The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or graduate school search.
The chances of getting into a four-year college can be high or low, depending on a prospective student's standardized test scores, high school grades and letters of recommendation, among other factors. At some universities, though, just about every applicant can bet on being admitted.
At 18 schools, there was a 100 percent acceptance rate in fall 2016. These institutions had the highest acceptance rate among 1,256 ranked universities and colleges that submitted these data to U.S. News in an annual survey.
In fall 2015, only nine schools had a 100 percent acceptance rate. California State University--Bakersfield, Florida's Pensacola State College and Montana State University--Billings are some of the schools that are new to the list.
Cameron University in Oklahoma, which had a 99.7 acceptance rate in fall 2015, reached 100 percent last fall.
Among all schools that reported the data, the average acceptance rate was 65 percent. Alice Lloyd College, a Regional College in Kentucky, had the lowest acceptance rate: 4 percent. Regional Colleges focus on undergraduate education, and grant fewer than half of their degrees in liberal arts fields.
Ten of the schools on the list for fall 2016 are labeled RNP, which means Rank Not Published. These schools rank in the bottom one-fourth of their ranking category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.
Below are the 18 schools with the highest acceptance rate in fall 2016. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.
|School name (state)||Fall 2016 acceptance rate||U.S. News rank and category|
|Indian River State College (FL)||100||RNP, Regional Colleges (South)|
|University of Pikeville (KY)||100||RNP, National Liberal Arts Colleges|
|Wayne State College (NE)||100||109 (tie), Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|New Mexico Highlands University||100||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
|Bismarck State College (ND)||100||RNP, Regional Colleges (Midwest)|
|Weber State University (UT)||100||86 (tie), Regional Universities (West)|
|California State University--Bakersfield||100||94, Regional Universities (West)|
|CUNY--College of Staten Island||100||RNP, Regional Universities (North)|
|Pensacola State College (FL)||100||28 (tie), Regional Colleges (South)|
|South Florida State College||100||28 (tie), Regional Colleges (South)|
|University of Texas--El Paso||100||RNP, National Universities|
|Cameron University (OK)||100||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
|Montana State University--Billings||100||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
|Nyack College (NY)||100||RNP, Regional Universities (North)|
|Lewis-Clark State College (ID)||100||23, Regional Colleges (West)|
|Lubbock Christian University (TX)||100||81 (tie), Regional Universities (West)|
|Washburn University (KS)||100||93 (tie), Regional Universities (Midwest)|
|Wayland Baptist University (TX)||100||RNP, Regional Universities (West)|
Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find acceptance rate data, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.
U.S. News surveyed more than 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2017 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News' data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News' rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The acceptance rate data above are correct as of Sept. 26, 2017.
Delece Smith-Barrow is an education reporter at U.S. News, covering college admissions; she previously wrote about graduate schools. You can follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.