If you’re stressed about whether you’ll be admitted to any of the colleges you’ve applied to, this is the place for you. No more worries over if your extracurriculars stand out, or if your essays sound unique––as long as you meet certain basic requirements, you are GUARANTEED admission!
Some of you might be thinking, “Oh, these colleges are probably the ones no one has ever heard of or wants to go to.” You couldn’t be farther from the truth. Multiple reputable universities that people across the U.S. can recognize have automatic admissions plans. These plans tend to look at a combination of your ACT or SAT scores, GPA, and/or high school courses; if you meet the minimum requirements, you’re in!
Automatic admissions plans come in two flavors: one applies to most people, and the other applies only to state residents. We’ll look at the broader ones first, as those apply to more of you.
Automatic Admissions for Everyone
Colleges in this category can be further divided into sub-categories based on the factors they look at in their automatic admissions plans.
GPA AND Test Scores
First up on our list is Truman State University. It’s located in Kirksville, Missouri, and is ranked among the Top 10 Regional Midwestern Universities by US News. All you need to be admitted is a 2.5 GPA and either a 27 on the ACT or a 1260 on the SAT.
Next is the University of Kansas, a large university with a good reputation. If you want to enter their College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Journalism, or School of Social Welfare, you’ve got two choices of admission pathways. You can use just a 3.25 GPA on a 4.00 scale, OR you can use a combination of a 2.0 GPA on a 4.00 scale and either a 21 on the ACT or a 1060 on the SAT.
GPA Only OR Test Scores Only
At Washington State University, you’re guaranteed admission if you rank in the top 10% of your high school class, OR if you have a 3.60 cumulative GPA.
Kansas State University will accept you if you have a 3.25 cumulative GPA, OR if you have either an ACT score of 21 or an SAT score of 1060. In addition, if you’ve taken any college credit in high school, you need at least a 2.0 GPA on all those courses.
For those of you interested in Oklahoma State University, you have three pathways to guaranteed admission. You can use a 3.0 unweighted, cumulative GPA and rank in the top 33.3% of your high school class. You can use a 3.0 GPA in a 15-unit core of courses (see their website for details on the core) and either a 21 on the ACT or a 1060 on the SAT. Finally, if you achieve a 24 on the ACT or 1160 on the SAT, your test score alone guarantees you a sweet letter of acceptance in your mailbox.
GPA/Test Scores + Course Requirements
The University of Iowa is a bit fancier than the other colleges with its special RAI, or Regent Admission Index (check it out here). The RAI takes into account a variety of factors: your GPA, the number of years you spent in high school, your courses, and your ACT or SAT score. You’ll need a score of 245 for in-state students or 255 for out-of-state students to be automatically admitted to the university.
Things get stricter at the University of Missouri, which, on top of your rank (or GPA) and ACT or SAT scores, also requires you to take 17 particular courses in high school (see their website for more details on what counts). Mizzou uses a “sliding scale” with regards to your test scores and either class rank (if your high school gives class ranks) or GPA (if your high school doesn’t give class ranks). For example, if you get an SAT score of 1160, you only need a 2.0 GPA; on the flip side, if you have a GPA of 3.65, you only need an SAT score of 920 or 950.
Probably the most well-known college in this sub-category, the huge Arizona State University offers a number of automatic admission pathways. You can rank in the top 25% of your high school class, OR have a 3.0 GPA in competency courses (see here for details), OR use an ACT score of 22 (24 for nonresidents), OR use an SAT score of 1120 (1180 for nonresidents). If you can achieve one of those AND complete the required coursework as listed in the link, you’re already a Sun Devil!
Other universities that we didn’t get into here but which also have automatic admissions plans are Middle Tennessee State University; University of Nevada, Reno; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology; and University of St. Francis.
Remember, we’re just a guide for admission policies at a specific point in time. The best place to look for the most up-to-date information is always the colleges’ individual websites!
If you live in one of the states below, congratulations! There are automatic admissions programs open only to you, which means less competition from out-of-state or international applicants and guaranteed entry to at least one college.
Though state universities in Louisiana only offer automatic scholarships based on your ACT score, one prestigious private university does offer automatic admission to state residents: Tulane University. Bet you didn’t expect a Top 50 National University (as ranked by US News) to do that! You’ll need a 31 on the ACT or a 1450 on the SAT, a 3.6 core GPA (see their definition of a core GPA), and certain high school courses completed. Out-of-state students might not even be able to get into Tulane with similar metrics, so this is a real deal for those of you in Louisiana.
Texas House Bill 588, otherwise known as the Top 10% Rule, guarantees admission to public universities for those graduating in the top 10% of their high school class. Individual universities, though, may put their own spin to the rule. The University of Texas at Austin, for example, stipulates you must graduate in the top 6% of your high school class because admission to the university is so competitive. Due to COVID, this year they’ll only be looking at your GPA to determine whether you’re in the top 6% or not. At Texas A&M University, however, you may also need to present an SAT score (480 in EBRW and 530 in Math) or an ACT score (18 in English, 22 in Reading, 22 in Math, and 23 in Science) for them to determine if you make the top 10% cutoff. If you’d like to attend a private university instead, you face more competitive automatic admission pathways that involve extra work, such as proving that your coursework is up to the university’s standard.
Florida’s Talented 20 program guarantees admission to college as long as you’re in the top 20% of your high school class, you’ve taken the ACT or SAT, and you’ve completed 18 high school units as listed in the admissions requirements of public universities. You may not get into your college of choice, but at least you’ll be reassured with acceptance into a college.
Public universities in Mississippi will automatically accept you if you have a 3.2 GPA. If that isn’t something you’ve got under your belt, you might also be able to get in with a combination of your GPA and test scores.
Arizona’s public universities guarantee admission if you have a 3.0 GPA, OR if you’re in the top 25% of your high school class.
The Direct Admissions Initiative in Idaho guarantees admission to at least six Idaho universities if you go to a public school and pass all the required coursework.
Those of you in South Dakota, stay tuned! The state is working on an automatic admissions program.
Similar to Texas’ Top 10% Rule, California has a Top 9% Guarantee: the top 9% of students in the state are guaranteed admission to the UCs. Be warned, though, that this rule doesn’t specify a campus, so you may not be guaranteed entry into hyper-competitive Berkeley or UCLA. What puts a student in the top 9% statewide is hard to say because of all the restrictions in the calculations (visit this page for the official calculator). If you have a 4.25 weighted GPA or above, it’s probably safe to assume that you’re in the top 9%.
Why Do Automatic Admission?
The biggest reason is to de-stress. Whether or not you’re accepted into a college is difficult to control, and it can sometimes feel like admissions officers do little more than throw darts at a board to pick admits. Being able to take control of your admissions and knowing for sure that you got in somewhere are priceless forms of assurance that can really take a weight off your mind. If you have any of the opportunities above open to you, we highly recommend that you check them out!