20 Best Online Colleges That Accept Everyone

best online colleges that accept everyone

Imagine a single parent juggling a full-time job while aspiring to earn a college degree, or a high school graduate who didn’t achieve stellar grades but possesses an unwavering passion for learning.

For many, the dream of higher education is overshadowed by rigid acceptance rates and daunting admissions criteria. Believe it or not, although college admission rates have increased dramatically, applications have also increased.

Only in schools with the highest admission rates (70% or higher) have admissions risen enough to keep pace with the influx of applications. This often leaves countless capable individuals feeling sidelined, their potential unrecognized.

However, there is a growing movement among colleges with their online programs that is flipping the script on traditional education barriers.

These forward-thinking institutions are redefining what it means to be inclusive by offering flexible, high-quality programs that welcome students from all walks of life. They understand that education should be a bridge, not a barrier.

In this guide, we’ll unveil the 20 best online colleges that accept everyone, opening doors to a world of possibilities for those ready to turn their aspirations into reality.

Dive in and discover how these accessible institutions are offering a lifeline to those balancing education with life’s myriad demands.

What Does “Open Admissions” Mean?

Have you ever wondered what “open admissions” really means when it comes to colleges? Let’s break it down in simple terms.

“Open admissions” refers to a policy where educational institutions, like colleges or universities, accept all students who apply, regardless of their academic qualifications or background. This means that if you submit an application, you are guaranteed acceptance into the institution.

Unlike traditional admission processes that involve stringent criteria such as standardized test scores, GPA, or specific coursework requirements, open admissions focus on providing opportunities for education to a broader range of students. It aims to remove barriers to higher education and promote inclusivity by welcoming students from diverse academic backgrounds.

One key aspect of open admissions is that it offers access to education for individuals who may not have had the chance otherwise. It creates a pathway for students to pursue their academic goals and enhance their skills, irrespective of their past academic performance.

To make things a bit clearer, know that the average four-year school accepts around ⅔ of its applicants, while some schools limit admission to just 3% or less. Open admission universities aren’t common – but they certainly exist and can be a good option for many students.

What is the Difference Between Open Admissions and High Acceptance Rates?

Now, let’s consider the difference between open admissions and high acceptance rates. While both terms may seem similar, they have distinct meanings in the realm of college admissions.

High acceptance rates indicate the percentage of applicants who are admitted to a particular college or university out of the total number of applications received. A school with a high acceptance rate accepts a large proportion of its applicants compared to those with lower acceptance rates.

On the other hand, open admissions are a specific policy that guarantees acceptance to all applicants, regardless of the institution’s overall acceptance rate. In other words, a college can have open admissions while still maintaining a low or high acceptance rate based on the number of applications received.

What Are the Benefits of Attending a College With a 100% Acceptance Rate?

Again, unlike selective colleges, open admissions schools do not require standardized test scores or rigorous academic records.

This policy aims to make higher education more accessible to a diverse range of students, including those who may not have had the best academic performance in high school.

Here are some key benefits:

More Accessible

One of the most significant benefits of attending a college with a 100% acceptance rate is accessibility. These institutions break down barriers to higher education, allowing students who may not meet traditional academic standards to pursue their educational goals.

Gives You Time to Improve a Less-Than-Stellar Academic Record

For students with less-than-stellar academic records, open admissions colleges provide a second chance. These institutions offer an opportunity to prove oneself at the college level, often leading to improved academic performance and increased confidence.

More Diversity

Colleges with open admissions policies often boast diverse student bodies. This diversity enriches the learning experience, exposing students to different perspectives and backgrounds.

Multiple Entry Points

Many open admissions colleges offer multiple entry points throughout the year, including rolling admissions and various start dates. This flexibility allows students to begin their education when it suits them best, rather than adhering to a traditional academic calendar.


Online colleges with open admissions provide unparalleled flexibility. Students can complete coursework at their own pace, making it easier to balance education with work, family, and other commitments.

20 Best Online Colleges that Accept Everyone

Choosing a college with a good reputation is crucial for several reasons.

First, colleges with open admissions policies can sometimes have constraints on faculty, facilities, and support services. This can lead to high attrition rates and a perceived devaluation of credentials.

Because of this, it’s important to always choose an accredited school with a good reputation to make sure you receive a quality education that employers respect.

How do you weed out the best schools? Here’s a closer look at 20 of the best online colleges with a 100% open admissions policy.

1. University of Maryland Global Campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus stands out as the largest public university in the U.S. dedicated to online education. With over 30 online undergraduate degrees and more than 13,000 degrees and certificates awarded in 2020, UMGC is a beacon for students seeking flexibility and quality.

UMGC boasts a generous transfer policy, allowing credit for work and military experience. The university is celebrated for its low tuition costs, monthly payment plans, and over 100 different scholarships.

In addition, UMGC offers $0 textbooks, making education more affordable. Notably, GPA is not considered in admissions, and they offer rolling admissions, making it easier for students to start their educational journey at any time.

Some popular programs include:

  • Education
  • Cybersecurity
  • Healthcare and Science
  • Liberal Arts

2. New England College

Located in Henniker, New Hampshire, New England College is a private liberal arts school that welcomes a diverse student body through its open admissions policy. Offering more than two dozen online programs, the college makes sure that students have access to quality education regardless of their prior academic performance.

New England College provides a supportive learning environment with a focus on individual student success. The faculty is committed to providing personalized attention, which is crucial for students who may need extra support to excel academically.

Degrees include:

  • Sociology
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Human Services
  • RN to BSN
  • Accounting

3. University of Maine at Fort Kent

Opened in 1878, the University of Maine at Fort Kent is a small public school nestled in the picturesque St. John Valley near Maine, Quebec, and New Brunswick. Recognized as one of the most affordable institutions by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, UMFK offers both associate and bachelor’s degrees online.

Despite a somewhat limited selection of online programs, UMFK emphasizes quality over quantity. Students benefit from robust support services, including tutoring, disability services, library access, and a writing center, ensuring that they have all the resources needed to succeed.

Popular majors include:

  • Business Management
  • RN to BSN
  • Cybersecurity
  • Allied Health

4. Missouri Western State University

Founded in 1915, Missouri Western State University is a public institution located in St. Joseph, Missouri. With over 300 online courses, the university provides extensive academic options for students with varying interests.

Missouri Western is ranked #140 in Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World report, highlighting its commitment to educational excellence.

The university’s acceptance rate underscores its inclusive approach, while its semester-based academic calendar and suburban setting provide a structured yet flexible educational environment.

Here are some popular programs for online students:

  • General Studies
  • Technology
  • Criminal Justice
  • RN to BSN Completion
  • Health Information Management

5. University of Texas El Paso

Through its Extended University, UTEP has been offering online programs since 2015. Students can expect the same rigorous curriculum and quality instruction as on-campus programs, delivered by the same experienced faculty.

UTEP’s online programs are designed to be flexible, with classes offered in six seven-week terms. The use of discussion boards and availability of financial aid make these programs accessible and engaging for all students.

Majors include:

  • Chicano Studies
  • Security Studies
  • RN to BSN
  • Media Advertising

6. Metropolitan State University

Metropolitan State University, ranked #96 in Regional Universities Midwest by U.S. News & World Report, is a public institution that prides itself on inclusivity. The university offers a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio, ensuring that students receive the attention and support they need to thrive.

With a diverse array of online programs, Metropolitan State University caters to a broad range of interests and career goals. The institution’s commitment to accessibility and quality education makes it a top choice for students seeking an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

Popular majors include:

  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Nursing
  • Aeronautics
  • Marketing

7. Jarvis Christian College

Located in Hawkins, Texas, Jarvis Christian College is a private institution founded in 1912. With a total undergraduate enrollment of 721, the college offers a tight-knit community and personalized education.

The college utilizes a semester-based academic calendar and offers a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio – because of this, students receive individualized attention and support. Jarvis Christian College’s commitment to accessibility and quality education makes it an excellent choice for students from diverse backgrounds.

Some popular programs are:

  • Business
  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies

8. Lewis-Clark State College

Lewis-Clark State College, with a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio and an enrollment of 3,700 students, offers a small, supportive educational environment. The college provides 20 undergraduate online degree programs, ensuring that students have access to a wide range of academic options.

Lewis-Clark State College’s commitment to personalized education and student success makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

Here are some common programs:

  • Behavioral Science
  • Nursing
  • Justice Studies
  • History
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Business

9. Indian River State College

Founded in 1960, Indian River State College is a public institution utilizing a semester-based academic calendar. With in-state tuition and fees of $2,764 and out-of-state tuition and fees of $10,201, the college offers affordable education for students from all backgrounds.

Indian River State College provides extensive support services and resources, ensuring that students have everything they need to succeed academically and professionally.

Potential programs to pursue include:

  • Computer Information Technology
  • Digital Media
  • Education
  • Healthcare Management

10. Northeastern State University

Established in 1909, Northeastern State University is the oldest university in Oklahoma. With more than a dozen online programs, the university offers a wide range of academic options for students seeking flexible and accessible education.

Northeastern State University provides scholarships for incoming freshmen, demonstrating its commitment to making higher education accessible and affordable. The university’s emphasis on quality education and student support makes it a top choice for those seeking an inclusive and supportive learning environment.

A few popular programs are:

  • General Studies
  • International Business Management
  • Geography and Sustainability Studies
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences

11. Western Governors University

Western Governors University is one of the nation’s most prominent online institutions. It operates with a unique competency-based model that means that you progress through courses as you master the content – not as you meet mundane, cookie-cutter requirements.

Because of this, with WGU, you’ll be able to complete your courses in far less time. Also worth noting is that you’ll pay a flat tuition rate (rather than per term), regardless of how many courses you take.

Here are some of the most popular majors:

  • Health Information Management
  • Information Technology
  • RN to BSN

12. Montana State University-Billings

This university opened in 1927 and has nearly two dozen different online programs – all of which have open admissions.

In addition to the popular majors below, students here benefit from an online library, tutoring, career resources, and so much more:

  • Business Administration
  • Public Relations
  • Liberal Studies
  • Nursing
  • Communication
  • English

13. Weber State University

Weber State University has offered high-caliber undergraduate programs online to its students for more than two decades. It’s top-ranked by U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Forbes, and more.

You can choose from semester-based courses or pursue independent study, but regardless of your choice, you’ll benefit from tutoring help, career services, and so much more.

Consider these top majors:

  • Health Information Management
  • Nutrition Education
  • Nursing
  • Rehabilitation Sciences
  • Radiologic Sciences

14. Utah Valley University

U.S. News & World Report has repeatedly ranked Utah Valley University as one of the top public schools in the country. Here, there are more than 14,000 students enrolled online, with courses housed on the Canvas platform. There’s also ample financial aid available to students who qualify!

Top programs include:

  • Nursing
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Emergency Services
  • Aerospace Technology Management
  • Digital Marketing

15. Florida Institute of Technology Online

Located in Melbourne, FL, Florida Institute of Technology Online comprises four colleges and offers 13 online bachelor’s degrees plus associate and certificate programs. They also provide merit and need-based scholarships to help students financially.

Consider programs such as:

  • Accounting
  • Aviation Management
  • Liberal Studies
  • Healthcare Management
  • Psychology
  • Computer Information Systems

16. Western Nevada College

You might also want to consider an online degree at Western Nevada College. This small school, which opened in 1971, has a 100% acceptance rate along with a rolling application process. Your GPA, high school rank, and letters of recommendation won’t be considered in admissions decisions.

Some popular BAS degrees include:

  • Organization and Project Management
  • Construction
  • Graphic Design
  • Accounting
  • Business

17. Wayne State College

Wayne State is nationally known for being one of the best schools in the Midwest. Established in 1891, this Nebraska school is also one of the most affordable in the state.

Its fully online programs include:

  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice

18. Dickinson State University

Located in Dickinson, ND, Dickinson State University was established in 1918 and currently has about 1,400 students. They offer both associates and bachelor’s degrees, as well as certificates in various fields.

Potential majors include:

  • AAS in Administration
  • AS in Agricultural Sales
  • BS in Business Administration in Human Resource Management
  • BS in Business Education

19. Unity Environmental University

Unity is a college focused on the environment. Here, students can pursue online degrees that incorporate unique opportunities for fieldwork and experiential learning. The school is known for its small class sizes and focus on sustainability, as well as for its tight-knit community.

Some popular majors are:

  • Animal Studies
  • Sustainable Business Management
  • Environmental Studies

20. St. Petersburg College

With more than 20,000 online students, St. Petersburg College offers over 50 programs completely online. Courses are offered live, online for flexible scheduling and interactive class discussions on Zoom. The school is known for its top programs for veterans and provides online tutoring help and library services. They have a rolling admission process and allow students to try out a class online before committing.

Popular programs include:

  • Dental Hygiene
  • Nursing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business Administration
  • Veterinary Technology

Tips for Applying to a College with Open Admissions

So, you’re thinking about applying to a college with open admissions – that’s awesome!

Take some time to research colleges that offer open admissions. Look into what programs they offer, campus facilities, and any unique features that interest you. The list above will likely be helpful as you start your search, but you need to find a college that aligns with your academic goals and personal preferences.

Don’t hesitate to seek guidance if you need it. Reach out to your high school counselor, teachers, or mentors for advice on the application process. They can provide valuable insights and support as you navigate through applying to college.

Remember, your journey to this point is unique, and colleges with open admissions value diversity. Share your personal experiences, challenges you’ve overcome, and aspirations in your application. Embrace what makes you stand out – it could be your passion for a particular subject or your involvement in extracurricular activities.

Ultimately, applying to a college with open admissions is an exciting step towards furthering your education. By showcasing your true self, you’ll be well on your way to starting your college journey on the right foot.

Your future starts now.