Get the Scoop on Guaranteed Admission Programs


If you are a student with a high GPA as well as high test scores, there may be an easier way to go to the college than you thought.

Students don't often realize that many colleges and universities offer guaranteed admission to students if they meet certain criteria, typically based on academic performance.

Get to Know A Sampling of the Offers

Several colleges participate in guaranteed admission programs. For example, the Georgia Institute of Technology offers automatic acceptance to Ga. high school valedictorians and salutatorians. Graduating Georgia valedictorians and salutatorians must submit an application and have successfully completed the prerequisite course work for entrance to the school.

Tulane University in New Orleans has a guaranteed admission program, but requires applicants to apply Early Decision by Nov. 1 to take advantage of it. Additionally, there are several other requirements, as follows:

- Reside in Louisiana

- Attend or have graduated from a La. high school at the time of application

- Achieve a 31+ score on the ACT (or a 1450 on the redesigned SAT)

- Have a 3.6+ core GPA (unweighted, 4.00 scale) at the time of application in English, foreign language, science, social science and college preparatory mathematics courses taken while in high school

- Complete four years of English, three years of social sciences, three years of lab science, three years of mathematics and two years of foreign language

- Have no prior college attendance after high school graduation

- Have no suspensions, expulsions, or disciplinary violations

In Washington state, Eastern Washington University offers guaranteed admission to students with a GPA of 3.3 or greater, while at Central Washington University, you'll get guaranteed admission with a GPA of 3.4 or greater. Washington State University offers guaranteed admission to students with a GPA of 3.5 or greater, according to Anne Holmdahl, founder of Common Sense College Counseling in Redmond, Washington.

The two largest state schools in Texas — the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and Texas A&M University — have automatic in-state admits for certain academic criteria. Both stem from the state's Top Ten Percent Rule. UT now requires students to be in the top six percent of their high school to be eligible for automatic admission. Texas A&M University admits students in-state who are ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school's graduating class, or they also have a program called "Academic Admission" where students can be ranked in the top 25 percent and meet certain test score criteria to also be eligible for automatic admission.

Know the Pros and Cons

“These programs have real pluses and minuses," says Erika Dietz, founder of Guru Academic Advising in Flower Mound, Texas, about guaranteed admissions programs in the state. “On one hand, it gives students something to shoot for. It relieves the stress of waiting to know if they will be admitted for students who meet these benchmarks, which is a relief; however, the ranking makes competition intense at many high schools."

Additionally, you might not realize that in some states, there is guaranteed admission to state universities if you attend a community college first and meet specific requirements. In Virginia, students who graduate from one of the state's 23 community colleges with an associate's degree and a minimum grade point average may obtain guaranteed admission to more than 30 of the commonwealth's colleges and universities.

Regardless of where you live, be sure to investigate which colleges and universities have guaranteed admission policies (and the specific criteria you need to meet) that you might want to attend. It just might make your college admission process much simpler!