What is a Good GPA?

A good GPA helps in getting into your dream college, 3.0 - 4.0 is considered to be a good GPA if you would wish to get into an elite class institutions. Learn more about your GPA in detail.

Updated by TCM Staff on 24th March 2021

College Monk - What is a Good GPA in College?

One of the most significant worries that many students and their parents have as they prepare for college is their grade point average (GPA).

Your GPA is a number ranging from 0.0 to 4.0 that represents your overall academic performance. There’s no doubt that your GPA plays a role in academics and in what colleges you’ll get into.

But, there’s not necessarily a specific GPA you must have to get into college. What is considered a good GPA will depend on the school you plan to go to. And it’s certainly not the only factor that schools consider.

In this article, you’ll learn more about how your GPA is determined and what’s considered a good GPA.

 

What is a good GPA?

As with many things, GPA can be subjective. What some might consider a good GPA might seem low for others. That being said, there are some basic rules of thumb.

The average high school GPA is about 3.0, which equates to a B average. Students with this GPA can expect to get into a decent school, and likely qualify for scholarships.

Students with a lower GPA than this might struggle to qualify for scholarships and will be limited when it comes to the schools they can get into. Once someone’s GPA dips below 2.0, they may also be disqualified from some extracurricular activities like clubs, sports, and more. They may even be ineligible for some forms of financial aid.

Finally, any GPA above 3.5 is considered very good. Students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher can expect to qualify for more scholarships and get into better schools.

 

Why is GPA important?

Your GPA is important for many reasons. Your high school GPA largely determines what universities and colleges you can be admitted to. 

Each school has its own GPA requirements. But, in general, the better your GPA, the better the school you can get into.

Both before and during college, your GPA also helps to determine what scholarships you might be eligible for. Over the course of your college education, you can potentially save thousands of dollars in tuition expenses by achieving a higher GPA.

Your GPA may also determine what organizations you can be a part of. Some college organizations, clubs, and sports teams look at a student’s GPA and only invite students who meet a particular GPA requirement.

Finally, your GPA might help determine what you can accomplish after college. If you decide to apply for a graduate program, you can be sure that schools will look at your undergraduate GPA. 

And while many employers won’t ask for your GPA, it might be important when you’re just getting started in a competitive field.

 

How is GPA calculated?

Your GPA is basically an average of all of your grades over the course of a single semester and your time in school overall.

For each class, you receive a particular numerical grade on a scale of 0 to 4.0. If you receive letter grades, they still follow this same pattern, where A = 4.0, B = 3.0, and so on.

Your cumulative GPA is found by adding up the sum of your numerical grades, multiplying it by the number of credits, and dividing that number by the total number of credit hours.

The formula looks like this:

GPA = (Grades*Credits) / Credits

GPA can be calculated by two methods: unweighted GPA and weighted GPA.

 

Unweighted GPA

Unweighted GPA (aka simple GPA) is the easiest form of grade calculation, where numbers are assigned to each letter grade, and your grades are added together and divided by the total number of credit hours scored.

For example:

Grade

GPA

Points

A

4.0

90-100%

B

3.0

80-89%

C

2.0

70-79%

D

1.0

60-69%

F

0.0

<60%

Suppose a student is taking five classes in one semester. Four of their classes are three credits, and the other class is two credits. You’d calculate his GPA like this:

4 classes x 3 credits per class = 12

1 class x 4 credits per class = 4

Total credit hours for the semester = 16

Let’s say the student earns the following grades:

Credit Hours

Grade

Total Grade

Class 1: 3 credit hours

A

12

Class 2: 3 credit hours

B

9

Class 3: 3 credit hours

B

9

Class 4: 3 credit hours

C

6

Class 5: 4 credit hours

A

12

When you add up the total credit numerical grade for the semester, you get 48. 

Then, you divide the total grade by the number of credit hours (16) and find that the student received an average grade of 3.0 for the semester, which is their overall GPA.

Keep in mind, the numbers may look different for schools that use + and - in their grading system, since the scale then ranges from F all the way up to A+.

Source: https://blog.powerscore.com

 

Weighted GPA

Calculating weighted GPA is a bit more confusing because it accounts for the difficulty level of various courses. An A in an honors course would weigh more heavily than an A in a regular course. 

Instead of a 4.0 scale, weighted GPA uses a 5.0 scale. So while an A in a regular course would be worth 4.0, an A in a higher-level course might be worth 5.0.

Here are the points for each grade on a weighted GPA scale:

Grade

Point

A

5.0

B

4.0

C

3.0

D

1.0

F

0.0

 

How to get a good GPA 

As we mentioned above, achieving a high GPA can help you in many areas both during and after college. It can help to make you eligible for scholarships, jumpstart your career, increase your earning potential, and make it easier to pursue further education. 

Unfortunately, achieving a high GPA isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Here are a few tips to help you score a good GPA.

Attend classes regularly

Attending your classes regularly is one of the best things you can do to achieve a good GPA. Not only will you know what’s going on in class, but you’ll develop good habits, and teachers will recognize you as a good student.

Stay organized

Most students are balancing multiple classes at once, and some may also have jobs and other obligations on top of that. It’s a lot to juggle, and things can easily fall through the cracks. The best thing you can do is stay organized and plan your schedule ahead of time. Maintain a calendar and to-do list so you never forget what you should be working on.

Study consistently

One of the most common mistakes that students make is they try to cram all of their studying into the days (or even hours) before an exam. Unfortunately, they learn pretty quickly that it doesn’t really work.

One of the best ways to maintain a good GPA is to develop a consistent studying habit. Schedule time throughout each day or week to focus on your studies so you never have to fit it all in at the end.

Focus on school

There are plenty of distractions in school, and it’s easy to lose focus on why you’re there. Just remember why you’re there, and make your studies your central focus.

Hire a tutor

If there’s a class where you’re struggling a bit more, consider hiring a tutor to help you get back on track. Many colleges and universities offer a free tutoring service where they match a student who is struggling in a particular course with one who excels in that subject. Even if such a program isn’t available for free on your campus, it might be worth the cost if it helps you to improve your GPA.

Attend office hours

Most professors hold office hours when students can stop by and ask questions about their coursework. If you’re struggling to understand what you’re learning in class, sitting with the professor for a one-on-one conversation can help clarify things for you.

 

What GPA do you need to get into college?

What's considered a good GPA depends on the college you’re planning to attend, as well as the type of program.  

Top-tier private universities may have higher GPA requirements than state schools, while bachelor’s degree programs might have higher standards than an associate’s degree program.

Some schools have an average GPA above 3.8. Those schools have strict admissions standards and aren’t likely to admit those with a low GPA. 

On the other hand, there are plenty of schools that will admit students with a GPA closer to 3.0 or lower.

Above all, a good GPA can be generally defined by comparing your GPA with the national average. As it stands today, the average college GPA for female students is 3.10, while the average for male students is 2.90.

If your GPA is higher than the national average, you can trust that you’ll be able to get into a good school. The best move you can make is to research the GPA requirements at different schools and have a back-up school in mind in case your GPA doesn’t quite cut it for your dream school.

 

Colleges that accept students with a high average GPA

College

Average GPA

Acceptance Rate

Whitman College

3.74

50%

Georgetown University

3.80

15%

Barnard College

3.84

14%

Washington and Lee University

3.87

21%

Princeton University

3.87

5%

Carleton College

3.90

20%

Cornell University

3.90

11%

Dartmouth College

3.90

9%

Brown University

3.90

8%

Swarthmore College

3.90

9%

University of Pennsylvania

3.90

8%

Duke University

3.90

9%

University of Notre Dame

3.91

18%

Washington University in St.Louis

3.92

15%

Williams College

3.94

13%

Yale University

3.95

6%

Stanford University

3.95

4%

Harvey Mudd College

3.96

14%

Rice University

3.96

11%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3.96

7%

California Institute of Technology

3.97

7%

College of William and Mary

4.0

37%

University of Virginia

4.0

26%

 

Colleges that accept students with a low average GPA

Colleges

GPA

Acceptance Rate

Indiana University Northwest

2.82

80%

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

2.90

54%

University of Wisconsin Parkside

2.98

67%

Texas A&M Corpus Christi

3.08

52%

University of Minnesota Crookston

3.16

66%

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock

3.18

79%

The University of Illinois at Chicago

3.20

76%

University of Washington Tacoma

3.25

86%

The University of Michigan at Flint

3.27

66%

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke

3.29

81%

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

3.30

91%

University of Missouri Kansas City

3.31

56%

The University of Louisiana at Monroe

3.35

71%

The University of Texas at Tyler

3.40

78%

 

Conclusion 

There’s no doubt that GPA is important and can have a huge impact on your future, from the schools you can get into to what scholarships you might be eligible for.

Maintaining a good GPA in college is a lot of work. But by using the tips shared above, it’s possible to maintain a good GPA.

And at the end of the day, your GPA is just a number, and it’s not everything. Once you graduate and become established in your career, your work experience and accomplishments will outweigh your college GPA.


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