Everything You Need To Know About Open Admissions Policy

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Written by Shefali Onawale

Someone, somewhere said a thing...and now we remember it because they probably wrote it down! She used to write for herself and now writes to help others. Writing has brought her a long way and she wishes to walk some more, preferably making sojourns along the way.

May 16, 2021

Seeking college admissions can be daunting for students as well as parents. The entire admission process may feel overwhelming, exhaustive, and expensive. If you are from the Americas or are an international student seeking admission in the USA, you might have come across the open admissions policy of the country which may also be popularly known as “open enrollment” or “inclusive admission”. 

What Is An Open Admission Policy?

Under the open admission policy, students only need a GED certificate or a high school diploma to seek admission into college. Open admission schools can be found throughout the United States, and they vary significantly. Most colleges with Open Admission are community colleges or colleges which grant associate degrees. 

Open admissions mean that the selection/admission process of the college is not competitive and students are selected if they meet the basic criteria such as having passed their previous year of study. 

Are Open Admissions Really Open? What Does Open Admission Policy Mean?

More often than not, students can easily get admitted into a college that has the policy of open admission if they possess a high-school degree certificate. However, sometimes colleges or universities may select candidates based on their internal admission/entry test or your GPA. 

Also, guaranteed admission to open admission colleges don’t always mean that a student can take courses. If a college has too many applicants, you may find yourself waitlisted for some, if not all courses. 

Pros And Cons Of Open Admissions Policy 

Just like every provision has its own pros and are usually the reasons why such provisions were established, the same might also have its own latent cons. 

Pros of The Open Admissions Policy 

  • School dropouts have a chance to rekindle their career and start over because of the open admissions policy. 
  • Offers a diversified college experience to students who wish to continue their education without competition. 
  • Most community colleges are a fraction of the price of 4-year colleges. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost of tuition and fees for a public two-year school is only $9,440. 
  • Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of this policy. 
  • If you are late in applying for university admissions and do not want to waste the entire year, the opportunity set out by this policy will be your rescue, provided you are applying to open enrollment colleges. 
  • Moreover, while applying to a college with this policy, you can expect to hear back from them in 4 to 8 weeks. This is because, unlike other private institutes, the admissions committee in such open admission colleges do not wait till the day of the deadline to reply to its prospective students. Once a student is accepted (or waitlisted), by the panel, the news is directly shared with the student without delay. 
  • Open enrollment colleges with relative marking systems also aid in boosting the grade point of the students, fastening their hold on getting accepted in Ivy League.
  • The policy of increasing accessibility was intended to provide a college education to all who desire it.  It allows students with a wide range of potential to attend college.

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Cons of Open Admission Policy 

  • Since the admission process is not highly competitive, the curriculum in most of these colleges that have this policy is also not rigorous. 
  • You will not be prepared to work with students who are highly trained. Most of the top universities in the USA have an extensive curriculum that prepares their students for real-world challenges. If you seek admission through the open enrolment process, you might miss out on high-quality education. 
  • Rolling admissions work on a first-cum-first-serve basis. This means that if you are late to apply for admission at an open university/community college, you might have to face rejection as the slots would be filled. 
  • If you apply late, you might have to face competition even under the open admission policy. 
  • Graduation rates tend to be low, often in the teens or even single digits. At Tennessee State, for example, only 18% of students graduate in four years. At Granite State College, that number is just 7%.

Examples Of Colleges And Universities With Open Admissions

  • Granite State College. This is a public university in New Hampshire 
  • The University of Maine at Augusta. A public university in Augusta, Maine. 
  • Tennessee State University. Historically black university in Nashville, Tennessee. 
  • Arkansas Baptist College. A private college in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Salem International University. Private university in Salem, West Virginia. 

What is The History Behind Open Admissions? 

The City University of New York was the first to institute the policy of open admissions into their admittance criterion. The revolution in education methodology was highly influenced by the Civil Rights Movement. The stand taken by the African Americans against racial discrimination not only served as a tool to conquer equal rights but had also initiated a movement to cater to the students who were unsuccessful in cracking admissions into some of the top universities because of credential deficit. The open admission policy originated in the latter half of the 20th century with the preliminary motive to establish equal rights for the destitute in school. 

Thanks for reading this blog on Everything You Need To Know About Open Admission Policy. If you are interested in learning about student life abroad, the following articles should be of interest to you: 

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