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Published: May 05, 2016 5 min read
The University of Washington in Bothell is one of Money's best public colleges, and it's still accepting applications for this fall.
courtesy University of Washingto

For this year's list of colleges that still have space, head here.

The countdown clock to high school graduation is ticking, but for soon-to-be graduates who haven't nailed down their college plans, there are still some high-quality options available.

More than 300 colleges still have openings for their upcoming freshman class, according to the annual College Openings Update from the National Association for College Admissions Counseling. More than 50 of them finished in the top half of Money's 2015 Best Colleges rankings. (See the table below for our list of the top colleges with openings.)

The list is released each year following the May 1 national response deadline, when many institutions require deposits from students who have been offered acceptance. After tallying the numbers to see whether they met their enrollment goals, colleges with space available can volunteer to be included on the counseling association’s list. Other colleges on the list have rolling admissions policies, which means that every year they accept applications until their seats are filled.

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The list is available online until July 1, and it's a fluid list, so more colleges can join in the coming weeks, while others can remove themselves if they fill their class.

The fact that a college still has openings is, of course, not a guarantee that you'll be able to fill one of them—you'll still need to meet the college's academic qualifications. If your grades and test scores fall within the college's academic profile, and you think you'd do well there, contact the admissions office as soon as possible to ask how its late-season application works. (NACAC has contact information on its list.) Be prepared to collect and submit required documents, such as recommendation letters and transcripts, in very condensed time period.

And perhaps most importantly, note that while all the U.S. colleges on the list say that they still have financial aid available, you likely won't receive the same amount of money as a similar student who applied during the regular application season. Many colleges award scholarships and grants until the pot of money runs out, so they have limited flexibility in granting financial awards beyond loans or work study this late in the year.

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Most every college that is accepting freshmen is also taking transfer students, but there are a handful of top-notch colleges on the list that only have openings for transfers, including the University of Florida and Texas State University. Nearly all the colleges on the list are four-year colleges, which tend to have more concrete enrollment and application cutoffs than do community colleges and vocational schools, which also will still be enrolling for the fall semester.

Here are colleges ranked in the top third of Money's Best Colleges rankings that are still accepting applications.

School Money rank State Graduation Rate Average SAT/ACT Acceptance Rate
University of Washington-Bothell Campus 36 WA 64% 1020/21 76%
Bradley University 88 IL 78% 1140/26 67%
Grove City College 89 PA 82% 1210/27 81%
John Carroll University 93 OH 75% 1090/25 83%
Rutgers University-Newark 105 NJ 67% 1060/NA 54%
Loyola University Maryland 109 MD 84% 1190/27 58%
Michigan Technological University 127 MI 66% 1210/27 77%
University of Utah 127 UT 60% 1130/24 82%
Saint Peter's University 134 NJ 53% 920/19 54%
La Salle University 141 PA 65% 990/22 80%
University of Arizona 147 AZ 61% 1110/24 77%
Xavier University 147 OH 76% 1110/25 70%
DePauw University 184 IN 74% 1200/27 61%
Holy Family University 196 PA 55% 940/19 76%
Illinois State University 196 IL 72% 1080/24 69%
Oregon State University 209 OR 61% 1100/24 79%
Valparaiso University 209 IN 70% 1110/26 80%
Regis University 221 CO 58% 1080/24 70%
Saint Vincent College 221 PA 70% 1030/23 69%
St. Mary's College of Maryland 230 MD 79% 1220/28 72%
Saint Norbert College 230 WI 74% 1090/25 82%
Franklin College 237 IN 57% 1010/22 60%
Westminster College 237 PA 74% 1040/23 73%
Radford University 246 VA 59% 990/20 78%

Notes: Six-year graduation rate and admissions data from IPEDS and Peterson's for fall 2014.