Why This Matters


    Around 34% of jobs in the nation require some sort of education past high school. Getting into college may be the only way that you can get the certification or degree required for these lucrative, rewarding careers.


    Among workers with a bachelor’s degree, the unemployment rate is around 5.5%. Compare that to the 9% rate for those with only a high school education and you can see the difference a degree makes.


    Individuals with some college education but no degree make an average of $877 per week, while those with an associate degree make an average of $938 per week.

Our Research

The colleges on this list include a wide range of options. Some schools offer a few dozen programs online while others offer hundreds of degrees online, making it easy to find an educational option that works for you.

We also looked for online colleges with open admissions that were accredited. Open admissions doesn’t have to mean a low-quality education, which is why we picked schools accredited by organizations such as the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Higher Learning Commission (HLC), New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), or Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

  • 61 hours to write this article
  • 150 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 203 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Colleges with Open Admissions

Best Online Colleges with Open Admissions Badge
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What You Should Know About This Degree

Open admissions doesn’t mean there aren’t any requirements at all. When you’re applying to such colleges, take note of admissions deadlines and any tasks you have to complete before you can start coursework. For example, you may need to take an entrance exam in lieu of providing ACT/SAT scores.

Look for regional or national accreditation to ensure the school you’re choosing provides a high-quality education. Regional accreditations tend to be a top-tier stamp of approval, but online programs accredited by national organizations are also acceptable.

Getting any type of college education can increase your earning potential and job outlook. The higher your degree, the more opportunities you will have for your career.

Remember that licensing or certification might be required in addition to your degree depending on what type of career you want. Examples of careers that might have these requirements are nursing, teaching, and accounting.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching online colleges with open admissions programs:

  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Synchronous courses require you to log in at certain times, so they can be less flexible, but they offer greater learning support for those who work best when interacting directly with instructors. Asynchronous courses let you work at your own pace, which can help students who have other career or family obligations.
  • How long does it take to complete this online degree? Going full-time, an associate degree takes an average of two years to complete. Bachelor’s degrees take an average of four years and higher-level degrees can take two years or more on average. You may be able to get a degree more quickly with a fast-track program if you have the time to devote to it.

As you’re researching online colleges with open admissions, pay close attention to application deadlines. While you might not have to meet minimum GPA or SAT/ACT scores, you likely will need to complete paperwork in a timely manner.

Paying for your education is another matter to consider. Talk to financial aid officers to find out what scholarships, grants, and other aid might be available to you.