The Easiest Colleges to Get Into If You're a B or C Student
Guess what? The easiest colleges to get into are sometimes the best places to get an education. That may sound counter-intuitive (or even like sacrilege), but it's often true. You don't need to attend an Ivy League school in order to build a great foundation for a successful future. In fact, even universities, vocational schools, and colleges that accept 2.0-GPA students are capable of producing graduates who can compete with (or out-perform) high academic achievers in real work settings.
That's why it's a smart idea to keep pushing forward in pursuit of your goals. Even if you've had poor grades or other academic challenges, you still deserve an opportunity to keep growing and learning. You deserve a fresh start and a chance to receive guidance from educators who recognize your true potential.
Thankfully, it's often easy to find colleges that accept low GPAs (grade point averages) and that don't care much, if at all, about your ACT or SAT scores. After all, many schools want students who are willing to work hard and prove their doubters wrong. They want students who may not necessarily feel special or gifted but who have the motivation to challenge and exceed their own expectations.
And here's the kicker: You don't have to sacrifice quality. Most colleges and universities in America are not household names. But most of them still provide good learning experiences. In fact, many successful people would argue that where you go to school matters a lot less than what you do when you're there. If you attend college—any college—with the aim of learning as much as possible, then you'll be well on your way to making your ambitions come true.
So keep moving ahead with confidence. Check out the rest of this article, and don't hesitate to explore good colleges with high acceptance rates. You'll discover more about:
- The benefits of vocational colleges with open admissions
- Traditional four-year colleges and universities with the highest acceptance rates and no SAT or ACT requirements
- Other traditional four-year schools that consider B or C students
- The problem with college prestige and selectivity
- 6 tips for applying to college as a B or C student
The Benefits of Vocational Colleges With Open Admissions
Believe it or not, plenty of good post-secondary schools in the U.S. will accept almost any student who has a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent credential. They don't base admission on grades or standardized test scores. As long as you meet their minimum requirements and have the ability to benefit from the education they offer, you're likely to be welcomed with open arms.
In fact, when you compare different schooling options, the easiest college to get into will nearly always be the one with the simplest open admissions policy. Many community colleges around the country operate that way. But so do a lot of the nation's private vocational schools and online colleges.
Plus, choosing a vocational school with open admissions can provide a lot of advantages that you might not get with a more traditional college or university. For example, you may get to benefit from:
- Taking classes closer to home (or even from home)
- A more career-focused curriculum that actually prepares you for employment
- Classes that are more streamlined and take less time to complete
- Opportunities to focus on just one course at any given time
- Smaller class sizes and more personalized attention from instructors
- The option of taking day, evening, or weekend classes
- The chance to practice what you learn in skills labs that simulate real-world job settings
- Access to mentoring and help with your job search after graduation
Of course, many vocational colleges also provide the chance to choose which kind of credential to pursue. You can decide whether to earn a career-specific certificate, diploma, associate degree, or bachelor's degree. Some vocational schools even offer graduate degree programs. That variety of options is frequently a huge benefit since it allows you to choose a path that truly meets your goals. (For instance, if you want the opportunity to start earning money in a new career as soon as possible, then you can choose the shortest program option.)
The incredible variety of vocational colleges is too huge to list here, but it's easy to find out where they are. Use our convenient school finder to quickly discover great options based on your zip code. Or, to get a brief idea of the types of schools you can find, check out these examples:
- The Art Institutes
- Ashford University
- Brightwood College
- Rasmussen College
- Salem International University
Traditional 4-Year Colleges & Universities With the Highest Acceptance Rates and No SAT or ACT Requirements
Do you have your mind set on attending a traditional four-year college or university? Many students do. And that's perfectly OK, so long as you've given ample consideration to alternatives like those above. After all, getting a good education starts with figuring out which type of school provides the best fit for your goals and personality. Fortunately, in this category, the colleges with the highest acceptance rates are often welcoming to students who have below-average GPAs or standardized test scores.
Like many vocational schools, some traditional colleges and universities without standardized testing requirements offer open admissions. As a result, they have the highest acceptance rate of all, which is 100 percent. That means they are usually easy colleges to get into since they accept every student who meets their very basic requirements for admission.
Start by looking for schools that offer a test-optional policy, which means that ACT and SAT scores are not used for admissions purposes. (Some schools, instead, may use your scores to help place you in the right program or to better advise you on academic matters.)1
Other Traditional 4-Year Schools That Consider B or C Students
You are much more than your grades or test scores. You have deep aspirations and the ability to achieve them. But you won't necessarily find that type of recognition at all colleges. For C students, especially, it can often feel like admissions departments only see them as numbers.
Happily, however, a lot of schools make it a point to look beyond the numbers in order to find great people who can contribute to their diverse student populations. They recognize that sorting students primarily by GPAs and test scores isn't always the best way to find human beings who will shine on their campuses. And they know that students with lower numbers often turn into hard workers in college since they appreciate the opportunities they've been given.
Look for schools that aren't necessarily the colleges or universities with the highest acceptance rates. Many schools have reputations as being good traditional colleges for B students (or those with even lower grades) to consider applying to. You may be surprised by how many schools share that kind of philosophy.
The Problem With College Prestige and Selectivity
Universities like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are well known for being extremely selective. After all, their acceptance rates are consistently in the single digits—as low as about five percent. They also have reputations for providing high-quality education. As a result, many students and parents make the mistake of believing that a lower acceptance rate automatically equals higher quality. Unfortunately, it doesn't.
Think about it: A low acceptance rate only indicates that a college or university is very hard to get into, even for excellent students. It doesn't actually reveal anything about how much or how well the few accepted students learn after enrolling. So a particular school might turn away most students who apply, but it may not provide a quality of education that matches its prestige.
That's the problem with many of today's college ranking systems. They often use selectivity as a major indicator of quality instead of placing the bigger focus on what happens after students are admitted. The result is that a lot of good schools with high acceptance rates get ranked lower than they truly deserve. In addition, many colleges and universities game the system by trying to get as many students to apply as possible. (The more applications a school receives, the more students it can deny, which leads to a lower acceptance rate and a higher ranking.)
That's why it's more than possible to find good colleges that are easy to get into. Plenty of schools around the country provide great educational experiences, in spite of their artificially low rankings. But they need motivated students who care more about learning than about status. So they are often willing to give B or C students the opportunity to grow into skilled graduates and knowledgeable contributors to their communities.
6 Tips for Applying to College as a B or C Student
You may have lower grades than you'd like, but that doesn't mean you have to limit your application efforts to the college with the highest acceptance rate in your area. Why not test the waters a little more? After all, you may have some non-academic traits that could be very appealing to other colleges and universities. Even many selective schools place a lot of importance on non-academic factors when making decisions about who to reject or accept. So don't sell yourself short. Try these tips:
1. Apply to at least 10 to 15 schools.
You might have your heart set on going to a particular school, but it's much better to embrace additional possibilities. Even students with perfect grades and high test scores are better served by not locking onto just one school. By being more flexible, you'll greatly increase your chances of being accepted by a school that's a good match for you. Plus, hundreds of colleges and universities across the country now allow students to apply through the Common Application. That means, depending on the schools you target, you may only need to complete a single application.
2. Consider schools that are in a different part of the country.
Many schools actively seek to diversify their student populations with people from various geographical areas. That's why out-of-state schools are sometimes easy universities to get into for students who may not necessarily have the best academic records but who are willing to move somewhere new.
3. Find test-optional schools if you have low SAT or ACT scores.
Not all colleges and universities use standardized test scores in their decision-making or require students to submit them with their applications. In fact, over 900 four-year schools in America have test-optional policies for many (or all) types of applicants.1
4. Apply during the middle of the year.
At most schools, the admissions departments get a lot fewer applications over the late spring and summer months than they do over the autumn or winter. So why not take advantage of that situation? You'll likely stand a much better chance of having your application carefully considered when you don't have to compete against the usual flood of applications that occurs during other times of the year.
5. Request an interview, even if one isn't required.
Having a face-to-face meeting with an admissions officer gives you the chance to demonstrate some of your best character and personality traits. And it can sometimes make the difference between rejection and acceptance. After all, everything else about your application is just text or numbers. An interview also gives you an opportunity to explain some of your challenges and talk about how you've grown from them or what you've learned from your past courses or extracurricular activities.
6. Be yourself.
In any competitive situation, it's always tempting to try to come off as somebody you're not. But admissions officers can often tell when you're trying too hard. So it's usually better to relax and trust that the person you truly are is going to be enough. Embrace your own interests, and share what makes you different from other people. That's the key to appealing to any college that values having a diverse student population.
Move Confidently Toward Your College Future
Now that you've learned why the easiest colleges to get into are often good places to get an education, start taking some decisive action. Remember that your past academic experiences don't have to stop you from achieving your most important aspirations. And don't forget about the many potential benefits of vocational colleges (which often have open admissions policies). Find great options in your area right now by entering your zip code into the school finder below!
1 FairTest, "900+ Accredited Colleges and Universities That Do Not Use ACT/SAT Scores to Admit Substantial Numbers of Students Into Bachelor-Degree Programs," website last visited on December 12, 2016.