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?

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.

Letter Grade Percentage Grade GPA
A+ 97-100 4.0
A 93-96 4.0
A- 90-92 3.7
B+ 87-89 3.3
B 83-86 3.0
B- 80-82 2.7
C+ 77-79 2.3
C 73-76 2.0
C- 70-72 1.7
D+ 67-69 1.3
D 65-66 1.0
F Below 65 0.0

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
University of Connecticut Storrs, CT 1315 29 3.76
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 1290 28 3.73
Boston University Boston, MA 1420 32 3.71
Binghamton University Vestal, NY 1375 30 3.7
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 1300 30 3.7
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 1265 27 3.7
New York University New York, NY 1440 32 3.69
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 1275 28 3.67
American University Washington, DC 1300 29 3.65
University of Miami Coral Gables, FL 1355 31 3.6
University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA 1285 28 3.55


2. Match Schools

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 Name Location SAT ACT GPA
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 1235 25 3.39
Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA 1180 26 3.43
Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT 1175 26 3.47
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 1238 27 3.54
Ohio University Athens, OH 1170 24 3.54
Howard University Washington, DC 1213 25 3.55
Penn State University Park University Park, PA 1265 28 3.58
Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ 1231 26 3.58
University of Oregon Eugene, OR 1185 25 3.59
Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 1250 28 3.67
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 1184 27 3.71


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 Name Location SAT ACT GPA
Pace University New York, NY 1140 25 3.4
The University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX 1125 22 3.4
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee, FL 1105 21 3.4
Washington State University Pullman, WA 1125 23 3.46
University of North Texas Denton, TX 1160 23 3.47
The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX 1160 23 3.47
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 1100 22 3.47
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Pomona, CA 1140 23 3.51
San Jose State University San Jose, CA 1145 23 3.52
California State University Long Beach Long Beach, CA 1145 23 3.56
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX 1155 25 3.57


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.