Open main menu

Open admissions, or open enrollment, is a type of unselective and noncompetitive college admissions process in the United States in which the only criterion for entrance is a high school diploma or a certificate of attendance or General Educational Development (GED) certificate.[1]



This form of "inclusive" admissions[2] is used by many public junior colleges and community colleges[1] and differs from the selective admission policies of most private liberal arts colleges and research universities in the United States, which often take into account standardized test scores as well as other academic and character-related criteria.[2]


The open admissions concept was heavily promoted in the 1960s and 1970s as a way to reduce discrimination in college admissions and to promote education of the underprivileged. The first major application was at the City University of New York (CUNY). It later applied the policy only to two-year community colleges since they are better prepared for remedial education.[3]

Graduation ratesEdit

The graduation rates of colleges are closely tied to their admissions policies. Six years after beginning a four-year program, an average of 60% of students nationwide will have graduated. However, that rate varies from 89% at colleges that accept less than a quarter of applicants to less than 36% at those with an open admissions policy.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Peterson's Guide: Glossary of terms
  2. ^ a b Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching: Undergraduate Profile Technical Details
  3. ^ "Education: Open Admissions: American Dream or Disaster?". Time. 19 Oct 1970.
  4. ^ "What are the graduation rates for students obtaining a bachelor's degree?". Fast Facts. National Center for Education Statistics. May 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.