20 Colleges in California With High Acceptance Rates in 

Everyone has their own preferred college experience. Most people share the same goal of finding a school that matches their personality and where they will thrive as a student for four years. 

Colleges come in different packages, so it is essential to consider many things before committing your time and hard-earned tuition money. 

Some colleges differ wildly on the quality of education they offer, the number of students they accept at the end of high school, and the academic reputation these colleges have established across the country.

Although choosing where to go to college can be difficult, this article is designed to help you narrow down your choices by providing an in-depth list of 20 colleges in California that should be on your radar as you progress through high school and into your college years.

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What Is the Admission Requirement for Colleges with High Acceptance Rate?

The admission requirement for colleges with a high acceptance rate is the same as for all other colleges: a good academic record. 

The college admission process can be challenging and time-consuming. In addition to applying to colleges, you must take the SAT or ACT, submit college applications and pay application fees. Do all that to get your foot in the door of some of America’s most prestigious schools.

In addition, if you’re applying to a highly selective college, you’ll need to present yourself as an outstanding candidate in the application process. 

That means doing all you can to make yourself stand out from other applicants and convince the admissions committee that you will be a great asset to their student body.

What Are the Benefits of Attending a California College with A High Acceptance Rate?

A college with a high acceptance rate might not be as selective as other universities. This means that students who apply and are accepted have less competition for spots in classes. 

Students who attend schools with lower acceptance rates will often have better opportunities for internships and job opportunities after graduation because they’re more qualified than other candidates in their field of study. 

Students at these schools have higher GPAs, higher test scores, and more experience in their chosen field than those who attend schools with low acceptance rates.

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What Are the Challenges of Attending a California College with A High Acceptance Rate?

Here are some challenges you may face if you attend a California college with high acceptance rates:

It can be hard to get into certain majors. If you want to major in an area with high demand or low supply, getting into your preferred major at a California school with high acceptance rates may be difficult. 

This is because many students apply for these majors, so there are only so many openings available for each program.

Suppose you want to major in something like biology or computer science. In that case, it could be difficult for you to get into those programs at some of the most selective colleges in California.

High Competition: There is a lot of competition for admission into these schools. Most applicants have excellent grades and test scores, so they are more likely to be accepted into these colleges than other institutions.

Many students who are not admitted into these colleges are very qualified and would like to attend one of them, but there just needs to be more space to accommodate everyone who wants in. 

What Is the Average Cost for Colleges in California?

The average annual tuition and fees at a four-year institution in California is $3,908 for in-state students and $19,989 for out-of-state students).

The College Board reports that the average cost for one year of a public four-year university is $29,056.

California schools also offer financial aid packages to low-income families and student loans to help pay for college.

List of Colleges in California with High Acceptance Rate

Here is a list of colleges in California with high acceptance rates. These schools are ranked by their acceptance rate:

  • Foothill College
  • Santa Barbara City College
  • Las Positas College
  • Lake Tahoe Community College
  • City College of San Francisco
  • Allan Hancock College
  • Mt. San Antonio College
  • College of San Mateo
  • Pasadena City College
  • Cuesta College
  • Academy of Art University
  • College of Alameda
  • American River College
  • Antelope Valley College
  • Bakersfield College
  • Barstow Community College
  • Bethesda University of California
  • Butte College
  • Cerritos College
  • Chabot College

#1. Foothill College

Foothill College is a public 2-year institution in Los Altos Hills, California.

This college is known for its high acceptance rate of transfer students. In fact, it has one of the highest rates of any 2-year college in California regarding acceptance.

Foothill College’s acceptance rate is 100 percent, meaning nearly everyone who applies to the school gets in.

This makes it an excellent choice if you wish to go to college but don’t want to worry about whether you’ll be able to get in.

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#2. Santa Barbara City College

Santa Barbara City College is a public, two-year community college with a high acceptance rate.

The college offers a wide range of coursework, including transferable classes and career and technical education programs.

Santa Barbara City College is a nice option for those looking to continue their education while staying in the area. With an acceptance rate of 100%, this community college has one of the highest acceptance rates in California.

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#3. Las Positas College

If you’re looking for a college with a high acceptance rate in California, consider Las Positas College.

The school offers courses that transfer to universities and colleges around the country and vocational programs in fields like agriculture, information technology, and more.

The school also offers many programs to help you start your career as soon as possible.

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#4. Lake Tahoe Community College

The Lake Tahoe Community College is a public two-year institution that offers programs to help students earn an associate’s degree, a certificate, or transfer credit for entry into a four-year college or university. 

The school has an open admissions policy and accepts transfer students from other colleges throughout California. 

Lake Tahoe Community College accepts about 70% of its applicants each year. The acceptance rate is higher than average among community colleges in California. 

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#5. City College of San Francisco

City College of San Francisco is a great option for students who want a high-quality education at an affordable price. The school offers a variety of programs.

The school offers classes in everything from humanities to business and even languages. 

The school’s acceptance rate is above 90%, so if you apply to City College of San Francisco and meet its requirements, it will probably admit you.

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#6. Allan Hancock College

Allan Hancock College is a small, public community college in Santa Maria, California. 

The college enrolls over 5,000 students each year and offers a range of majors and career programs.

Besides offering affordable tuition rates, Allan Hancock College has a high acceptance rate for transfer students, making it a good choice for people who want to continue their education at a four-year institution but cannot afford to attend one immediately.

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#7. Mt. San Antonio College

This is a community college in Southern California that offers students the opportunity to get a quality education at an affordable price. 

The school has an acceptance rate of over 85.9%, making it one of the most accessible colleges in California.

Besides its low tuition costs, Mt. San Antonio College also offers transferable credit and a variety of programs, including art, business administration, and other disciplines.

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#8. College of San Mateo

The College of San Mateo is a public two-year university located in the city of San Mateo, California.

The College of San Mateo is known for its excellent transfer rates and agreements with many four-year schools.

This institution also has several academic programs designed specifically for transfer students. 

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#9. Pasadena City College

If you’re looking for a college in California that has a high acceptance rate, Pasadena City College might be your best bet. With an acceptance rate of nearly 100%, it’s one of the most famous schools in the state.

The school also offers online classes and dual-enrollment programs for high school students interested in taking college-level courses while still in high school.

The school offers two-year programs leading to an associate’s degree and also provides certificates and transfer credits for students looking to continue their education at other colleges.

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#10. Cuesta College

Cuesta College is a two-year community college in San Luis Obispo, CA. It has an acceptance rate of 100%, meaning that students will not be denied admission into any of the programs at Cuesta College.

The college offers 50 degrees, associate degrees, and certificates in various areas, including business, education, liberal arts, and science. 

The college prides itself on its accessibility and affordability.

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#11. Academy of Art University

Academy of Art University remains one of the top colleges in California, and it’s easy to see why.

This school has an acceptance rate of 83%, making it a great option for students who want to get into a good school but are worried about their chances of admission. 

The tuition at the Academy of Art University is also much lower than most other schools in California. With so many great opportunities to choose from, it’s no wonder Academy of Art University has such a high acceptance rate.

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#12. College of Alameda

The College of Alameda is a community college in Alameda, California. It was founded in 1957 and served over 10,000 students annually. 

The college offers degrees and certificates in many subjects, including the arts and humanities, business, engineering and technology, health professions, liberal arts, and sciences.

Acceptance rate: 100%

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#13. American River College

American River College is a California community college that has an acceptance rate of almost 100%. The school is located in Sacramento and offers both on-campus and online courses.

It has an open admissions policy, meaning you can enroll regardless of your academic record.

The campus has grown over time to include over 20 buildings, with over 100 classrooms and labs.

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#14. Antelope Valley College

Antelope Valley College is a public two-year community college in the Antelope Valley in northern Los Angeles County, California.

Founded in 1929, it has grown to become one of the best community colleges in California.

Antelope Valley College has an overall acceptance rate of 90%, making it one of the most selective schools in California. It also has an acceptance rate for first-time applicants of 87%, making it one of the most selective colleges for first-time applicants in California.

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#15. Bakersfield College

Bakersfield College is a community college in Bakersfield, California. It offers associate degrees and certificates and is one of the top colleges in California.

Bakersfield College offers an associate’s degree completion program for students who have already gotten a bachelor’s degree. 

Students can choose from several majors, including business administration, health science, kinesiology, and psychology.

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#16. Barstow Community College

Barstow Community College is a public, two-year institution of higher education established in Barstow, California. 

The school serves over 6,000 students from the surrounding area and beyond. Barstow Community College has a high acceptance rate of about 88%, making it possible for many students to attend if they apply.

The school offers undergraduate degrees in various fields, including art, business administration, education, and others.

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#17. Bethesda University of California

The Bethesda University of California is a private, nonprofit Christian university located in the heart of Anaheim. 

It offers certificates and associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in business administration, healthcare, and education.

The university also provides students with opportunities for internships and career development. Students can also engage in extracurricular activities like sports clubs or volunteer opportunities that help them build leadership skills.

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#18. Butte College

Butte College is a private, nonprofit institution that was founded many decades ago.

It offers a variety of undergraduate degrees and graduate programs in over 30 majors and fields of study.

The school has an acceptance rate of 95%, making it one of the best options for students who want to attend college in California with a high likelihood of acceptance.

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#19. Cerritos College

Cerritos College is a public community college in Norwalk, California. 

While this college offers certificates and associate degrees in various programs such as business administration, education, and psychology, it also offers certificates in the arts and technology fields.

Cerritos College has an annual enrollment rate of 94%, so 94% of applicants who meet basic requirements are admitted each year.

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#20. Chabot College

Chabot College is a community college located in Hayward, California. It offers two-year associate degrees and certificates to students who have completed the required high school courses. 

The most popular majors at Chabot are business, computers, engineering, and liberal arts.

The college has an acceptance rate of 81%, making it easier for students to get into this institution than many other community colleges in California.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which California University has the highest acceptance rate?

The California State University system has a relatively high acceptance rate, averaging 97.7%. 

What is the highest GPA in California?

The highest GPA in California is 4.00, a grade that is only given to students who have earned every possible A in their classes.

What GPA is required for UCLA?

If you are applying to UCLA, you will need at least a 3.0 GPA. This is the lowest GPA needed for admission.


Education is an investment. To ensure you get the highest return on your money and time, it pays to do your due diligence when choosing where to go to school. 

I hope you find the information in this article useful when you’re making this important decision.



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