In Colorado, and in almost every state, you can get into college somewhere if you meet some basic minimal requirements and complete an application. If you have graduated from high school or have a GED, you can get into college even if you had a below average score on your ACTs or SATs. In Colorado, everyone has to take the ACT anyway.
The schools with the most open admissions policies are also often the least expensive to attend, and are more likely to be close enough for you to attend while living where you already do, than selective colleges. Tax credits and financial aid can almost always bridge that financial gap if you are eligible for admission to, but can't afford to attend, these schools.
The least selective public four year college in Colorado is Metropolitan State College of Denver. Assuming you apply on time, the admissions standards are as follows:
* If you have earned your GED, you are guaranteed admission to Metropolitan State College
* If you have graduated from high school and are twenty years of age or older, you are guaranteed admission to Metropolitan State College.
* If you have graduated from high school and are nineteen years of age or younger, you are guaranteed admission to Metropolitan State College if you have:
a CCHE index score of 85 or greater, an ACT English subscore of 18 or above and a reading subscore of 17 or above (or an SAT verbal score of 440 or above)
In Colorado 63% of high school graduates get at an ACT English subscore of 18 or above. By ethnicity 75% of white high school students, 63% of Asian high school students, 42% of Native American high school students, 38% of African American high school students, and 36% of Hispanic high school students, meet this automatic admission standard.
If you have a CCHE index score of 76 or greater, you may be considered for admission on an individual basis.
An example of a combination of grades and test scores that will produce a CCHE index score of 85 is a 2.5 high school GPA (half Bs and half Cs) and a combined ACT score of 20.
An example of a combination of grades and test scores that will produce a CCHE index score of 76 is a 2.0 high school GPA, e.g. mostly Cs with an equal number of Bs and Ds (or class rank in the top 80% of your graduating class), and a combined ACT composite score of 18 (a little lower on English/reading, a little higher in other areas). An ACT composite score of 18 is roughly the 33rd percentile, i.e. about two-thirds of people who take the ACT do better. An ACT composite score of 18 is equivalent to an SAT I combined score of about 860.
If you were in the top half of your high school graduating class, you are guaranteed admission to Metropolitan State College of Denver with an ACT composite score of 16 (the 18th percentile), and will be considered if your ACT composite score was at least 11. About 99% of people who take the ACT get a composite score of at least 12.
Even if you don't get into Metropolitan State College of Denver, you may be eligible for admission to a community college. The Community College of Denver's application, for example, doesn't even ask for test scores or your high school grades.
In state tuition and fees for a full time (32 credit hour a year) course load for a resident of Colorado at the Community College of Denver are about $3,000 a year. At Metropolitan State College of Denver it is $3333 a year, plus a mandatory $680 a semester health insurance fee if you don't have coverage elsewhere. In either case, a significant chunk of the cost can be paid for with a federal tax credit for the first two years. On top of that you need to pay for housing and food while you are in school.
People who go to college, even those who don't ultimately earn four year degrees, do significantly better financially than those who never go to college.
If you can't get into Metropolitan State College of Denver, quite frankly, you aren't ready, right now, to be a full time college student at a four year institution.
If you haven't graduated from high school you need to do that, or earn a GED first.
If you've under twenty years old, and graduated from high school with such low grades, class rank and test scores that you aren't eligible for admission to Metropolitan State College of Denver, you'd be better off working, figuring out what you want to do in life, and taking part time classes at community college to bring your academic ability up to the level needed for college level work first.