If you earned mostly As and Bs in high school, you may be wondering about colleges that accept 3.5 GPAs.
Those are pretty good grades, so you might not have too much trouble finding a variety of schools that would be happy to accept your application.
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As you read on, you'll learn about college opportunities for students with this GPA and how you can improve your chances of getting into some of your best schools.
Colleges that accept 3.5 GPA
As you progress through high school, all of your semester grades are added together and counted into a number known as your grade point average, or GPA. This one number represents, on average, how you did in your high school classes.
If you have a 3.5 GPA, you probably earned the most A's and B's in school. Your grades place you in the top half of high school students in the United States. Therefore, there may be some colleges that would accept you as a member of their student body.
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Whether a 3.5 GPA makes you a shoo-in for admission varies from school to school, however. Every college has different standards, and some have higher GPA requirements than others.
When considering where to apply, it's strategic to choose a range of schools—some with stricter admissions policies and others that accept a higher percentage of applicants.
Your safety schools are the colleges where you have a high chance of getting accepted. The average GPA of their freshman classes is likely below a 3.5.
These schools often have the capacity to accommodate a large proportion of applicants. Sending your application to a few safety schools will increase your chances of getting at least one college acceptance letter.
Your Match Schools are the ones whose admission policies match your grades and abilities exactly. Many of the students they admit may have GPAs like yours.
There are no guarantees in the college admissions process, but sending your applications to appropriate schools can increase your chances of receiving acceptance letters.
Reach schools seem a bit out of your reach. They may only accept a fraction of applicants, and many of the students who are accepted are likely to have GPAs above 3.5. However, it might be worth applying to some of these colleges, especially if you have high test scores.
Granted, GPA isn't the only thing colleges consider for student admissions. They often rely on test scores, references, extracurricular engagement, and even sample writing.
What is a 3.5 GPA?
Your grade point average (GPA) is a numeric number that represents your high school grades. Typically, a 4.0 is an A average and a 3.0 is a B average. If your GPA is 3.5, you are halfway between these two results.
Your semester grades are between 87% and 90% in most subjects. Of course there can be classes in which you score more or less points. In general though, you're probably an A and B student. The average GPA for high school students is 3.0. With 3.5 you are above the national average.
If your school uses weighted grades instead of an unweighted 4.0 scale, your 3.5 may have a different value. Getting extra points for AP or Honors classes makes it possible to earn a 3.5 without getting a lot of As. At a school with a 5.0 or 6.0 scale, a 3.5 might be a B or B average.
Is a 3.5 GPA good for college?
There are many universities that accept 3.5 GPA. Of course, it doesn't mean guaranteed acceptance. For one thing, GPA isn't the only factor colleges use to determine which students are a good fit for their school.
Also, highly selective schools may prefer scores even closer to 4.0. Even if you make it through your high school years with a 3.5 GPA, you should have an increased chance of getting into multiple schools.
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Once you make it through college, keeping up with a GPA of 3.5 or higher is beneficial. Your college GPA could play a role in whether you can be accepted into graduate school. Some graduate programs require minimum GPAs of 3.5 to 3.7. The better your college grades, the better your chances of admission to graduate school.
Can you increase your GPA?
By the time high school is over, your GPA isn't set in stone. Gradually, you can increase your GPA, especially if you start the process early in your high school career.
- student in the first year. Your freshman GPA is based on just a few classes. You'll take a few more before graduation, leaving plenty of time to move up or down. If you're struggling with a specific subject, now is a strategic time to seek additional help.
- second grader. This is roughly half of the GPA that will appear on your college applications. There's less time for change than in the first year, but a concerted effort can help you improve your score by a few tenths of a point.
- Junior. It will soon be time to start applying for college, so opportunities to improve your GPA are dwindling. Maintaining good study habits is beneficial so that you can maintain or improve your GPA, but it is also helpful to prepare for the ACT or SAT.
- Senior. Your final grades are important, but they won't appear on most college applications you submit. This year, it's helpful to focus on both coursework and good test results.
A 3.5 is a strong grade point average. If you can achieve that by your junior year, you could be well on your way to getting accepted into some satisfactory schools.
Other College Admissions Requirements
It is common for 3.5 GPA colleges to accept students who earned mostly As and Bs in high school. However, your GPA probably won't be the only factor taken into account. In addition, admissions committees often consider:
- Extracurricular engagement. Your application may include space to list your clubs, teams, and volunteer experiences. These extracurricular activities can increase your attractiveness. Admissions committees appreciate the idea of students being involved and engaged with their school communities.
- Results from the ACT or SAT. Your standardized test scores can make a difference in how colleges accept you. High scores can help compensate for a GPA that is below a school's average. If your exam scores are good, you may even want to submit them to exam-faculty colleges.
- letter of recommendation. The people you choose as references can be beneficial during the college admissions process. You may want to select a variety of references who have seen you excel in different environments. For example, you could ask a teacher to be one of your references and a boss or volunteer coordinator to be the other.
- write rehearsals. Many colleges will ask you to answer a question or write an essay. This helps them get to know your personality, but it also shows how well you write, so proofreading your submission is very beneficial. You might also want to ask a friend or teacher to edit your work.
Aside from checking your GPA, the admissions committee will likely review your entire transcript, taking into account the courses you have taken. A GPA of 3.5 derived primarily from challenging courses will likely work in your favor more than a 3.5 derived from easier courses.
What is a Good GPA in College?
What counts as a strong GPA can vary from college to college. Some schools are happy to accept applicants who have earned 3.5 GPAs. On the other hand, Ivy League universities may be mostly looking for GPAs of 3.9 to 4.0.
In general, however, the average GPA for American high school students is a 3.0. Scores above this average may represent an advantage during the college admissions process.
Schools that accept a 3.5 GPA appreciate that students with this score earned mostly As and Bs. You can be confident that these students will have the skills to thrive in a college setting.
Do Colleges Look at Cumulative GPA?
Yes, most colleges pay close attention to your cumulative GPA. This value represents the grades you earned throughout your high school career. It gives universities a picture of your overall academic achievements.
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Your cumulative GPA is different than your semester GPA, which is your grades from just one semester. This score gives you an idea of how you are doing in school right now. Colleges want to see a more comprehensive GPA based on your overall high school experience.
Which colleges can I attend with a 3.5 GPA?
There are many colleges for 3.5 GPA students. Students who earned many A's and B's in high school have a higher success rate at universities. Because of this, college acceptance letters for those with 3.5 GPAs are not uncommon.
Of course, an average grade of 3.5 does not mean guaranteed acceptance everywhere. At highly selective schools, the average GPA can be much closer to a 4.0.
Even colleges with average GPAs of 3.5 or below may not be the right choice for you. It is strategic to apply to multiple colleges with different acceptance rates and admissions policies.
What is a Good Engineering GPA?
It is usually beneficial to aim for a GPA of at least 3.0 if you wish to enter a college engineering program.
However, for certain areas of engineering, you may want to aim for a higher score. In particularly demanding specialist areas, e.g. B. electrical engineering, the students can be expected to have at least an A or A average. That means applying with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
The most popular technical areas, such as B. Software Engineering, receive many applications. Your vacancies may go to the students with the highest GPAs—often 3.5 or higher.
Can I get a scholarship with a GPA of 3.5?
Yes, with a GPA of 3.5 you can qualify for many scholarship programs. You may be competing with others who have even higher GPAs, but an impressive list of volunteer service or extracurricular activities can boost your standing.
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The more scholarships you apply for, the better your chances of winning one. To round out your options, you can also look for non-academic scholarship programs. You might qualify for these based on your athletic ability, community work, family background, or other factors.
Best Colleges That Accept 3.5 GPA for Admission
Methodology: The following list of schools is arranged alphabetically. To be accepted, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format. In addition, universities accept 3.5 GPAs as part of their admissions requirements.
American University uses a holistic admissions process. AU is interested in applicants' academic interests and lives outside of the classroom.
Applications must include school reports, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation from teachers and counselors. Successful applicants for admission have typically completed a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.
American Universityis accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Auburn University uses high school transcripts as the primary criterion for determining academic readiness.Applicants are expected to have completed a high school curriculum that includes English, social studies, math and science.
Auburn also considers weighted and unweighted GPA scores, ACT and SAT scores, academic rigor, and high school learning opportunities.
Auburn Universityis accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Ball State University
Ball State University evaluates each application individually. Factors considered include academic performance, level of coursework, and extracurricular participation.Optional materials include test scores, a resume, a personal statement, or a letter of recommendation.
The application must be submitted at least two weeks before the start of the semester.
Ball State Universityis accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Binghamton University offers the opportunity to speak virtually with admissions advisors and current students before applying.
Application requires submission of official transcripts and a recommendation from a teacher or counselor, but test scores are currently optional. Applicants may also submit a talent portfolio.Successful applicants typically have GPAs of 3.7 to 3.9, but lower GPAs may be accepted.
Binghamton Universityis accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Chapman University is currently test-free. Submitted test results will be super graded.Applicants are also asked to submit official transcripts and at least one letter of recommendation from a teacher. Those applying for specific majors may be asked for additional materials.
Applicants can apply for an early action, an early decision, or a regular decision.
Chapman Universityis accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.
Florida Atlantic University
Florida Atlantic University bases its admissions decisions primarily on GPA, course selection, class rank, and standardized test scores.An applicant's grades in core subjects are particularly important. FAU calculates GPA based on grades in English, math, science, social studies, foreign languages, and academic electives.
Certain majors have additional requirements.
Florida Atlantic Universityis accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Hofstra University accepts about 62% of its applicants. Applicants are evaluated on the basis of high school transcripts, an essay, a recommendation from a careers advisor, and test scores, if available.Each application is checked individually.
The average GPA of admitted students is 3.7, but lower GPAs may be accepted. Approved applicants have typically completed a rigorous college preparatory curriculum.
Hofstra Universityis accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Kansas State University
Kansas State University is currently test-free. Applicants are expected to have a cumulative high school GPA of at least 3.25, an SAT score of at least 1060, or a composite ACT score of at least 21.Applications are checked individually and applicants can apply even if they do not meet these basic requirements.
Kansas State Universityis accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
To apply to Liberty University, applicants must submit high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and an essay.Liberty recommends a high school curriculum that includes English, math, laboratory science, social studies, a foreign language, and electives. Admitted students typically have GPAs between 3.15 and 3.83.
liberty universityis accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Michigan State University
Michigan State University assesses high school academic performance, curriculum quality, performance trends, class rank, and other demonstrated talent or experience.Test results are optional. Most admitted students have GPAs of at least 3.5, but there are no minimum requirements.
Michigan State Universityis accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Missouri State University
At Missouri State University, admissions decisions are primarily based on a combination of class rank percentile, GPA, and test scores, if submitted.Ideal applicants should have a high school curriculum that includes English or language arts, math, social studies, science, fine arts, and additional electives.
Missouri State Universityis accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Ohio University considers the strength of an applicant's high school curriculum, their GPA and academic record, class rank, and SAT or ACT scores, if any.The average GPA of accepted students is 3.58, but lower GPA scores may be accepted.
Some colleges and programs have more selective criteria than the general university.
Ohio Universityis accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Pepperdine University considers applicants' academic credentials, GPAs, test scores, service and leadership backgrounds, references, and brief answers or personal statements.The middle 50% of admitted students have unweighted high school GPAs between 3.64 and 3.97, but lower GPAs may be acceptable.
Pepperdine offers interviews as part of the application process, but this is not required.
Pepperdine Universityis accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges—Senior College and University Commission.
Quinnipiac University considers many factors besides GPA when making admissions decisions. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a personal essay, and at least one letter of recommendation.Although there are no set criteria, Quinnipiac recommends that applicants have a GPA of at least 3.3 and an SAT score of at least 1080.
Quinnipiac Universityis accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University asks applicants to submit official high school transcripts and a teacher evaluation. SAT and ACT scores are optional. Test results are super rated. The average grade point average of aAcceptable student is 3.6, but lower GPA scores may be acceptable. Applicants usually receive feedback within four to six weeks.
Seton Hall Universityis accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University requires a minimum GPA of 3.0. SBU is very picky and looks for students who show intellectual curiosity.To apply, applicants must submit high school diplomas, a recommendation from a teacher or advisor, and an essay. Standardized test results are currently optional.
Stony Brook Universityis accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Temple University takes a holistic approach to reviewing applications. Factors considered include high school performance, application essays, and extracurricular activities. Standardized test scores and letters of recommendation are optional.Applicants can apply to start their studies either in the fall or spring semester.
Temple Universityis accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
University of Colorado - Boulder
The University of Colorado - Boulder is looking for intellectually curious, actively involved students.The admissions test process is holistic and takes a variety of factors into account. Factors considered include grades, rigor of completed coursework, personal essays, and letters of recommendation.
Applicants may also submit SAT or ACT scores.
TheUniversity of Colorado - Boulderis accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
University of Connecticut
The University of Connecticut expects applicants to have completed college prep courses that include English, math, social studies, a foreign language, science, and electives.When reviewing transcripts, UConn can recalculate GPA to weight advanced coursework such as AP classes.
UConn also requires the submission of an essay and offers the opportunity to submit letters of recommendation and test scores.
TheUniversity of Connecticutis accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
University of Wyoming
The University of Wyoming offers rolling admission. Applicants only need to complete an application and submit official transcripts, but SAT or ACT scores may also be submitted.It is recommended that applicants have a cumulative, unweighted GPA of at least 3.0.
TheUniversity of Wyomingis accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Get your college degree online
There are numerous colleges for B students and A students. So if you have a GPA of 3.5, you may be well on your way to gaining higher education. Promising opportunities may be waiting for you in both on-campus schools and online colleges.
Going to school online has a number of advantages. For example, online programs are often flexible and supportive, even for students with busy schedules or numerous responsibilities. The sooner you explore accredited colleges and universities, the sooner you can apply to schools.
You can start looking today for in-person or online programs that meet your goals.
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Masters of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelors in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degrees.