College applications don’t always have to be stressful, especially if you know exactly what or where you want to study. You can opt for some of the easiest colleges to get into in California in order to improve your chances of getting accepted. These are great options for students who are solely focused on the pursuit of education, instead of basing their decisions on how competitive a school is.
This article highlights 10 universities with high acceptance rates in the Golden State, along with crucial information such as their location, admissions rate, minimum requirements, and tuition fees. To help you better understand your options, we also discuss some of the easiest online and community colleges to get into in California.
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What Are the Easiest Colleges to Get Into in California?
The easiest colleges to get into in California include the Academy of Art University, California State University-Fresno, California Northstate University, Azusa Pacific University, Sonoma State University, California State University-Channel Island, and California State University-Monterey Bay.
Colleges in California With Open Admissions
Open admissions is an unselective college admissions system whereby the only criterion is a high school diploma, GED, or a certificate of attendance. These schools are mostly community colleges or colleges which offer associate degree programs.
Open Admissions Colleges in California
- Academy of Art University
- Allan Hancock College
- City College of San Francisco
- Santa Ana College
- Santiago Canyon College
Are There Good Universities With High Acceptance Rates in California?
Yes, there are good universities with high acceptance rates in California. Some of these universities are Sonoma State University, Biola University, California Baptist University, Azusa Pacific University, California State University-Fresno, and California State University-Monterey Bay.
Common Admissions Requirements for Colleges With High Acceptance Rates in California
The common admission requirements for colleges with high acceptance rates in California include your official high school transcript, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, a strong GPA, and proof of English language proficiency.
- Official high school transcript. Schools with high acceptance rates in California often request an official high school transcript which has to be mailed directly or sealed and hand-given to the school before being considered for admission.
- Standardized test scores. Standardized test scores, which might be in the form of SAT scores or ACT scores, are required before a student is accepted into a college.
- Letters of recommendation. Generally, colleges with high acceptance rates require two letters of recommendation, usually from former teachers or people who’ve supervised you in some capacity.
- GPA. The basic requirement for most universities is a minimum GPA of 2.50 to 3.00. However, this is highly dependent on the school you’re seeking to enroll in.
- English proficiency test. Prospective students who are not native speakers are typically required to pass an English proficiency test like IELTS or TOEFL as part of the admission requirements.
The Best Colleges With High Acceptance Rates in California
|Academy of Art University||100% (Open Admission Policy)||$25,424|
|California State University – Fresno||97%||$6,653 (in state), $18,533 (out of state)|
|California Northstate University||95%||$49,793|
|Azusa Pacific University||94%||$41,510|
|Sonoma State University||94%||$7,988 (in state), $19,868 (out of state)|
|California State University – Channel Island||93%||$6,817 (in state), $18,697 (out of state)|
|California State University – Monterey Bay||93%||$7,218 (in state), $19,098 (out of state)|
|California State Polytechnic University – Humboldt||91%||$7,864 (in state), $19,744 (out of state)|
|California State University – Dominguez Hills||90%||$7,060 (in state), $18,940 (out of state)|
|California State University – Bakersfield||85%||$7,579 (in state), $19,459 (out of state)|
Easiest Colleges to Get Into in California: A Closer Look
The easiest colleges to get into in California based on their high acceptance rates are Academy of Art University, California State University-Fresno, California Northstate University, Azusa Pacific University, Sonoma State University, and Humboldt State University.
Academy of Art University
- Location: San Francisco, CA
- Number of applicants per year: N/A
- Percent admitted: 100%
- Admissions requirements: N/A
This university has an open admissions policy. No exams or SAT scores are needed before students are offered admission. The basic requirement is a high school diploma or GED. The university also offers online classes that come with quality tutoring and 100 percent flexibility.
California State University – Fresno
- Location: Fresno, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 15,231
- Percent admitted: 97%
- Admissions requirements: Completion of college-preparatory program, high school official transcript, and high school GPA
California State University at Fresno is a great institution with a wide variety of programs. It has about 26 nationwide accredited programs which are among the largest in the California State University system. The university is remarkable for its high acceptance rates and it maintains student-friendly admission requirements.
California Northstate University
- Location: Elk Grove, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 332
- Percent admitted: 95%
- Admissions requirements: TOEFL, high school GPA, and other tests (Wonderlic, WISC-IIl)
California Northstate University specializes majorly in health care as it aims to develop longtime learners that are ready to lead the community as experts in health care science, exploration, and education. The University has a 95 percent acceptance rate, making it one of the easiest schools to gain admission into in California.
Azusa Pacific University
- Location: Azusa, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 3,967
- Percent admitted: 94%
- Admissions requirements: GPA and high school transcripts
Azusa Pacific University has a well-structured curriculum alongside increased accessibility of students for admissions. The university recently removed its application fee payment, made SAT scores optional, and started accepting a pass or no pass grade for students to make admission easier.
Sonoma State University
- Location: Rohnert Park, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 10,598
- Percent admitted: 94%
- Admissions requirements: High school transcripts, high school GPA, and completion of the college-preparatory program
Sonoma State University has a focus on diversity and honesty. It offers top-notch, integrated education which includes tutoring. This allows students to engage closely with teachers and explore concepts like discovery and innovation. Students also get internship privileges.
California State University – Channel Islands
- Location: Camarillo, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 9,244
- Percent admitted: 93%
- Admissions requirements: Secondary school GPA, completion of college-preparatory program, and high school transcripts
California State University is a great school because it offers outstanding college degree programs for students at a reasonable and affordable cost. The university eases the accessibility of grants, scholarships, and loans for students.
California State University – Monterey Bay
- Location: Seaside, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 10,026
- Percent admitted: 93%
- Admissions requirements: Transcripts, completion of college-preparatory program, and high school GPA
California State University at Monterey offers excellent programs and tutoring for low-income persons. As such, about 72 percent of its students have access to financial aid. The university also makes higher education more accessible to traditionally marginalized people by keeping a short list of requirements for admissions.
California State Polytechnic University – Humboldt
- Location: Arcata, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 7,013
- Percent admitted: 91%
- Admissions requirements: GPA, completion of college-preparatory program, and high school transcripts
The California State Polytechnic University at Humboldt, formerly called Humboldt State University, gives students a unique educational experience. Students learn in small-sized classes, led by human-centric and passionate teachers. The campus is at one of the most breathtaking locations in the country, close to old redwood forests and a beautiful shoreline.
California State University – Dominguez Hills
- Location: Carson, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 16,741
- Percent admitted: 90%
- Admissions requirements: High school record, completion of college-preparatory program, and high school GPA
The California State University at Dominguez Hills features cutting-edge infrastructure which includes modern sports facilities, sophisticated classrooms, and a calm setting for students to learn. The university is also known for its high admissions rates.
California State University – Bakersfield
- Location: Bakersfield, CA
- Number of applicants per year: 12,334
- Percent admitted: 85%
- Admissions requirements: Completion of college-preparatory program, high school record, and secondary school GPA
California State University at Bakersfield strives to always provide the best for its students. Recently, the university installed a new magic planet in its science building to aid the learning of earth science concepts. Also in 2019, the US News and World Reports ranked the university as one of the top public schools in the country.
Online Colleges Based in California That Are Easy to Get Into
There are many online colleges that are easy to get into in California. These schools offer access to a wealth of resources for students to explore different certification programs, including graduate programs for graduate students, that will guide you through your career path. The following are the easiest online colleges to get into in California.
- Azusa Pacific University. Azusa Pacific University (APU) is one of the schools with the highest acceptance rates in California with 94 percent of accepted students. APU offers more than 200 undergraduate and graduate programs, available both online and on-campus at seven regional locations across Southern California comprising the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Monrovia, Murrieta, Orange County, and San Diego.
- Sonoma State University. Established in 1961, it now has a total enrollment of 9,300 students. It is one of the easiest online colleges to get into in California, with an average acceptance rate of 89 percent. Sonoma State University generally accepts all qualified students who apply within the school’s service area. It also has a very large transfer acceptance rate from outside the North Bay region.
- University of California – Merced. Founded in 2005, it is the newest university in the University of California system and also the first US research university to be opened in the 21st century. It has a pretty high acceptance rate at 85 percent. It offers more than 50 online accredited certificate programs, with online courses also available to non-students.
- California Baptist University. California Baptist University is a private school in Riverside, California. The Division of Online and Professional Studies at California Baptist University ranked well in multiple categories in the latest national rankings released by US News & World Report. It is one of the top Christian colleges and universities in Southern California, with an acceptance rate of 80 percent.
- California State Polytechnic University at Humboldt. California State Polytechnic University at Humboldt is one of three polytechnic universities in the California State University system. It offers several online courses that offer the same resources and hands-on experience provided in their regular face-to-face learning. It has an average acceptance rate of 75 percent.
Should I Attend Community College in California and Then Transfer to University?
Yes, community colleges are an affordable, flexible, and accessible option for students. They are also great for students with lower GPAs who may struggle to meet stricter admissions requirements. In this case, the best course of action is to enroll in a community college before transferring to a college or university of your choice.
Easiest Community Colleges to Get Into in California
There are many benefits to attending community colleges like favorable class size, low cost of tuition, and an easy admissions process. Below are some of the easiest community colleges that you can get into in California.
California Community Colleges That Are Easy to Get Into
- Cerritos College
- Cuesta College
- Ohlone College
- Santa Barbara City College
- Lake Tahoe Community college
Should I Attend a University in California With a High Acceptance Rate?
Yes, you should. High or low acceptance rates do not inherently determine the quality of education in a school. There are a lot of highly intelligent, ambitious, and competent students enrolled in universities with both low and high acceptance rates.
What matters most is the quality of programs, academic environment, and additional resources offered by the school. Before making a college decision, it is also important to evaluate how well the school can help you achieve your career goals.
Easiest Colleges to Get Into in California FAQ
Yes, there are community colleges in Los Angeles, California. There are typically small, local colleges for continuing education after high school. Most offer two-year programs that issue certificates and associate degrees upon graduation, which are either geared to serve as training in a technical field or a stepping stone into a four-year program in a university elsewhere.
Community colleges are two-year institutions where you can earn an associate degree or earn college credits to transfer to a university. Meanwhile, a university is a four-year institution meant to lead to an undergraduate degree like a bachelor’s degree. A university is also where you can earn a postgraduate degree like MSc, PhD, or MBA.
The institutions with the lowest acceptance rates in California include Stanford University, University of California – Los Angeles, University of California – Berkeley, San Diego State University, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, and Pomona College. Some of these schools offer open admissions which means they have little to zero requirements for enrollment.
The school with the lowest acceptance rate in California is Stanford University. According to Niche’s 2022 Hardest Colleges to Get Into in America, Stanford University has an average admission rate of only five percent, making it number one on the list.
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