“Get good grades.” Many of us have had this pounded into our heads by teachers and parents for as long as we can remember. And to be perfectly fair to adults, they have a good reason to hammer the point home. Maintaining a good grade point average, or GPA, can play a massive role in helping you get into your first-choice college — not to mention, the number of college scholarships you receive to pay for school.
But like, what is a good GPA, anyway? Are your grades good enough to meet the college GPA requirements at your dream school? Tallo is here to break it all down.
What Are College GPA Requirements?
While researching colleges to apply for, you may have noticed that some colleges have a minimum GPA requirement for admission. This shouldn’t come as a huge shocker. After all, colleges are academic institutions, and your GPA gives admissions officers a good idea of your academic record.
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You’re more likely to encounter minimum college GPA requirements with four-year public universities than, say, private liberal arts colleges or community colleges. The reason for this is because public universities generally receive far more applications and therefore need a GPA requirement to establish a minimum threshold. For example, the University of California’s admission requirements state that California applicants need to have at least a 3.0 GPA to be accepted into the school.
So, What If I Don’t Meet the GPA Requirements for College?
First of all, don’t panic. College GPA requirements are more like suggestions rather than hard rules. While a school’s GPA requirements can give you a general idea of how tough it might be to get accepted into their program, students with lower GPAs can still get accepted into their first-choice school.
We know—confusing, right? Let us explain. You can still get into your dream school even with a mediocre GPA because it’s not the only thing that colleges look for in an applicant.
So, what do colleges look for in a student? In addition to your GPA, college admissions officers will also look at things like test scores on your college entrance exams, AP and honors classes, extracurricular activities, and much more.
Bottom line? The vast majority of colleges in the U.S. prefer to take a holistic view of your application, so don’t count yourself out based on your GPA alone.
Why Does GPA Matter at All, Then?
All of your college hopes and dreams don’t rest on your GPA, thankfully. That being said, your GPA still matters for a couple of reasons.
First, many colleges take GPA into consideration for merit scholarships. For example, The Gates Scholarship requires students to have a minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale. So, if you like free money, keep up the good grades!
Another reason why you should strive for a high grade point average is because it could impact your chances of getting into a good school. Your GPA gives admissions officers an idea of how hard you worked in high school and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This information could be the deciding factor between you and another college hopeful!
What Is a Good GPA?
The answer to this comes down to which schools you’re applying to. Is a 3.5 GPA good enough for your average university? Usually. Is it good enough to get into Yale? Well, let’s just say that you’ll probably need to rely pretty heavily on your test scores and extracurriculars to become a Yalie.
Our advice is to check out the average GPA for accepted students for each school on your college list and see how your grades stack up. If you need to raise your GPA, there are plenty of ways to do it. For instance, you could re-take a class that is bringing your GPA down or work independently with a teacher to improve your grade.
A student’s grades are often considered one of the most influential factors in college admission decisions. But while college GPA requirements are definitely important to consider, they aren’t the end-all-be-all to getting into college. In fact, you can get into many colleges with a 2.0 or higher. Still, if you want to rake in the scholarship dough, be sure to study hard and keep those grades up!
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