Which Online Colleges have High Acceptance Rates?

Find Open Admission Schools with Distance Learning

Some aspects of students’ academic history don’t accurately reflect their academic and professional ability. Does the fact that one student has an SAT or GPA in the top 25th percentile mean they’re 25 percent smarter or have a 25 percent better chance of succeeding than students not in that group? Of course not. But it can often feel as though both traditional and online colleges treat their applicants that way.

Many of today’s online colleges with high acceptance rates understand there’s more to professional and personal success than grades or standardized test scores. They also recognize that many students face unique challenges that the “typical” college applicant might not encounter — a family setback or financial windfall that made the first crack at college unsuccessful. As a result, some colleges, especially those with online programs, have less stringent requirements for admission. Read on to learn which online colleges have high acceptance rates, how it works, and what it could mean for you.

a2g0fcoe36tx1hmxdv-holder”> 

What Makes a College Easy to Get Into? Points to Consider

  • What are the acceptance rates?
    A school’s acceptance rate is the number of students accepted divided by the total number of applicants. For example, if 10,000 applicants apply to a college and that college sends out 1,000 acceptance letters, its acceptance rate would be 10 percent.A school with a lower acceptance rate means that all else being equal, it will be harder to get into than a school with a higher acceptance rate. However, a school with a low acceptance rate doesn’t necessary mean it’s a more prestigious school or that the quality of its education is better than a school with a higher acceptance rate.
  • What’s the difference in schools with high or low admittance rates?
    The answer depends on the school’s popularity and recruitment goals. Prestigious schools often have low acceptance rates, such 20 percent or less, because so many students (and parents) are enamored with graduating from these storied institutions. Conventional wisdom states that a school with a lower acceptance rate is “better” than a school with a higher acceptance rate. “Better” usually means more prestigious and a higher quality education, but this isn’t always the case.Occasionally, a school with an acceptance rate in the ballpark of Ivy League schools has a low acceptance rate because it receives an unusually large number of applications. Other times, a school chooses to accept fewer students than it’s capable of educating in an attempt to play the “numbers game” and increase its college ranking.And the opposite is also true. A school with a high acceptance rate doesn’t necessary mean it provides a low-quality education or its graduates have poor job prospects after graduation. Many schools gladly accept as many students as possible (or up to a certain point) in the hopes of giving as many students as possible the opportunity to earn a college degree and achieve their goals.
  • What is an open-door policy?
    This is a recruitment policy in which a college or university will accept any applicant who has the ability to pay tuition. One reasoning behind this policy is to provide everyone the opportunity to get a college education if they have the ability to pay for it.
  • What is open admission?
    An open admission policy (also called an open enrollment, open acceptance or automatic acceptance) means the college or university has a non-competitive admission process. In most schools with open admissions, the only admissions requirement is that the applicant earned a high school diploma or GED. However, many schools that are open admission will have a modified policy where an applicant is guaranteed admission if they meet certain basic minimum academic requirements.
  • Can a school have a 100 percent acceptance rate but not open admission?
    Yes, this is possible. Open admission means any applicant with a high school diploma or GED will be accepted. But just because a student is accepted doesn’t mean they can take any course or enter any program they would like.For example, some schools that accept every applicant may have the more popular courses fill up quickly, resulting in some students having to wait until a different semester to take a specific class. Also, some schools will accept every student into the school, but a specific program, such as nursing, may require students to meet specific GPA or standardized testing minimums.

What are the Benefits of Open Admission?

There are several benefits to open admission policies from the applicant’s perspective. Here are a few possible reasons to find a school with open admission:


  • Easy to apply

    Applying to a college with an open admission policy is usually as simple as filling out an application and providing proof of a high school diploma or GED. Sometimes a minimum GPA or test score will be required to guarantee admission in an open admission institution. Compare this to the typical college application process – in addition to the above-mentioned items, most applications also require a high school transcript, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, interview and personal statement.


  • Cheaper to apply

    Many schools who have open admission do not charge an application fee, or their application fees are lower than many other schools.


  • Cheaper to attend

    Many open admission schools are community colleges. Compared to four-year colleges and universities, community colleges have a much lower tuition rate for students. Many schools offer online programs with open admissions as well. Going to school online is often cheaper than going to a traditional, on-campus school.


  • Guaranteed college opportunity

    With an almost guaranteed acceptance, many students have the opportunity to obtain a college degree, even if they don’t have the best academic record or personal history. A low GPA or poor standardized test scores might otherwise prevent a student from attending college, despite the fact that they truly have what it takes to succeed. With open admission, anyone with the will to go to college will have the opportunity to get a college degree. Ironically, individuals with the greatest need for a college degree are those least able to get accepted to a college. Open admissions policies seek to address this problem.


  • Less stress

    With an easier and less involved application process, students are under less pressure to get accepted or put forth the best college application possible. And once they enroll, the academic pressures to get the highest grades possible and surpass fellow classmates will be less. Students are still encouraged to get the highest grades possible, of course, but there is less of a “cutthroat” atmosphere among the students.


  • Stepping stone to a four-year college

    Most community colleges have open admissions and serve as a transfer feeder school for nearby four-year colleges and universities. Many high school students who may not have the money or academic record to go straight to a nearby college after graduating high school can attend the local two-year community college for a lower tuition and obtain college credits. After two years, they can transfer to the four-year school, taking their credits with them.


  • More diverse student body

    Since open admission colleges might accept students who don’t or can’t enroll in a traditional college, the student body tends to be more varied. It’s more likely to have students who are working, with children or come from more disadvantaged backgrounds.


Who Benefits from Online Universities and Schools Offering Open Acceptance?

  • Without a crystal ball, there’s no way for the college admissions officer to know for sure if a prospective student will succeed in college. In an attempt to make this prediction, an admissions officer will look at other factors, such as GPA, standardized test scores and history of extracurricular activities.
  • Just because an applicant didn’t earn a high GPA, get stellar test scores or serve as class president doesn’t mean they can’t do well in college. For example, statistics from College Board, the official entity of the SAT, have shown that students who come from wealthier families get higher SAT scores. But common sense tells us that how much money your family has shouldn’t dictate if you’re allowed to get a college degree. Therefore, the primary beneficiaries of attending colleges and universities that have open admissions are often disadvantaged students.
  • Whether the disadvantage is based on upbringing, financial ability or family responsibilities, there are a variety of reasons a student is capable of earning a college degree but doesn’t have the academic record to reflect this fact. Maybe a student didn’t have a great GPA because they had to help raise their younger siblings. Maybe a student became a single parent at a very early age and had to work a full-time job while trying to complete school. Perhaps a student didn’t have the benefit of parents who could afford to pay for SAT prep classes and private tutors. Whatever the reason, schools with open admission policies try to eliminate these differences in upbringing to provide an opportunity to all who desire a college education.

Find Online Schools with Open Admissions & 100 Percent Acceptance

It’s not always easy to find out which schools have open admission policies. To help, we’ve compiled a list of schools offering online learning opportunities, open admissions and 100 percent acceptance with graduation rates of at least 20 percent.


  • Allen University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 28.2% Total Price $20,300 State SC Size 640 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Atlantic University College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 34.5% Total Price N/A State PR Size 1,132 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Baker College of Owosso


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20% Total Price $20,100 State MI Size 2,079 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Bellevue University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 29.4% Total Price N/A State NE Size 5,521 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Benedict College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 31% Total Price $30,458 State SC Size 2,484 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Boricua College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 50% Total Price N/A State NY Size 1,050 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Briar Cliff University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 46.8% Total Price $38,726 State IA Size 913 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Cameron University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 23.4% Total Price $15,337 State OK Size 4,179 Sector Public
  • Chadron State College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 36.2% Total Price $16,440 State NE Size 1,992 Sector Public
  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 25.7% Total Price $21,716 State PA Size 1,136 Sector Public
  • College America-Colorado Springs


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 31.1% Total Price N/A State CO Size 322 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • College America-Flagstaff


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 26.7% Total Price N/A State AZ Size 209 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Columbia College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 37.6% Total Price $21,833 State MO Size 11,627 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Concordia College Alabama


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20.5% Total Price $18,330 State AL Size 562 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Criswell College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 33.3% Total Price N/A State TX Size 170 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Dalton State College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20.4% Total Price $13,970 State GA Size 3,701 Sector Public
  • Dixie State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 22.4% Total Price $19,743 State UT Size 6,227 Sector Public
  • Faulkner University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 29.8% Total Price $31,010 State AL Size 2,074 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Georgia Gwinnett College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 26.6% Total Price $21,686 State GA Size 7,794 Sector Public
  • Granite State College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 21.4% Total Price N/A State NH Size 1,186 Sector Public
  • Great Lakes Christian College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 25% Total Price $25,705 State MI Size 160 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Harrisburg University of Science and Technology


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 21.2% Total Price $37,800 State PA Size 277 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Heidelberg University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 47% Total Price $38,154 State OH Size 1,072 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Humphreys College-Stockton and Modesto Campuses


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 77.4% Total Price N/A State CA Size 520 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Idaho State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 29.8% Total Price $21,068 State ID Size 8,483 Sector Public
  • Kent State University at Salem


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20.6% Total Price N/A State OH Size 1,083 Sector Public
  • Lincoln University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 24.6% Total Price $16,421 State MO Size 2,213 Sector Public
  • Lindsey Wilson College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 34.2% Total Price $36,613 State KY Size 2,134 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Martin Methodist College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 44.9% Total Price $33,472 State TN Size 1,059 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Mayville State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 41.6% Total Price $16,445 State ND Size 737 Sector Public
  • Miami University-Hamilton


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 26.4% Total Price N/A State OH Size 2,888 Sector Public
  • Mid-America Christian University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 38.5% Total Price $27,418 State OK Size 2,084 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Miles College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20% Total Price $22,318 State AL Size 1,607 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Missouri Western State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 34.7% Total Price $18,025 State MO Size 4,502 Sector Public
  • Montana State University-Billings


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 23.6% Total Price $17,835 State MT Size 3,596 Sector Public
  • Montserrat College of Art


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 52.5% Total Price $39,670 State MA Size 383 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Morris College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 30.8% Total Price $21,481 State SC Size 819 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • National University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 46.2% Total Price N/A State CA Size 5,841 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Nebraska Christian College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 21.1% Total Price $23,450 State NE Size 134 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • New Hampshire Institute of Art


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 52.5% Total Price $35,060 State NH Size 432 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Ohio State University-Lima Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 33.3% Total Price N/A State OH Size 934 Sector Public
  • Ohio State University-Mansfield Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 41.6% Total Price $22,036 State OH Size 1,030 Sector Public
  • Ohio State University-Marion Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 42.8% Total Price N/A State OH Size 1,047 Sector Public
  • Ohio State University-Newark Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 39.2% Total Price $22,036 State OH Size 2,010 Sector Public
  • Ohio University-Eastern Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 40% Total Price N/A State OH Size 664 Sector Public
  • Ohio University-Lancaster Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20.1% Total Price N/A State OH Size 1,680 Sector Public
  • Ohio University-Zanesville Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 28% Total Price N/A State OH Size 1,271 Sector Public
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 40.3% Total Price $30,193 State PA Size 5,075 Sector Public
  • Peru State College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 36.7% Total Price $16,556 State NE Size 1,510 Sector Public
  • Philander Smith College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 38.6% Total Price $24,986 State AR Size 534 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Ranken Technical College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 37.9% Total Price $25,239 State MO Size 1,574 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Salish Kootenai College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 25.6% Total Price $16,779 State MT Size 744 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Shawnee State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 26.5% Total Price $21,451 State OH Size 3,842 Sector Public
  • Sierra Nevada College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 45.9% Total Price $45,759 State NV Size 494 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Sojourner-Douglass College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20% Total Price N/A State MD Size 699 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Southern Nazarene University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 46% Total Price $32,844 State OK Size 1,670 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Stevens-Henager College-Logan


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 28.7% Total Price N/A State UT Size 140 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Talladega College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 44.3% Total Price $21,296 State AL Size 877 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Tennessee State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 40.5% Total Price $17,693 State TN Size 5,890 Sector Public
  • The University of Montana-Western


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 54.2% Total Price $15,386 State MT Size 1,282 Sector Public
  • The University of Texas at Brownsville


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 26% Total Price $13,842 State TX Size 7,616 Sector Public
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 71.9% Total Price N/A State NY Size 958 Sector Public
  • University of Alaska Anchorage


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 27.6% Total Price $18,620 State AK Size 10,579 Sector Public
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 42.3% Total Price $16,484 State AK Size 5,099 Sector Public
  • University of Arkansas at Monticello


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 25.1% Total Price $16,427 State AR Size 2,887 Sector Public
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 45.7% Total Price $18,276 State ME Size 900 Sector Public
  • University of Northwestern Ohio


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 31.3% Total Price $22,015 State OH Size 3,794 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • University of Rio Grande


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 24.9% Total Price $35,008 State OH Size 1,936 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Urbana University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 35.8% Total Price $31,686 State OH Size 1,031 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Utah Valley University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 24.8% Total Price N/A State UT Size 20,624 Sector Public
  • Vincennes University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 26.5% Total Price $17,741 State IN Size 10,160 Sector Public
  • Virginia University of Lynchburg


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 39.1% Total Price $22,657 State VA Size 337 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Warner Pacific College Adult Degree Program


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 40.9% Total Price N/A State OR Size 857 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Washburn University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 34.5% Total Price $17,403 State KS Size 4,774 Sector Public
  • Wayne State College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 48.5% Total Price $15,500 State NE Size 2,820 Sector Public
  • Weber State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 34.9% Total Price $19,242 State UT Size 15,419 Sector Public
  • Welch College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 38.1% Total Price $26,444 State TN Size 269 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • West Virginia University at Parkersburg


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 29.5% Total Price N/A State WV Size 2,572 Sector Public
  • Western New Mexico University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 22.3% Total Price $20,803 State NM Size 1,956 Sector Public
  • Wiley College


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 20% Total Price $21,598 State TX Size 1,347 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Wilmington University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 28.3% Total Price N/A State DE Size 5,210 Sector Private not-for-profit
  • Wright State University-Lake Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 33.3% Total Price $16,010 State OH Size 851 Sector Public
  • Wright State University-Main Campus


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 38.9% Total Price $22,438 State OH Size 10,923 Sector Public
  • Youngstown State University


    2014 6-Year Grad Rate 33.5% Total Price $20,343 State OH Size 10,337 Sector Public

Admission Requirements for High Acceptance Schools

To attend an open admission school, a prospective student may still need to do certain things besides completing an application, including:

  1. Provide proof they have a high school diploma or GED. An official high school transcript or official copy of GED test scores should work just fine.
  2. Depending on the school, taking placement exams to measure the status of their current academic ability and knowledge. Schools require these exams to see if students need to first take remedial classes before they can take college level courses. Even though a student may have a high school diploma, it may have been several years or more since they last took algebra or wrote a paper.
  3. Adherence to deadlines. Unless the specific school has rolling admissions, there will be a deadline by which a completed application must be submitted. Open admission schools will be very strict about enforcing these deadlines because of the often-high number of applicants who apply to their school.
  4. If a student is not a US citizen, a school may require additional documentation to prove the student is a legal resident or student visitor in the country. To prove they possess a requisite level of English proficiency, they might have to take a special exam.
  5. Once in school, the student may have to maintain a certain level of academic progress to take certain courses or enter specific programs.

Achieving Academic Success at an Open Admissions College

  • The thing that separates students near the top of their class and students near the bottom isn’t intelligence. Rather, it’s the ability to put forth the effort required to succeed. This includes a strong commitment that results in showing up to class on time, completing all assignments, and always being aware of what’s currently required.
  • If a student doesn’t succeed in college, it’s almost never about brainpower. Even in situations where a student is struggling in a class but doesn’t know what to do to improve, a devoted student will seek assistance from the school’s academic resources, fellow classmates or the professor.
  • Other students fail simply because they adopt a “who cares” mindset. Whether it’s too much partying to deciding to skip class or not turn in an assignment, many students indirectly choose not to reach their full college potential.
  • Some students don’t achieve their college goals due to outside forces they have little control over. Perhaps it’s a family emergency that takes a student’s time and attention away from studying. Maybe it’s an unexpected bill that forces the student to choose between paying rent or paying tuition. Or the student might be a single parent with child-raising responsibilities that prevent them from attending each class.

Where to Get Help to Succeed

Many schools have resources available to help students overcome these challenges. Mentoring or tutoring programs, developmental classes, professor office hours, career services and on-campus childcare are just a few things available to students to help them learn and succeed in college.

  • Developmental Classes
    Incoming students may be upset that they’re forced to take remedial classes in subjects and topics that don’t count toward their chosen area of study. However, taking these classes is almost always in the student’s best interest, as it reinforces the educational foundation the student already has and ensures they can understand what they will learn in college level courses.
  • Career Services
    Making the most of a school’s career services office is very important. Few schools will have a career services office that can singlehandedly find a job for a student, but they can dramatically improve the student’s chances of being successful job hunters. For example, they can help with improving resumes and interview techniques or put the student in touch with alumni in fields and companies that the student is interested in working in. Despite all this assistance, it still takes the student’s effort to meet with a career services advisor, to spend time polishing a resume or make that contact with an alumnus.

Are Open Admission Colleges Bad?

One of the perceived drawbacks of open admission colleges is that they allow students to enroll in college when they have no realistic chance of completing a college program. This is one reason why traditional colleges and universities have admission standards; they want to make students will be able to meet the academic requirements of that school.

When schools have admission, anyone can enroll – even students who aren’t ready for the rigors of college courses. While this has its drawbacks, remember that traditional academic standards for college acceptance often inadvertently stop students from attending a school where they might excel.

To avoid enrolling in college but being unable to meet the academic standards required, students need to understand what they’re getting into. Just because a school allows everyone to be accepted doesn’t mean everyone will be able to finish their chosen program. They still need to expect a great deal of hard work and put forth the effort to meet their course requirements.

Remember, just because a student has a GED or high school diploma does not mean they automatically have the academic training to succeed in college. Incoming students must understand that a sheet of paper or credential doesn’t help them get a college degree. Rather, it’s their hard work, dedication and ability to perform at the necessary academic level that will help them graduate from college.

Latest Posts

See All Posts
Navigating College Financials During a Pandemic

Navigating College Financials During a Pandemic

November 12, 2020   |   Staff Writers

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life for everyone. The pandemic has also created new financial burdens for college students. Many degree-seekers find themselves wondering how to afford college during a...

Online Sales Management Schools

Online Sales Management Schools

November 3, 2020   |   Staff Writers

An online bachelor's degree in sales management prepares learners to join the fast-paced and lucrative world of sales. Whether you sell goods or services, the skills gained in these programs...

Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Search for Online Colleges by Subject

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.