Want to get into the major you want, but not go through the headaches of college admissions? You might want to consider a public university that openly promotes assured admissions. Assured admissions means that if you meet or beat certain numbers in college prep—GPA, SAT/ACT score, maybe class rank—you’re in. You might be able to get into one or more of these schools without writing an essay or collecting recommendation letters.
New Jersey, where I live, is a state that many college-bound high school students want to leave.They usually don’t venture far, preferring to stay within a half-day’s drive from home. Unfortunately, sons and daughters of the Garden State will have to travel further to opt for a flagship public school that offers assured admissions to non-residents. The easternmost school that does is the University of Missouri. But those who hail from the South and Southwest, the Midwest, or the West Coast are more fortunate.
With the help of College Kickstarter, here’s a list of flagship schools by region that offer assured admissions for residents and non-residents of their states. Interestingly, four of the ‘Power Five’ sports conferences—no Atlantic Coast Conference school is listed—are represented.
South and Southwest: Mississippi State University, Oklahoma State University, Texas Tech University, University of Houston
Midwest: Iowa State University, Kansas State University, University of Iowa, University of Kansas, University of Nebraska
West: Arizona State University, Montana State University, University of Montana, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Wyoming, Washington State University
These schools set different expectations for assured admissions for residents and non-residents. Some like Washington State (3.5+ GPA or Top 10% rank in class) set higher bars. The University of Wyoming (3.0+ GPA, 1060+ SAT or 21+ ACT for non-residents) sets a much lower one.
Is there a “best school” on this list for non-residents? The University of Iowa might be. It graduates over half (53%) of its freshmen on time. So does Arizona State (52%). But the rest of them do not.
But what if costs are a consideration? The University of Iowa might set a non-resident back over $50,000, depending on their major. The largest merit scholarship for a non-resident, the Advantage Iowa Award is no more than $8,000. Those who get into the Honors College could apply for additional money, but they’ll need a 3.6+ GPA.
Arizona State’s sticker price for a non-resident is about the same as the University of Iowa. I plugged the Assured Admissions standards (3.0+ GPA, 1180+ SAT, 24+ ACT) into their Scholarship Estimator. A New Jersey resident would qualify for a $7,500 scholarship, which they would not get if they went to Iowa. The Barrett Honors College has it own awards for freshmen and continuing students, but they’re small.
At the moment I would state that Arizona State, which has the largest undergraduate student body in America, might be the better buy. But neither school will be a better buy than, for example, the University of Rhode Island (URI), for a New Jersey resident who might prefer a college closer to home. But URI will ask you to write an essay and submit a counselor recommendation. Arizona State and Iowa will not.
The University of Wyoming, on the list of assured admissions schools, is intriguing. It has an estimated total cost of attendance that’s lower than Arizona State, Iowa or Rhode Island charge for tuition and fees alone! The New Jersey resident who can get into Arizona State or URI also qualifies for a $2,000 scholarship! S/he would pay around $7,000 less to go to Wyoming than s/he would pay to live on campus at any state school in New Jersey! However, the four-year graduation rate is less than 30 percent; more than a fifth of the freshman do not return for their sophomore year. That always concerns me, but the more diligent students, especially in the more demanding majors such as Architectural and Petroleum Engineering or Nursing always find a way to finish.
Take a look at the majors list at Wyoming. Maybe it pays for your babies to grow up to be cowpokes. It costs only 40 bucks to find out.
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