by Ashley Cullins |September 7, 2022
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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.
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Rolling admission means colleges review applications as they're sent in; there is no hard deadline by which you need to submit your application. In contrast, schools with a regular decision policy require you to submit your application by a certain deadline -- usually in late December or January.How many colleges can you apply early decision to? ›
You can apply early decision to only 1 college. If the college accepts you and offers enough financial aid, you must go to that college. That's why these plans are referred to as “binding.” Some colleges have 2 early deadlines, called early decision deadline I and early decision deadline II.How long does a college essay have to be? ›
If your institution doesn't provide a specific word count, it's best to keep your essay between the length established by the longer college admissions essay format: 250 to 650 words. Word count is just one factor to consider as you craft your college admissions essay.What is the difference between early action and early decision? ›
Early decision plans are binding: A student who is accepted as an ED applicant must attend the college. Early action plans are nonbinding: Students receive an early response to their application but do not have to commit to the college until the normal reply date of May 1.Is rolling admission harder to get into? ›
A rolling admissions process will usually still have a final deadline. A rolling admissions process is not easier than a regular admissions process, so you still need to craft a strong application. You should also consider deadlines for housing and financial aid when choosing when to submit your application.Is it better to apply regular or rolling admission? ›
Rolling admission colleges begin taking applications as early as July and continue as late as April. Your chances of admission will be much stronger early on when there are more spaces left to fill, so it's a smart idea to submit your rolling applications before working on your regular decision apps.What happens if you get accepted to 2 early decisions? ›
Since Early Decision is binding, you cannot, in good conscience, apply to more than one school using this method for college applications. If you do and are caught, it could result in both schools withdrawing their offers of acceptance. You can, however, apply to other colleges using Early Action.Can I accept a college offer and then reject? ›
Certainly! From the day you accept your acceptance offer to the day of your graduation, you can choose to no longer attend the university you're currently at. This is even true for those who accept an early decision acceptance offer, which are usually binding.Does early action increase chances? ›
Generally speaking, early action programs do not significantly increase your child's odds of getting into colleges, especially at highly selective schools. They simply allow your child to find out sooner whether or not they've gotten in.What is a good essay for college application? ›
- Write about something that's important to you. ...
- Don't just recount—reflect! ...
- Being funny is tough. ...
- Start early and write several drafts. ...
- No repeats. ...
- Answer the question being asked. ...
- Have at least one other person edit your essay.
- A unique, personally meaningful topic.
- A memorable introduction with vivid imagery or an intriguing hook.
- Specific stories and language that show instead of telling.
- Vulnerability that's authentic but not aimed at soliciting sympathy.
Rarely will you see a word limit higher than around 650 words (over one single-spaced page). College essays are usually pretty short: between 150 and 650 words. Admissions officers have to read a lot of them, after all! Weigh your words carefully, because they are limited!What happens if you get accepted to college but don't go? ›
Most college acceptances have a kind of “expiration date” to them. For example, if you do not formally commit to attending the school by submitting a deposit, then your acceptance will be canceled for the year in which you applied. Schools will also rescind any financial aid packages they offered you.Do colleges prefer early decision or early action? ›
You May Have a Higher Chance of Getting Accepted
Research from the National Association for College Admission Counseling found that applying early decision can raise your chances of getting accepted.
Unlike early decision, you won't have to commit to a particular school under the early action pathway. Therefore, there isn't much of a downside to applying as an early action candidate as long as your application is well-prepared and as strong as it can possibly be.What is the hardest college to apply to? ›
Niche, a ranking and review site, recently published its list of the “2023 Hardest Colleges to Get Into.” Using data from the U.S. Department of Education on various colleges' acceptance rates and SAT/ACT scores, they found, unsurprisingly, Harvard University to be the most difficult college to get into.What is the hardest college to get admitted? ›
Stanford University is one of the hardest colleges to get into in the US. Every year, thousands of hopeful students apply here, and a small handful gets in — as few as 4%. According to the university's website, it says their admissions team practises a holistic approach.What is the required GPA to gain admissions? ›
California residents and graduates of California high schools will be eligible for admission by earning a 2.50 or greater “a-g” GPA.What are the disadvantages of rolling admissions? ›
Perhaps the most damaging possible result of a permanent rolling admission process is the perception that your school isn't selective at all—you're just enrolling students for the sake of filling seats. A rolling admission process locks both school and family into potentially premature decisions.What are the cons of rolling admissions? ›
Disadvantage: Rolling Admissions Can Make You Choose Early
Other schools might expect an early response if they give you an early acceptance, though. You aren't required to commit, no matter what, but you may not have time to wait and hear back from every other school you've applied to.
Rolling admissions works on a “first come first served” basis, and at this point you're likely one of the latecomers. That doesn't mean there's no food left at the table, though! You just want to make certain that you aren't any later than you absolutely have to be.What happens if you get accepted early decision but can t afford it? ›
Admitted students who can't afford the cost of attendance can often back out of their early decision contracts without penalty. Alternatively, you may be able to negotiate for more aid by contacting the school's financial aid office and informing them of your situation.Does anyone get rejected from early decision? ›
You may not apply to more than one college under early decision. If you are not accepted, you will either be rejected or deferred. Rejected applicants may not apply again that year. Deferred applicants will be reconsidered during the regular admission period, and are free to apply to other schools.What happens if you get accepted to early decision and don t go? ›
Nothing, If You Back Out With Good Reason
Yes, early decision is binding. However, if you have a good reason for backing out of an early decision offer from a college, the school will often let you leave without penalty. A common reason for being released from the offer is due to finances.
While there is some anecdotal evidence that overqualified students get rejected, these students aren't usually turned down because of their better-than-average grades or test scores. Most likely, the overqualified student isn't the right fit for a school or they haven't shown enough interest to admission officers.Can colleges take back their offer? ›
Yes, colleges can revoke an acceptance offer any time, including after admitted students put down their deposit. Most revoked admission offers occur between May 1 and the start of the fall semester.Do I need to tell colleges I'm not going there? ›
It's not required to tell a college you're not attending. But aside from being the courteous thing to do, informing the school also frees up the financial aid that has been reserved for you so that another freshman can benefit from it.Is it harder to get in early action or regular decision? ›
This means that the average student is more likely to get in when they apply early decision than when the same student applies regular decision to the same school. On average, applying ED is going to result in a 1.6x or a 60% increase in your chances of admission to super selective schools.Is it harder to get in early action than regular decision? ›
Typically, early admission rates are higher than regular or overall admission rates for most schools. At some schools, the admission rate can be substantially better for early admission candidates.What grades do early action look at? ›
But what happens if you've applied to college as an Early Decision or Early Action applicant? Most colleges will still want to be sent grades from your first quarter of senior year. However, their decision to accept or reject you into their institution will have already been made based on your grades from junior year.
You can use first-person pronouns in your essays, but you probably shouldn't.What is the most common college essay? ›
The Personal Statement
The most common type of essay you'll encounter is a personal statement for college. For most applications, you'll choose from a selection of prompts and write a longer essay (500 – 800 words) that speaks to your experiences, identity, and goals.
- An opening hook to catch the reader's attention.
- Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
- A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.
- Choose a topic that appeals to YOU. Write about something you know, and write in your own voice. ...
- Brainstorm! ...
- Write more than one draft. ...
- Use a strong opening, an interesting middle, and a good conclusion. ...
- Ask a friend, teacher, or parent to read your second draft.
The end of your college essay should be strong, clear, and impactful. You can talk about your future goals, end in a moment of action, what you've learned, or go full circle. Whatever method you choose, make sure to avoid summarizing your essay.How many paragraphs should a college essay be? ›
There is no set number of paragraphs in a college admissions essay. College admissions essays can diverge from the traditional five-paragraph essay structure that you learned in English class. Just make sure to stay under the specified word count.Do colleges look at word count for essays? ›
Most college application portals specify a word count range for your essay, and you should stay within 10% of the upper limit. If no word count is specified, we advise keeping your essay between 400 and 600 words. You should aim to stay under the specified limit to show you can follow directions and write concisely.Can I use bad words in my college essay? ›
Avoid swearing in a college essay, since admissions officers' opinions of profanity will vary. In some cases, it might be okay to use a vulgar word, such as in dialogue or quotes that make an important point in your essay. However, it's safest to try to make the same point without swearing.How long does it take for a college to reject you? ›
Every college has its own timeline for evaluating student applications. It's not unusual for a college's application process to take four to six weeks.Is it normal to get rejected from a college? ›
Many of the country's most elite universities accept fewer than 1 in 10 applicants each year. Students should understand that college rejection is a normal part of the process. If you get rejected, take time to grieve — but try to get excited about other schools, too.
Double depositing means putting down a deposit, and thus accepting admission, at more than one college. Since a student can't attend multiple colleges, it is considered unethical.
Applying early can be a good idea if you're sure about which college you want to attend. That means you've researched its programs and, if possible, visited its campus. But think twice about applying early if: You want to compare admission and financial aid offers from several colleges.Why doesn t everyone apply early action? ›
Pro: Applying Early Means You're Competing with a Smaller Applicant Pool. Most students don't apply early. They have too many things going on, or they aren't sure where they want to go, or a multitude of other reasons. So you'll be competing among (maybe) hundreds or less rather than thousands.Is early action more expensive? ›
For many students, one of the main appeals of applying early is receiving an admission decision earlier, typically by December or January. The admission rates in the early application pool also tend to be higher, even though the pool is typically more competitive than the regular round.Does early action hurt financial aid? ›
Is applying early decision right for you? Most experts agree that ED offers higher odds of getting accepted into a school. But applying early decision also prevents you from comparing multiple financial aid packages.Does early action give scholarships? ›
Therefore, scholarship offers can sometimes be more generous to EA applicants than those applying as part of the normal cycle. Further, unlike with Early Decision, EA applications have the advantage of being able to apply to any other school they please if the offer of aid is less-than-satisfactory.How many colleges can you apply early action? ›
How many colleges can you apply to early action? In most cases, you can apply early action to as many schools as you want. Early action is a non-binding application, and you're free to turn down any school you apply early action to and get accepted by.How fast do rolling admissions work? ›
With rolling admissions, you can find out if you have been accepted within 4-6 weeks of applying. Some colleges with rolling admission boast even a faster turnaround: 2-3 weeks! This timeliness allows you to make a decision on college earlier than you otherwise would.Is rolling admission worth it? ›
If you want a decision early, so you can base the rest of your college applications around it, rolling admissions is a great choice. If you know the school you want to get into early on in your college admissions process, it is an option right there alongside early action and early decision.How long does it take for a college to accept or reject you? ›
Every college has its own timeline for evaluating student applications. It's not unusual for a college's application process to take four to six weeks. Colleges that have an application portal allow students to go online to check the status of their applications at any time.
If you apply to a rolling decision school, you can still apply to other RD/EA schools.What are the early signs that you have been accepted into a university? ›
The early 'sign' would be a letter to you that you have been accepted, or wait-listed or rejected. In some rare cases, you may get a phone call from the college, because of a mishap with their computer or some process that will delay an announcement.Does applying late hurt your chances? ›
Yes. The later you apply, the less likely your application will be accepted, as open slots for a program or class have gradually filled up as time passes by. Even if you're submitting before the deadline, it's better to submit it as early as you can, just in case you run into any situations that might cost extra time.What is the difference between rolling admission and priority deadline? ›
While rolling admissions give students more time to apply, priority deadlines make it easier for those schools to begin forming their freshman classes by encouraging more early applications.Does rolling admission mean commitment? ›
You must commit to that one school and withdraw any other applications you may have sent. Regular decision schools usually require apps to come in by January or February (again, for the upcoming fall).Do college admissions ever make mistakes? ›
“In some ways it is. Admissions officers, no matter the office, are making decisions about applicants. But in the same note they have to manage a huge database of information.” Admissions officers are still human, and they make mistakes, no matter how badly they wish they didn't.Which is better early action or rolling admission? ›
Compared to early action or early decision, rolling admissions can be a great, non-binding option to hear back from colleges early. As you apply to multiple colleges, start with your applications for rolling admissions schools. You'll get a college decision from those choices sooner.Do college admissions make mistakes? ›
Even with a seemingly perfect college application, there is a chance that some of the schools to which you apply will reject you. It's pretty rare that a student gets into every college on the list. For this reason, we recommend that students create a balanced college list to ensure the best results.Which medical schools don t use rolling admissions? ›
- Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
- Duke University School of Medicine.
- Harvard Medical School.
- Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
- University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
- Yale Medical School.
“Rolling admission” means that a school doesn't have a hard deadline for applications. Instead, they evaluate applications as they come in, until they've filled a class. Many colleges and universities offer rolling admissions to students. And rolling admissions offer you more flexibility.
Once a student has submitted their application, there is no way for the student to change the decision plan within their account. Consequently, there is no way to trigger an Early Decision Agreement for your college.