25 of the best colleges for good students who don't test well

  • US News compiled a list of A+ schools for B students, calculating admission data and SAT/ACT scores.
  • To be considered an A+ school for B students, a university had to have a high freshman retention rate, admit a large portion of students who didn’t get straight A’s in high school, admit students with a range of SAT/ACT scores.
  • If you have high grades but are a bad test taker, don’t fret – several universities consider more than just a test score.

Applying to college senior year of high school is a life changing process and decision. Many students have high GPA’s but fall short when it comes to SAT/ACT scores. If you have high grades but are a bad test taker, don’t fret – several universities consider more than just a test score.

US News compiled a list of A+ schools for B students, looking at admission data, average freshman retention rates, and the school’s rank on US News’ Best Colleges list (the top three-fourths made this list).

To be considered an A+ school for B students, a university had to have a high freshman retention rate, and admit a large portion of students who didn’t get straight A’s in high school and have a range of SAT/ACT scores. SAT/ACT score averages are calculated based on the most common score of admitted students and represents the 25th-75th percentile. Read US News’ full methodology here.

Below is a list of the top 25 national universities that classify as A+ schools for B students. Tuition and fees included below are for the 2018-2019 school year.


25. Arizona State University – Tempe

Overall rank: 115 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 84%

ACT: 22-29

In-state tuition and fees: $US10,822

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US28,336


24. University of the Pacific

Overall rank: 106 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 65%

SAT: 1070-1330

Tuition and fees: $US48,040


23. University of South Carolina

Overall rank: 106 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 72%

ACT: 25-30

In-state tuition and fees: $US12,262

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US32,362


22. University of New Hampshire

Overall rank: 106 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 77%

SAT: 1080-1260

In-state tuition and fees: $US18,499

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US33,879


21. University of Arizona

Christian Peterson/Getty

Overall rank: 106 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 84%

ACT: 21-28

In-state tuition and fees: $US11,644

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US32,499


20. Temple University

Overall rank: 106 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 57%

SAT: 1130-1310

In-state tuition and fees: $US16,666

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US28,426


19. SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Overall rank: 106 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 52%

SAT: 1150-1300

In-state tuition and fees: $US8,568

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US18,218


18. University of Oregon

Overall rank: 102 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 83%

SAT: 1080-1270

In-state tuition and fees: $US11,898

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US35,478


17. Clarkson University

Overall rank: 102 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 66%

SAT: 1143-1330

Tuition and fees: $US49,444


16. University of Vermont

Overall rank: 96 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 67%

SAT: 1180-1350

In-state tuition and fees: $US18,276

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US42,516


15. University of San Francisco

Wikimedia Commons

Overall rank: 96 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 66%

SAT: 1100-1290

Tuition and fees: $US48,066


14. University of Denver

Overall rank: 96 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 58%

ACT: 25-30

Tuition and fees: $US50,556


13. University of Colorado – Boulder

Getty Images

Overall rank: 96 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 80%

ACT: 25-30

In-state tuition and fees: $US12,534

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US37,288


12. University of Iowa

Overall rank: 89 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 86%

ACT: 23-28

In-state tuition and fees: $US8,965

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US30,609


11. University of Delaware

Overall rank: 89 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 60%

SAT: 1150-1330

In-state tuition and fees: $US13,680

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US34,310


10. University at Buffalo – SUNY

Overall rank: 89 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 57%

SAT: 1140-1310

In-state tuition and fees: $US10,028

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US27,758


9. Marquette University

Andy Lyons/Getty

Overall rank: 89 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 89%

ACT: 24-29

Tuition and fees: $US41,870


8. Loyola University Chicago

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Overall rank: 89 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 71%

ACT: 24-29

Tuition and fees: $US44,048


7. Howard University

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Overall rank: 89 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 41%

SAT: 1090-1290

Tuition and fees: $US26,756


6. University of San Diego

Overall rank: 85 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 50%

ACT: 26-30

Tuition and fees: $US49,358


5. Michigan State University

Rey Del Rio/Getty

Overall rank: 85 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 72%

SAT: 1100-1320

In-state tuition and fees: $US14,460

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US39,750


4. Texas Christian University

Overall rank: 80 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 41%

ACT: 25-30

Tuition and fees: $US46,950


3. American University

Overall rank: 78 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 29%

SAT: 1180-1350

Tuition and fees: $US48,459


2. Pennsylvania State University

Overall rank: 59 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 50%

SAT: 1160-1340

In-state tuition and fees: $US18,454

Out-of-state tuition and fees: $US34,858


1. Syracuse University

Overall rank: 53 (tie)

Acceptance rate: 47%

SAT: 1160-1350

Tuition and fees: $US51,853

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