As you decide which colleges you will apply to, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options out there.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 4,360 colleges and universities in the United States.
Even counting only the 2,832 four-year institutions, it still stands that there are far too many schools out there for any student to look into each and every one of them reasonably.
Each individual student will need to think carefully about what they are looking for in a college education in order to eliminate less-than-ideal schools from consideration.
There are many different ways you can go about narrowing down your options. One is to look into average acceptance rates, which can tell you a lot about what you will experience in the admissions process.
Low acceptance rates show that a school’s admissions process is more selective. Some students may look more favorably on colleges with lower acceptance rates, as selectivity is often associated with prestige and, therefore, better academic programs, instructors, resources, and so on.
Although there are certainly reasons that these associations exist, one must remember that correlation does not equal caution; many excellent universities accept almost all — or in some cases, all — students.
Seeking out colleges with higher acceptance rates is a great way to remove some stress from the application process.
For those who have faced personal hardships that have posed a significant barrier to achieving your full academic potential, less selective schools can also provide a crucial opportunity to pursue a higher education — without having to worry about being held back by less-than-perfect high school grades.
Here, we have compiled information about 10 great colleges with some of the highest acceptance rates in the country.
University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, TX)
Established as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy in 1914, the University of Texas at El Paso is a public university offering 169 degree programs, including both undergraduate and graduate programs both online and in person.
UTEP has an acceptance rate of 100%.
One aspect of UTEP that sets it apart from many other schools is its student body: 84% of UTEP students are Hispanic, making this school an excellent choice for Hispanic students who want to connect with others who share their culture.
As of the 2022-23 academic year, UTEP has a total enrollment of over 24,000 students.
The university is also known for its significant achievement in the area of research with annual research expenditures coming to nearly $110 million.
Due to its robust research activity, UTEP has been designated as a R1 research university — a title given to only 5% of collegiate research institutions in the nation.
Dharma Realm Buddhist University (Ukiah, CA)
With a 100% acceptance rate, Dharma Realm Buddhist University is a stellar choice of school for students who are interested in pursuing a less conventional college experience.
The school’s pedagogical philosophy has two central aims. The first of these is simply to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, and the second is to help students awaken the inherent, spiritual wisdom that all people already possess.
In this sense, the school allows one to benefit from academic instruction and coursework — just like any other school — but also to work on developing and strengthening their spiritual identities. The BA curriculum also has a heavy focus on cultural studies, from classical Buddhist texts to Chinese classics and more.
Dharma Realm Buddhist University is a very small school, with just under 50 students enrolled in undergraduate programs.
University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
A public university with an undergraduate enrollment of over 12,000 students, the University of New Mexico is another strong choice of college with a less selective admissions process. To be more precise, according to Niche, the school has an acceptance rate of 96%.
Established in 1889, UNM is the first institution of higher education to be established in the state. It is also the largest public school in the state by enrollment.
UNM is made up of 12 graduate and undergraduate colleges and schools, one of which is a law school. The School of Law at UNM is actually the only law school in New Mexico, making it an excellent choice for students in the area who may be considering pursuing a legal education.
Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA)
Virginia Commonwealth University, a public school with over 20,000 undergraduate students, is another amazing school with a minimally selective admissions process.
With an acceptance rate of 93%, VCU is a bit selective, but it can still be said that they generally offer admission to the vast majority of applicants.
Despite the relatively large size of the VCU student body, the school still manages to maintain a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1.
In addition, nearly 50% of classes at the school have 20 or fewer students, allowing students to get to know their professors and classmates in a relatively intimate learning environment.
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
A prominent public research university that was established in 1850, the University of Utah is the flagship institution of the Utah System of Higher Education.
Over the course of its 170+ year-long history, the school has established a reputation in not only the state, but also the entire country.
According to some sources, the University of Utah offers admission to nearly all students who apply to the school. With an acceptance rate of around 95%, it can be said that the college is quite minimally selective.
Of its more than 100 undergraduate and 90 graduate degree programs, Utah is perhaps most well-known for its outstanding online programs. In fact, the school has been ranked #1 in the US in terms of best online bachelor’s programs.
Kansas State University (Manhattan, KS)
The university has four campuses across the state of campus, with the main campus in Manhattan being the largest.
The Manhattan campus spans more than 2,300 and features numerous recently-renovated academic spaces, research labs, agricultural facilities, and more.
In addition, there are 10 different residence halls from which students may choose. While freshmen are required to live on campus for their first-year of study, students are free to live off-campus in following years, if they so desire.
In 2023, K-State was ranked as the #19 college in the country in terms of best student residence halls.
With a first-year retention rate of 87%, it can be said that students who choose K-State are, by and large, very happy at the school.
University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
With an acceptance rate of 94%, the University of Kentucky is another excellent state school with a less selective admissions process.
It is the #137 best university in the country, according to the 2023 edition of US News and World Report’s annual college rankings
In 2021, the school received a total of 21,695 first-year applications. From this pool of applicants, 20,396 students were selected for admission to Kentucky’s first-year class of 2025.
On top of their high acceptance rate, another convenient aspect of U Kentucky’s application process is the fact that the school requires neither SAT nor ACT scores in order for students to be considered for admission.
It should be noted, however, the school considers GPA one of the most important factors in making admission decisions. The average high school GPA of students admitted to the University of Kentucky is 3.6.
University of Maine (Orono, ME)
The University of Maine is a public university that was established in 1865. The school has an undergraduate enrollment of about 9,500 students as of the fall of 2021.
Spanning around 660 acres, U Maine’s vast main campus is rural, with several university-operated facilities spread out across the state of Maine.
University of Maine has an acceptance rate of 96%, placing it among the least selective colleges in the country.
The school is perhaps most well-known for its outstanding research output. In fact, U of Maine has been designated as a Carnegie R1 research university, meaning that it is within the top 5% of colleges in the country for its research programs.
According to Princeton Review, U Maine is among the top 50 most sustainable colleges in the United States.
Granite State College (Concord, NH)
A small public college with just under 800 undergraduate students, Granite State College is one of the least selective schools in the country with an acceptance rate of 100%.
To be considered for admission to Granite State College, students will not need to submit standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT. On top of that, there is no fee for applying to the school.
Although Granite State is not as highly-revered academically as many of the other schools on this list, there are many perks to attending the school.
For example, according to Niche, Granite State College is ranked #48 in the country in terms of safest college campuses.
All of GSC’s programs can be taken online, offering great flexibility.
It is also one of the best colleges to attend for non-traditional students. The majority of students at the school are adults beyond typical college age.
University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY)
Founded in 1886, the University of Wyoming is a public university offering over 200 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. The school has an acceptance rate of 94%.
According to Niche’s annual list of the best colleges in the United States for 2023, University of Wyoming is ranked #200 in the nation.
One of the biggest perks of attending the University of Wyoming is its picturesque location. Mature spruces and granite boulders abound on the school’s campus, which sits along the beautiful Laramie River.
The school boasts a student-to-faculty ratio of just 12:1, so students at the school can get to know their classmates and receive ample academic support from instructors.