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Is a 3.5 GPA Good? Colleges that Accept 3.5 GPA

Feb 23, 2022
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Do you have a 3.5-grade point average? Do you want to know if a 3.5 is good and which colleges you can get into?

Everyone says that to get to college, you need flawless test scores and a GPA of at least 4.0. So, what happens if your GPA is 3.5? Don’t say goodbye to your college years just yet. Yes, some institutions need you to have the best GPA and test scores, but many universities will gladly accept you with your 3.5 GPA. Are you interested in learning more?

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What is a 3.5 GPA?

First, it is important to know what a 3.5 GPA is. A 3.5 GPA is somewhere between an A- and a B+. You have a GPA above the national average of 3.0, and you should get accepted to several colleges. Even if it’s a good GPA, you’ll be up against students with better grades, including those with 4.0s. However, universities will look at other aspects of your application, so a highly selective institution isn’t totally out of reach.

The table below explains how a 3.5 GPA relates to the letter and percentage grades. It will give you a good idea of what a 3.5 GPA is.

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Letter GradePercentage GradeGPA
A+97-1004.0
A93-964.0
A-90-923.7
B+87-893.3
B83-863.0
B-80-822.7
C+77-792.3
C73-762.0
C-70-721.7
D+67-691.3
D65-661.0
FBelow 650.0

So, what is a 3.5 GPA? As you can see, a 3.5 GPA falls in between a B+ and A- letter grade.

Is a 3.5 GPA Good in College?

A GPA of 3.0 is considered the national average. So, is a 3.5 GPA good in college? A 3.5 GPA is equivalent to a 90% average. It is used as a standard by many graduate programs and employers. Ivy League institutions, for example, prefer students to have near-perfect marks. They need to achieve As in every class. This results in a GPA closer to 4.0. Elite institutions’ admitted students have some of the best GPAs in their high schools.

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To answer the question “Is a 3.5 GPA good in college” let’s look at the average GPA requirements by colleges. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is necessary to graduate and stay qualified for financial aid. Grades above C average are generally required for scholarships at many universities. If a student’s GPA falls below 1.5, they risk being disqualified from the university and, if the grades do not improve, may be removed from the school after a review.

Anything above a 2.0 indicates good academic progress. But, a grade point average of 3.5 and above is good in college. 3.5 GPA students normally qualify for the dean’s list and honors programs. The average GPA in four-year undergraduate courses in U.S. colleges is 3.15. So, we can confidently say that yes, a 3.5 GPA is good in college.

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Colleges that Accept 3.5 GPA

Please remember that your GPA is not the only criterion determining whether you will be accepted to college. Admissions committees take essays, letters of reference, and extracurricular activities into account. Use your 3.5 GPA as a starting point to help you shortlist colleges to apply to. 

Let’s look at the “safety,” “reach,” and “match” schools for a 3.5 GPA. 

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1. Reach Schools

These colleges are difficult to get into now because their average GPA is greater than 3.5. Do well on your SATs and ACT to increase your chances of getting in. 

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School NameLocationSATACTGPA
University of ConnecticutStorrs, CT1315293.76
Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, PA1290283.73
Boston UniversityBoston, MA1420323.71
Binghamton UniversityVestal, NY1375303.7
Rochester Institute of TechnologyRochester, NY1300303.7
University of CincinnatiCincinnati, OH1265273.7
New York UniversityNew York, NY1440323.69
Syracuse UniversitySyracuse, NY1275283.67
American UniversityWashington, DC1300293.65
University of MiamiCoral Gables, FL1355313.6
University of California, Santa CruzSanta Cruz, CA1285283.55

 

2. Match Schools

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This college or university is likely to accept you because your grades and test scores are similar to the typically admitted students. You won’t have difficulty getting in, but you won’t be assured admission. Your chances of getting into your match school will improve if you improve your SAT or ACT scores. 

School NameLocationSATACTGPA
University of ArizonaTucson, AZ1235253.39
Louisiana State UniversityBaton Rouge, LA1180263.43
Quinnipiac UniversityHamden, CT1175263.47
Temple UniversityPhiladelphia, PA1238273.54
Ohio UniversityAthens, OH1170243.54
Howard UniversityWashington, DC1213253.55
Penn State University ParkUniversity Park, PA1265283.58
Seton Hall UniversitySouth Orange, NJ1231263.58
University of OregonEugene, OR1185253.59
Hofstra UniversityHempstead, NY1250283.67
University of AlabamaTuscaloosa, AL1184273.71

 

3. Safety Schools

A safe school is a college where you are certain to get accepted. Your GPA should be much higher than the school’s average, and your SAT or ACT score should be in the top 75th percentile. To put it another way, a safe school is one where you have a good possibility of being accepted!

School NameLocationSATACTGPA
Pace UniversityNew York, NY1140253.4
The University of Texas at San AntonioSan Antonio, TX1125223.4
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityTallahassee, FL1105213.4
Washington State UniversityPullman, WA1125233.46
University of North TexasDenton, TX1160233.47
The University of Texas at ArlingtonArlington, TX1160233.47
Indiana University – Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN1100223.47
California State Polytechnic University, PomonaPomona, CA1140233.51
San Jose State UniversitySan Jose, CA1145233.52
California State University Long BeachLong Beach, CA1145233.56
Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, TX1155253.57

 

How to Improve my 3.5 GPA in High School?

1. Take the appropriate classes.

Don’t take too many difficult classes in high school. Take the lessons that you know you can take. That will boost your confidence. It’s acceptable if this means taking three AP classes instead of four. Universities prefer to see a solid GPA with three AP classes than a poor one with four.

2. Consider grades from middle school.

If you did well in middle school, particularly in advanced subjects, discuss the idea of including them in your GPA with your school counselor. Some high schools allow this. 

3. Make time for studying.

Spending 30 minutes to an hour longer on homework every night is the greatest method to raise your GPA. What way of learning suits you best? Some of them are:

  • Taking notes in lectures 
  • Creating a visual representation of your notes
  • Take your handwritten notes and print them.

4. Seek Help from Teachers

Don’t be hesitant to ask your teacher for help with difficult concepts. When they see that you are trying to understand concepts, they may grade you better. Teachers also have college connections and may help you connect with college counselors. It will show that you are committed to improving your GPA.

What if I don’t have enough time to raise my GPA?

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to raise your GPA. Colleges also consider other areas of your profile, such as exam scores and extracurricular activities. Concentrate on improving these other areas:

  • Join a club as a leader.
  • Look for an internship.
  • Retake the SAT until you’re pleased with your results.

Also, remember that many institutions accept students with a 3.5 GPA or lower (as mentioned above), and you may still be considered for more competitive schools.

3.5 gpa

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