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Top 10 Colleges with the Highest Acceptance Rates

Many students aspire to pursue bachelor’s degrees in Ivy League universities. However, college acceptance rates to those institutions tend to discourage prospective students from attending the school of their dreams. Some individuals may even feel like they can’t achieve their career goals if they can’t get into an elite university.

The good news is there are lots of equally excellent colleges with high acceptance rates. These schools are not highly-selective; they provide quality affordable and quality higher education, exceptional employment opportunities, breath-taking campuses, and impressive athletics programs for all students.

In a report by The College Board, admission officers of exclusive universities admitted that almost two-thirds of students that end up in their “no pile” are actually capable of academically succeeding at their school. This is the unfortunate reality most students have to deal with.

While Ivy League prices and acceptance rates may leave you feeling disheartened, it shouldn’t be that way. Your main focus should be college experience instead of the university you want to attend.

Whether your GPA is not on the high side or it’s been a long time since you last entered a classroom, below are schools with high acceptance rates are worth considering.

  1. North Dakota State University (Fargo, ND)

In a previous report, North Dakota State University was found to have one of the highest student ROI ratios for US public research universities. It has a 94% acceptance rate and an 80% student retention rate.

Set on a 258-acre campus, NDSU is a public land-grant research institution with more than 14,400 enrolled students. They offer 25 undergraduate degrees that are fully-online, 100 majors, graduate degrees, and master’s degrees.

Degree programs offered by the NDSU are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It also has Extension Service and Research Experiment Station locations that allow the school to reach various students around the state. There is a $35 application fee for students, and a required cumulative high school grade average of 2.75.

  1. Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

Michigan State University is one of the Big Ten universities in the US. It has more than 50,000 students–approximately 39,000 of them undergrads. Known nationally for its sports team (the Spartans), MSU’s students represent over 130 different countries and 50 American states. It is also recognized around the world as a major research organization.

In 2017, the estimated price of attending MSU without financial aid is $26,400 and $17,000 with average aid. It’s average AVT/SAT score is 1120/26.

  1. University of Pikeville (Pikeville, KY)

Unlike the first two colleges, the University of Pikeville is a private institution. This liberal arts university was built by the Presbyterian Church in 1889. The university system offers students one-of-a-kind undergraduate programs in media arts and film, healthcare management, and so on. Another great thing about this school is that 99% of freshmen are provided with some kind of financial aid.

With accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the university can award baccalaureate, associate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. An average class in Pikeville is made up of 20 students. Offering 24 majors, it currently has 4 colleges and schools.

Good news for sporty students: the university has 21 athletic programs and more than 40 student organizations. These groups include leadership, Greek, academic, and service societies. It boasts an acceptance rate of 100%, a student retention rate of 56%, and a net cost of $16,500. This 25-acre campus is home to 72% of freshman students.

  1. Eastern Oregon University (La Grande, OR)

By accomplishing a joint application, students can take up various degrees, programs, resources, and courses through Blue Mountain Community College and Eastern Oregon University. EOU has an acceptance rate of 97%, a student retention rate of 73%, and a net cost of $14, 970.

Established in 1929, EOU is accredited as a four-year university by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This state-funded institution has more than 50 student organizations. It also as 14 scholarship programs during which the university awards over $11.3 million in grants to students every year.

There are 15 fully-online majors available in the university. Academics also include 27 minors, 21 undergraduate majors, a business administration master’s degree, an AA in elementary education, and 10 pre-professional programs that include study areas such as veterinary medicine and physical therapy.

  1. Wayne State College (Wayne, NE)

Established in 1891, Wayne State College boasts a high acceptance rate of 100% paired with a 67% student retention rate. This public college has a net cost of $12, 100 and more than 3,500 students. WSC is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

For prospective students, WSC has 90+ academic programs to choose from. Its Public Health Early Admissions Student Track (PHEAST) health program and Rural Health Opportunities Program (RHOP) is partnered with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. There is also an option for students to take part in the Rural Law Opportunities Program (RLOP).

Students can access 200 scholarships through WSC. It offers great career opportunities, as 99.8% of the alumni who finished school in 2018 were either attending graduate school or immediately employed.

  1. Metropolitan State University (St. Paul, MN)

Built in 1971, the University provides 60 undergraduate programs students can choose from. A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, MSU offers individualized baccalaureate degrees, along with 12 master’s programs and two doctoral degrees.

With a university acceptance rate of 100%, a student retention rate of 71%, and $15, 230 net cost, this school attracts many students across the country every year.

The university provides affordable, flexible, but still high-quality options in graduate, undergraduate, and continuing education for students. You can choose from weekend, day, evening, hybrid, and online courses available across 20 teaching locations. These areas include the four main schools in Brooklyn Park, Saint Paul, as well as Midway and Minneapolis–all of which have been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  1. Wilmington University (New Castle, DE)

If you are looking for a great school to transfer to, then Wilmington University could be the one for you. WU students are allowed to transfer a maximum of 90 credits and you’ll only need to shell out $35 for the application fee. Another impressive thing about WU is its 100% acceptance rate and 58% student retention rate. The university also has a $14,470 net cost.

Tracing its roots back to 1969, Wilmington is a non-profit, private institution that also includes doctoral research. The school is not too far from major cities like Washington, New York. Baltimore, and Philadelphia–one of the main reasons why students choose to study there.

Each year, 18,000+ students from diverse backgrounds are enrolled in the school. Over 80 undergraduate and graduate degrees are being offered there. All courses and programs, even the one for undergraduates, can be accessed at the main campus of New Castle location.

In order to earn a degree at WU, you can choose from the weekend, day, and evening class options. These flexible classes come in 7-week, 15-week, and weekend modular formats. WU has many additional academic sites, and there are Fusion programs that allow students to access online learning.

  1. The Evergreen State College (Olympia, WA)

Out of all students of the Evergreen State College, 71% of them get financial aid. It’s also an ideal school for many students who don’t want to take student loans, as 50% of graduates finish their degrees without any debt.

ESC has a student retention rate of 68% and an acceptance rate of 98%, plus a net cost of $13,367. Since its establishment in 1971, the Evergreen State College has always been a progressive college focusing on sciences and public liberal arts. Students are given the freedom to choose programs with topics that they are interested in the most.

There are approximately 4,300 students in 60+ areas of study in ESC. These fields include teaching, public administration, and environmental studies. If you are particular with the availability of technology when choosing schools, ESC won’t let you down. Freshmen can access specialized equipment such as 3D printers and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopes as soon as they want.

The university has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Among all public institutions in the state, it takes pride in having the third-highest fourth-year graduation rate. Out of all the university’s graduates, 97% are taking up graduate degrees, pursuing a career, or doing something meaningful a year after completing their undergraduate program.

  1. Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (Edinboro, PA)

The Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is known for its military-friendly designation for degree programs that are made accessible–something the university has earned for the past seven years. It has a 70% student retention rate, 99% acceptance rate, and a $14, 323 net cost.

With its roots dating back to 1857, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania is a four-year educational institution that offers students 10 certificates, 16 graduate degree programs, 123 baccalaureate programs, and 10 associate degree programs.

Set in a 585-acre campus, the university provides students with institutional scholarships worth around $4.7 million. This Middle States Commission on Higher Education-accredited school offers NCAA and PSAC Divisions I and II varsity sports, along with wheelchair basketball for select students.

  1. College of Staten Island (Staten Island, NY)

One of the primary reasons why most students choose the College of Staten Island is student involvement. Unlike other research institutions, the college allows students to conduct various research with faculty. This means they have access to state-of-the-art equipment and high-tech facilities at a much earlier part of their academic journey.

Another reason why the school–which is built in 1976–attracts potential students is its 100% acceptance rate. It has a low net cost of $10,620 and 80% student retention rate.

Sitting on 204 acres of land, College of Staten Island belongs to the 11 four-year senior colleges that are under the City University of New York system. Its campus is also known as the largest single-site for a college in New York City.

Despite its 100% acceptance rate, College of Staten Island offers selective academic programs, undergraduate research opportunities, and learning communities that are categorized into 24 college departments.

Looking for Colleges with the Highest Acceptance Rates: A Final Thought

Waiting for college acceptance letters to arrive at your doorstep or your email can be quite stressful. Whether you see “Congratulations” or “We regret to inform you” at the beginning of those letters largely depends on which school you apply to.

There are some community colleges and state universities that take pride in being highly-selective, while others open their doors for most–if not all–of their applicants. It’s all just a matter of finding which ones you think would match your needs and future plans.

For high school students who are still not sure which state college or university to choose, start by having a strong sense of who you are. What do you need from an educational institution? Where would you want to go in life? Once you’ve figured out these things, selecting a college can be as enjoyable as finding a good pair of shoes–and just as simple.


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