Best Online Colleges With Open Admissions of 2021

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Published on July 30, 2021

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Open admissions imply a school's enrollment is not competitive. This means that all qualifying students (students with a high school degree or GED) are welcome to apply and enter the program without additional qualifications or performance benchmarks. For students with below-average academic records or limited resources, open admissions bypass competition and instead prioritize a student's personal commitment to education. Rather than requiring the submission of standardized test scores like the SAT or ACT, many open admissions programs use placement tests to gauge student capabilities.

What Are the Best Online Colleges With Open Admissions of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 Frontier Community College Fairfield, IL
#2 Oconee Fall Line Technical College Sandersville, GA
#3 Lewis and Clark Community College Godfrey, IL
#4 Coastal Pines Technical College Waycross, GA
#5 Southwestern Community College Sylva, NC
#6 Clovis Community College Clovis, NM
#7 Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesson, MS
#8 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Valdosta, GA
#9 West Kentucky Community and Technical College Paducah, KY
#10 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC

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Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

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The Best Online Colleges with Open Admissions

Most open admissions programs are at two-year institutions, such as technical schools and community colleges, though a select number of four-year institutions also utilize the open admissions format. The following ranking of the best open admission colleges details some of the benefits of individual programs.

Schools that have open admissions do not have as strict of acceptance requirements as many other schools. Most students only need to have a high school diploma to be admitted. The benefit to this is that all students have the same opportunity to obtain a higher education. This can also lead to less discrimination based on an applicants race or class.

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Frontier Community College View School Profile Fairfield, IL

Located in Fairfield, Illinois, Frontier Community College represents one of the four colleges that make up Illinois Eastern Community Colleges. FCC adopted its open-admissions policy in 2018. Applicants still need to submit transcripts and test scores for placement. Students may need to complete prerequisites before enrolling in some courses.

Students at FCC can pursue one of eight online associate degrees in areas like accounting, sports management, and health information technology. The college also offers 11 online certificate programs in areas like sales, medical transcription, and customer service management. Online student resources include library access and a technical help desk.

Fairfield Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 11 certificate and 8 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

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Oconee Fall Line Technical College View School Profile Sandersville, GA

Located in Sandersville, Georgia, OFTC formed when Sandersville Technical College merged with Heart of Georgia Technical College in 2010.

OFTC operates an open-admissions policy. Applicants must submit transcripts for placement purposes, although test scores are optional. Learners at OFTC can pursue individual courses, certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees online. OFTC's online degree programs include accounting, business technology, networking specialist, and business management.

Oconee Fall Line Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 21 certificate, 5 diploma, and 5 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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Lewis and Clark Community College View School Profile Godfrey, IL

Located in Godfrey, Illinois, L&C taught just 450 students when it opened in 1970. Today, more than 12,000 students enroll at L&C each year.

L&C maintains an open-enrollment policy for most of its programs, although a few health-related programs do use a selective admissions procedure. Online tuition at the college costs $125 per credit for in-district students and $146 per credit for out-of-district students. L&C offers online associate of arts and associate of science degrees in areas like business, math, biology, and engineering. Some online options may require occasional on-campus visits.

Lewis and Clark Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 36 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

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Coastal Pines Technical College View School Profile Waycross, GA

Located in Waycross, Georgia, CPTC formed in 2014 when Altamaha Technical College merged with Okefenokee Technical College.

As one of the best online colleges with open admissions, CPTC welcomes anyone age 16 or older to apply. The college may require students to take a placement test to determine which courses represent an appropriate enrollment path, especially in math and science. Tuition costs $100 per credit for Georgia residents and $200 per credit for nonresidents.

CPTC offers online degrees, diplomas, and certificates in seven areas of study, including accounting, early childhood education, criminal justice, and marketing management. Students can access resources like the library and tutoring services online.

Coastal Pines Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 13 certificate, 5 diploma, and 8 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous and synchronous

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Southwestern Community College View School Profile Sylva, NC

Located in Sylva, North Carolina, SCC opened its doors in 1964. SCC welcomes students age 18 or older through its open-admissions policy. Some health science programs do maintain selective requirements, and learners must take placement exams to determine course placement.

Students at SCC can complete online degrees, diplomas, and certificates in several areas of study, including business administration, cybercrime technology, information technology, and medical office administration.

Southwestern Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 16 certificate, 3 diploma, and 9 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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Clovis Community College View School Profile Clovis, NM

Located in Clovis, New Mexico, CCC traces its roots back to 1969 but officially opened under its current name in 1980. As one of the top colleges with open admissions, CCC welcomes any interested students to enroll. Applicants fill out a simple admissions form and become eligible to register for classes right away.

CCC offers online associate degrees and certificates in seven areas of study, including behavioral science, business administration, and liberal arts. Other notable online degree programs include an associate of applied science in information technology and an associate of applied science in paralegal studies.

Clovis Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 10 certificate and 11 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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Copiah-Lincoln Community College View School Profile Wesson, MS

Located in Wesson, Mississippi, Co-Lin traces its history back to 1915, when it was founded as an agricultural high school. The college adopted its current name in 1988 and teaches over 3,000 students each year.

Co-Lin's admissions process consists of a simple application. The college requires test scores and transcripts for placement purposes, not for selective admission. Tuition typically costs between $100 and $140 per credit. Co-Lin oversees more than 30 associate programs taught in a fully online format. These programs include social work, pre-law, English, and exercise science.

Copiah-Lincoln Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 33 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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Wiregrass Georgia Technical College View School Profile Valdosta, GA

Located in Valdosta, Georgia, Wiregrass taught its first classes in 1963. The college's application collects basic student information and verifies Georgia/U.S. residency status. Applicants must submit transcripts and test scores for placement purposes. The college also offers dual enrollment for high school students.

Wiregrass offers online degrees, diplomas, and certificates in over five areas of study, including fire science technology, criminal justice technology, business management, and business technology. Tuition costs $100 per credit for in-state students and $200 per credit for out-of-state learners.

Wiregrass Georgia Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 10 certificate, 5 diploma, and 5 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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West Kentucky Community and Technical College View School Profile Paducah, KY

Located in Paducah, WKCTC formed in 2003 when Paducah Community College merged with West Kentucky Technical College. To apply, aspiring students only need to fill out an admissions form. The college uses ACT or SAT scores to help place students into the proper courses, not as a selective tool for admissions.

WKCTC offers online associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in nine areas of study. Notable online degree programs include an associate in marine technology, an associate in logistics and operations management, an associate in criminal justice, and an associate in computer-aided drafting and design.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 6 certificate, 3 diploma, and 8 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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Stanly Community College View School Profile Albemarle, NC

Based in Albemarle, North Carolina, SCC educates about 2,500 learners each year — both online and in person. Many programs at the school boast an open-admissions policy, although some (including several health sciences programs) are limited enrollment. Before applying, individuals must fill out a residency determination questionnaire.

Online students at SCC can pursue certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. Popular program offerings cover topics like information technology, business administration, accounting and finance, and agribusiness technology.

Stanly Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


School Snapshot

  • School Status: Public
  • Number of Online Programs: 7 certificate, 6 diploma, and 13 associate programs
  • Online Instruction Style: Asynchronous

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Who Should Consider Schools with Open Admissions Policies?

Pursuing your education at an open admissions institution offers many benefits. Your open admissions program comes without costly application fees or test scores and does not cause the stress that comes with competitive applications.

Open admissions schools work with part- and full-time professionals and students with families to ensure they get a quality education that balances personal and professional commitments. Additionally, open admissions schools recognize that not all students come from the same background. For students with lower grades, open admissions coursework provides a framework to demonstrate your ability to work at the college level.

If you feel unprepared for the hectic process of college applications or the immersive experience of a four-year institution, open admission colleges online may offer the right support system for you. By creating a strong track record at an open admissions school, you will demonstrate your commitment to higher education. Furthermore, all completed coursework may transfer into a four-year program, should you wish to continue your education.

Are Open Admissions Schools Inferior to Traditional Four-Year Colleges and Universities?

One common misconception about open admissions programs is that they have less to offer a student than a traditional four-year program. While it is true that fewer open admissions schools offer a standard four-year degree, that does not devalue the coursework they provide.

Two-year open admissions programs strive to meet state and regional standards of education, whether the program has a liberal arts focus or a technical orientation. The increased accessibility of open admission colleges online means students can access preparatory and specialized courses nationwide, making access to education easier. While the four-year campus experience is still considered a "traditional" education, the benefits of online coursework in terms of flexibility and accessibility are increasingly outweighing the old model.

Two-year open admissions programs strive to meet state and regional standards of education, whether the program has a liberal arts focus or a technical orientation.

By sidestepping competitive student admissions, your academic progress is not limited by your past experiences and personal resources but rather is built upon your current dedication and performance in higher education. The best open admission colleges provide a venue to complete two-year degree programs and certifications, and become a stepping stone to further education in a four-year program either at the same institution or by transferring to another school.

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