9 Colleges with No Letters of Recommendation Required

If you’re ready to start—or finally finish—an undergraduate degree, but you have no letters of recommendation, there’s no reason that should stop you from pursuing your college and career goals.

Keep reading for our list of partner programs that don’t require a letter of recommendation as part of their admissions requirements.

List of 9 Colleges with No Letters of Recommendation Required

Letters of recommendation from faculty and former teachers are a common requirement, but they’re not universal, especially at schools that cater to non-traditional students. Check out our list of 9 sponsored programs at colleges with no letters of recommendation.

#1: American InterContinental University

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

About AIU

AIU has physical campuses in Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, but most students are enrolled in the online campus. Resources like a four-person Graduation Team help support online students, who can take classes 24/7 via the web or the AIU Mobile App.

#2: Ashford University

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

About Ashford University:

Ashford University is one of the country’s largest online colleges and has been an online-only school since 2016. Though its headquarters are in San Diego, Ashford traces its origins back to 1893 and the Mt. Clare Academy girls’ boarding school in Iowa.

#3: Colorado State University Global Campus

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, 2.3 minimum GPA

About Colorado State University Global Campus:

CSU Global Campus was established in 2007 to help the Colorado State University system better meet the needs of adult learners. All of the programs are degree completion programs, which let students put transfer credits, military experience, and life experience toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree.

#4: Colorado Technical University

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

About Colorado Technical University:

Founded in 1965 as a vo-tech school for military veterans, Colorado Technical University is still frequently ranked among the “Best for Vets” by Military Times magazine, including in 2016. In addition to online-only degree programs, CTU also offers courses at its main campus in Colorado Springs and in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.

#5: ECPI University

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

About ECPI University:

ECPI focuses on getting graduates ready for entry-level jobs in STEM and health sciences professions. Online degree programs began in 2005, bringing ECPI’s small classes and personal experience to thousands more students.

In addition, Military Times magazine ranked ECPI the #1 career and technical college for veterans in 2019, its eighth consecutive year on the best-of list.

#6: Full Sail University

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Available Programs:

The degree programs at Full Sail University are especially focused on skills needed in the entertainment and media industries and include options such as:

About Full Sail University:

Full Sail University is a private, for-profit university. It began as an Ohio recording studio and film production school but moved to Florida in 1980.

Nationally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, FSU is one of only a few career colleges to focus on the skills needed for success in TV, film, music, and other areas of the entertainment industry.

#7: Grand Canyon University

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Available Programs:

At GCU, there are no letters of recommendation required for their online degrees. However, if you’re interested in applying to their on-campus Honors College, you will need to submit recommendations.

Some undergraduate programs include:

About Grand Canyon University:

About 29,000 undergraduates attend Grand Canyon University’s main campus in Phoenix, Arizona. But it’s the additional 54,000 thousand enrolled in online degrees that help make GCU the country’s largest private Christian university. In addition, GCU gained non-profit status in July 2018.

#8: Grantham University

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

About Grantham University:

Grantham is a for-profit, online-only university with headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas. As of 2017, undergrad enrollment was almost 8,000. It offers remedial services for students who need to get up to speed, and accepts transfer credits, AP class credits, and credit for relevant life experience.

#9: Purdue University Global

Admissions Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent

Available Programs:

Of the roughly 50 different undergraduate degree programs available at Purdue University Global, none require letters of recommendation including:

About Purdue University Global:

Purdue University Global, known as PG, is part of Indiana’s large, public Purdue University system. The university system was founded in 1869, but PG only became a reality in 2018 and is focused on adult learners and career-oriented programs.

Why Don’t Some Colleges Require Letters of Recommendation?

Some colleges don’t require letters of recommendation because there are many ways to assess an applicant’s potential for success. No required recommendations allows admissions counselors to take more time and focus on other aspects of your application.

In fact, many colleges don’t require recommendations, including large university systems and smaller, private colleges. Plus, many online colleges that cater to adult learners and veterans don’t require them either and choose to focus on your life and professional experience.

That means you have plenty of options if you’re looking to pursue an undergraduate degree but don’t have any recommendations.

How to Get Letters of Recommendation for College Application

Getting letters of recommendation may seem difficult, especially if you’ve been out of school for a while. However, chances are you can still get a great recommendation letter from a number of different people.

No matter who you ask, make it as easy for them as possible. Ask politely, give them plenty of time, and make sure they understand the school’s requirements as well as your goals so they can highlight your best qualities.

Check out our list of the people you can ask for a letter of recommendation.

#1: Your Employer

Your manager or team leader can speak to your work ethic, problem-solving abilities, and how well you collaborate with colleagues. If your job is related to the degree you hope to pursue, that’s great.

But don’t worry if your job is in a different field, as those traits apply to your character and not a specific position.

#2: Your Coach

College admissions boards don’t care about your championship season, but if you were always motivating teammates, quick to grasp new strategies, and stayed late to review game tapes, that’s dedication you can draw on for college success.

Even if you weren’t focused on academics in high school, try talking to a coach about why you feel ready for college now. They may be able to help communicate that to an admissions counselor.

#3: Your Professor

If you decide to enroll in a college class or two before you look for full-time or part-time enrollment, you can really focus on excelling and getting to know the teacher. A letter of recommendation from someone in your area of study can go a long way, especially from a teacher who can speak to your dedication in the classroom.

Does Common App Require Letters of Recommendation?

Applying to college is stressful enough without managing all the different forms and deadlines of individual schools. The Common App simplifies that process, and more than 800 schools accept it.

The Common App itself requires no letters of recommendation, but their Requirements Grid will let you know if any individual schools do so you can take that into account when deciding where to apply.

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Plus, you can always keep reading about colleges with high acceptance rates and colleges with rolling admissions.