What Are the Colleges with the Highest Acceptance Rates? (and other FAQs)

Today we’re going to dig into the College Made Simple mail bag, and answer some specific questions about colleges and universities with highest acceptance and graduation rates, and more. (We compiled data from multiple sources including collegeatlas.org and U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings.)

– Scott

Q: What are the colleges and universities with the highest acceptance rates?

A: 17 schools reported 100% college acceptance rates, based on 2011 records. Here are some of them:

Weber State University, Ogden, Utah

Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington

Granite State College, Concord, New Hampshire

Cameron University, Lawton, Oklahoma

University of Maryland-University College, Adelphia, Maryland

Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas

West Virginia University-Parkersburg, Parkersburg, West Virginia


Over 50 schools reported acceptance rates above 90%, including the following:


Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona – 90.3%

St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, NY – 91.3%

University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas – 91.8%

Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana – 91.8%

Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia – 94%

Wilmington University, New Castle, Delaware – 96.8%

Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan – 94%


Q: What colleges have the highest graduation rates?

A: 12 schools clocked in with graduation rates above 90%, including the following:

Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina – 92%

Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania – 91%

University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana – 91%

Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota – 90%

Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California – 90%


Over 60 schools reported graduation rates above 80%… a few of them include:


Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania – 86%

Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois – 86%

Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut – 83%

Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland – 81%

Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina – 80%


Q: Which colleges offer students the most merit aid?

A: One school reported 100% merit aid, and that’s Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan – a small school with fewer than 600 undergraduates enrolled.

Here are other schools that ranked high in merit aid:

Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, Iowa – 79%

Cooper Union, New York, NY – 72%

University of Colorado – Denver – 58%

New College of Florida – Sarasota, Florida – 55%

Denison University, Granville, Ohio – 51%

Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia – 50%

DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana – 47%


Q: From which colleges do graduates have the highest average first-year salaries?

A: The highest starting median salary by college include:

1. Loma Linda University – $71,400

2. MIT – $71,100

3. Harvey Mudd College – $71,000

4. Cal Tech – $69,700

5. Stanford – $67,500

6. Carnegie Mellon – $65,300

7. Princeton – $65,000

8. Polytechnic University of New York – $62,700

9. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – $62,500

10. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology – $61,100

We’ll cover more school rankings in upcoming College Made Simple stories, including the best colleges for entrepreneurs and most popular college degrees.

To your college admissions and funding success,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network LLC

Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com – The free educational resource of College Planning Network

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.