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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

24 Great Colleges That Still Have Space for Fall 2016

May 05, 2016

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.

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.

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.

SchoolMONEY rankStateGraduation RateAverage SAT/ACTAcceptance Rate
University of Washington-Bothell Campus36WA64%1020/2176%
Bradley University88IL78%1140/2667%
Grove City College89PA82%1210/2781%
John Carroll University93OH75%1090/2583%
Rutgers University-Newark105NJ67%1060/NA54%
Loyola University Maryland109MD84%1190/2758%
Michigan Technological University127MI66%1210/2777%
University of Utah127UT60%1130/2482%
Saint Peter's University134NJ53%920/1954%
La Salle University141PA65%990/2280%
University of Arizona147AZ61%1110/2477%
Xavier University147OH76%1110/2570%
DePauw University184IN74%1200/2761%
Holy Family University196PA55%940/1976%
Illinois State University196IL72%1080/2469%
Oregon State University209OR61%1100/2479%
Valparaiso University209IN70%1110/2680%
Regis University221CO58%1080/2470%
Saint Vincent College221PA70%1030/2369%
St. Mary's College of Maryland230MD79%1220/2872%
Saint Norbert College230WI74%1090/2582%
Franklin College237IN57%1010/2260%
Westminster College237PA74%1040/2373%
Radford University246VA59%990/2078%

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

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