competitive school or a community college and transfer later.
To help you find a safety school (or several), we put together a list of the easiest colleges to get into.
There’s often pressure to go to the most prestigious universities or have an impressive answer to the question, “Where are you going to college?” But many schools can provide a quality education, and you always have the option to use your first college as a stepping stone to a dream transfer school.
What Is an “Easy College to Get Into?”
The definition of an “easy college to get into” depends on factors like your GPA and test scores.
If you have a perfect SAT score and a 4.3 GPA, for example, most colleges will be easy for you to get into. If your grades and test scores are below average, schools with high admission rates and lower requirements will still be easy to get into.
For the purposes of this list, we’ll look at a few types of “easy colleges to get into.” We’ll discuss:
- Community colleges
- Colleges with 100% acceptance rates
- Popular colleges with relatively high admission rates
- Colleges with guaranteed admission policies (Yes, this is different from 100% acceptance rates!)
You can determine which options are right for you based on your academic performance, needs, and preferences.
Community colleges may not top your list of dream schools. As a starting point, however, they are an excellent option that you shouldn’t overlook.
Most community colleges are “open access.” That means they accept almost everyone who applies. They usually review and admit applicants year-round.
Typically, the highest degree you can earn at a community college is a two-year associate degree. That means you can finish your general education courses at a community college, then transfer to a four-year college to complete major-specific coursework.
General education courses are meant to broaden college students’ perspectives. They include courses in core areas like mathematics, social studies, English, and science. Since most students take these courses during the first two years of college, they are often huge classes taught in auditoriums. They are frequently taught by TA’s (teaching assistants) instead of professors.
At a community college, you’ll take these standard courses in a smaller, more personalized setting from a professor. Plus, you’ll save a significant amount of money as you tackle your first two years of college.
Many community colleges even have partnership agreements with four-year state universities that offer guaranteed transfer pathways. For example, students who successfully complete specific courses at Santa Fe College in Gainesville are guaranteed admission to related majors at the University of Florida (ranked No. 5 among public universities by U.S. News and World Report).
To find similar programs in your state, Google “community colleges with partnership agreements in [your state].” These programs are sometimes called “articulation agreements” or “guaranteed transfer programs.”
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Colleges with 100% Acceptance Rates
Community colleges aren’t the only schools with 100% acceptance rates. The following colleges also admit 100% of students who apply:
- Broward College (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
- Dickinson State University (Dickinson, North Dakota)
- Glenville State College (Glenville, West Virginia)
- Goddard College (Plainfield, Vermont)
- Granite State College (Concord, New Hampshire)
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology (Kirkland, Washington)
- New England College (Henniker, New Hampshire)
- Rochester College (Rochester Hills, Michigan)
- South Florida State College (Avon Park, Florida)
- St. Petersburg College (St. Petersburg, Florida)
- Thomas More College of Liberal Arts (Merrimack, New Hampshire)
- University of Texas- El Paso (El Paso, Texas)
- Utah Valley University (Orem, Utah)
- Wayne State College (Wayne, Nebraska)
- Wilmington University (New Castle, Delaware)
Many other colleges have nearly 100% acceptance rates, such as:
- Adams State University (Alamosa, Colorado)- 99%
- La Roche University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)- 99%
- Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)- 99%
- Milligan University (Milligan, Tennessee)- 99%
- Shawnee State University (Portsmouth, Ohio)- 99%
- Concordia University- St. Paul (St. Paul, Minnesota)- 98%
- Eastern Oregon University (Le Grande, Oregon) -98%
- National Louis University (Chicago, Illinois)- 98%
- Purdue University- Northwest (Hammond, Indiana)- 98%
- University of the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands)- 98%
- Alabama State University (Montgomery, Alabama)- 97%
- Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, Kentucky) -97%
- Eastern Washington University (Cheney, Washington)- 96%
- Grambling State College (Grambling, Louisiana)- 96%
- Portland State University (Portland, Oregon)- 96%
- Sweet Briar College (Sweet Briar, Virginia)- 96%
- University of Kentucky (Lexington, Kentucky)- 96%
- Austin Peay State University (Clarksville, Tennessee)- 95%
- Bethany College (Bethany, West Virginia)- 95%
- Prescott College (Prescott, Arizona)- 95%
- Trinity Washington University (Washington, D.C.)- 95%
- University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)- 95%
These acceptance rates make these schools some of the easiest colleges to get into, and therefore excellent safety schools. If you apply to any of the schools listed here, getting in is certain or almost certain.
Apply to at least one of these schools if you need a solid safety, or if you’re concerned that your grades/test scores won’t get you into more competitive colleges.
Popular Colleges with High Acceptance Rates
Browsing the list of colleges above, you may have thought, “But I’ve never heard of most of these colleges.” Of course, lack of name recognition doesn’t mean the school doesn’t provide a quality education.
But if you’re interested in more well-known colleges with high acceptance rates, consider:
- Arizona State University (Tempe, Arizona)- 88%
- Auburn University (Auburn, Alabama)- 71%
- Boise State University (Boise, Idaho)- 83%
- Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)- 83%
- Gonzaga University (Spokane, Washington)- 76%
- Kansas State University (Manhattan, Kansas)- 96%
- Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)- 71%
- Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)- 86%
- Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan)- 83%
- Mississippi State University (Mississippi State, Mississippi)- 76%
- Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon)- 89%
- Temple University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)- 72%
- University of Arizona (Tucson, Arizona)- 87%
- University of Kansas (Lawrence, Kansas)- 92%
- University of Mississippi (University, Mississippi)- 90%
- University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee)- 75%
Although these colleges don’t accept everyone, they are still relatively easy to get into (some more than others).
If you’re concerned about your grades and test scores, apply to at least one school with a 100% acceptance rate, then apply to a couple of schools from the “high acceptance rates” list. That way, you know that you’ll get in somewhere. And you may get into a school like Auburn, LSU, or Temple University too.
Ultimately, if you decide you aren’t thrilled with any of your options, consider starting at a community college and applying to four-year colleges as a transfer student in a couple of years.
Colleges with Guaranteed Admission Policies
“Guaranteed admission” doesn’t mean that anyone can get in, but it means that if you meet certain requirements (a minimum GPA and/or minimum test score), you’re guaranteed a spot.
For some schools, these policies only apply to state residents. Others have policies for both residents and nonresidents, with slightly more challenging criteria for nonresidents.
Below, we’ll list several schools with guaranteed admission policies, plus the criteria you must meet to secure your spot. If you meet the requirements for a college on this list, it will be one of the easiest schools for you to get into!
- Arizona State University- One of the following: Top 25% in high school graduating class, 3.0 GPA in core courses, ACT of 22 (24 nonresidents), SAT of 1120 (1180 nonresidents)
- Central Washington University– GPA of 3.0 or higher and completion of college academic distribution requirements
- Mississippi State University– 2.0 GPA and completion of the college preparatory curriculum
- Montana State University- One of the following: 2.5 GPA, ACT of 22, SAT of 1120, rank in the upper half of the graduating class, and completion of required high school coursework
- Southern Illinois University- One of the following: ACT of 23, SAT of 1130, GPA of 2.75, class rank in the top 10%
- University of Kansas (for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences or School of Social Work)- 3.25 GPA or ACT score of 21/SAT score of at least 1060 plus a GPA of at least 2.0
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas- One of the following: 3.0 GPA, SAT of 1120, ACT of 22, or Nevada Advanced High School Diploma
- University of Texas Austin- Top 6% of freshman applicants from Texas high schools
- University of Wyoming- GPA of 3.0 and minimum ACT score of 21 or SAT score of 1060
Some schools have more complex guaranteed admission policies that can’t be briefly summarized here. Check out the links to their policies below to see if you qualify:
- Kansas State University
- Missouri State University
- Oklahoma State University (scroll to “Assured Admission Criteria”)
- Truman State University
- Tulane University (Louisiana students only)
- University of Houston (scroll to “Admission Requirements”)
- University of Iowa (Iowa students only)
- University of Mississippi
- University of Southern Mississippi (scroll to “Full Admission”)
Applying to a school where you’re qualified for guaranteed admission takes a lot of the stress out of the college admissions process. If you meet the requirements for one of the colleges above, you can use it as your safety school. And if you’re not interested in the college, apply to a few of the other easiest colleges to get into on our list.
Final Thoughts: Easiest Colleges to Get Into
If you’re concerned that your grades and test scores won’t get you into a top college, consider applying to some of the easiest colleges to get into.
Even if your numbers are solid, remember that you’ll need a safety school. Schools with 100% acceptance rates, more well-known schools with relatively high acceptance rates, and schools with guaranteed admissions programs that you qualify for are the safest options available.
And if none of these options work out (or appeal to you), complete your general education requirements at a community college. Then, apply to four-year colleges again in two years as a transfer student. You’ll save money, learn in a more personalized setting, and potentially have guaranteed admission to a four-year state university.
Each of these options are respectable and worthwhile.
You don’t have to attend a prestigious or top-ranked university to get an education that prepares you for a successful career. The classes you take, the experiences you have, and the skills and knowledge you build matter far more than how impressive your college’s name sounds.
Plus, your college decision isn’t set in stone — if you aren’t happy with where you end up, you can always transfer to a school that’s a better fit for you.
So, be strategic and smart (and safe) with your college applications, and you’ll find the process far less stressful! Don’t forget to meet us in the comments, we love to hear from you.