Your high school grade point average, or GPA, is an important piece of your college application. Admissions officers use your GPA to build a picture of you as a student. However, you don’t need to have a perfect 4.0 GPA to get into a good college. There are plenty of colleges that accept 3.0 GPAs.
A 3.0 GPA isn’t a low GPA. In fact, it is quite competitive and makes you eligible for several universities and colleges. This guide will highlight a list of colleges that accept applicants with a 3.0 GPA and give you some tips on the college application process.
What Is a Good GPA?
A good GPA is usually a 3.0 or higher, which corresponds to a B average letter grade. In most cases, it is the minimum requirement for scholarships in colleges and universities. However, a good GPA is subjective because it depends on other factors, such as the major you’re applying for and the difficulty of classes you took in high school.
Is a 3.0 GPA Considered a Low GPA?
A 3.0 GPA is not considered a low GPA. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average GPA for US high school students was 3.11 in 2019. A 3.0 is slightly lower than the national average, but it’s still high enough to get into some excellent schools.
How Much Does GPA Matter for College Anyway?
High school GPA does matter a lot for college, but it isn’t the only consideration. Most schools look into students’ high school careers. Admissions teams usually look for evidence that the applicant challenged themselves with honors programs or AP classes. They also look into grade trends, such as whether a student improved their average grades in their junior and senior years.
Other Factors Taken Into Account During Admissions
- High school curriculum. Colleges and universities look at a student’s high school curriculum to see the quality of courses as well as the number of courses. Students who took challenging classes may stand out during the application process.
- Standardized test scores. Aside from your grades, schools look for strong standardized test scores on the ACT or SAT. A high score can improve your chances of admission, even if your GPA is low.
- Application essay or personal statement. Application essays and personal statements give admissions officers insight into the student’s background and writing ability. They want to get to know the student through this statement. This is especially important if there is a reason your GPA is low, for instance, if you had to take a leave of absence because of a long-term illness.
- Letters of recommendations. Many colleges and universities require letters of recommendation for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Strong recommendations are very important, especially at selective schools. Ask for a letter of recommendation from a teacher, coach, or mentor who knows you well.
- Extracurricular activities. Admissions officers are looking for well-rounded students with strong passions. Students should focus on a few interests, show leadership skills, and document involvement over time with different organizations.
Are There Colleges With No GPA Requirements?
Yes, there are colleges with no GPA requirements and most community colleges don’t have GPA requirements either. Consider including a few community colleges in your school search as safety schools, in case you aren’t able to get into a competitive program on your first try.
The Best Colleges That Accept a 3.0 GPA
|School||GPA requirements||Tuition and fees||Acceptance Rate|
|Central Washington University||2.0||In state: $8,685
Out of state: $25,213
|Eastern Washington University||3.0||In state: $7,922
Out of state: $25,748
|Florida State University||4.0 for early admission, 3.0 for normal admission||In state: $5,656
Out of state: $18,786
|Minnesota State University – Mankato||3.0 for guaranteed admission||In state: $9,146
Out of state: $18,200
|Northern Arizona University||3.0 for guaranteed admission, 2.5 for normal admission||In state: $11,896
Out of state: $26,642
|Oklahoma State University||3.0 GPA for guaranteed admission||In state: $9,244
Out of state: $24,764
|Salem State University||2.0||In state: $11,675
Out of state: $18,480
|Trident Technical College||3.0 to be exempt from placement tests||In-district: $4,648
In state: $5,143
Out of state: $8,690
|University of Arkansas||3.0||In state: $9,574
Out of state: $26,390
|University of Central Arkansas||2.5||In state: $9,563
Out of state: $16,433
Top 3.0 GPA Colleges: A Closer Inspection
Central Washington University
- Location: Ellensburg, WA
- Admissions rate: 88%
Central Washington University (CWU) is a public university that was established in 1891. Today, CWU offers over 160 undergraduate and graduate programs. It has a large student body of over 10,000 students, with 3,200 graduating every year. Some of the top programs in this school include business administration, social sciences, psychology, and elementary education.
Eastern Washington University
- Location: Cheney, WA
- Admissions rate: 97%
Eastern Washington University was established in 1882. This public university has over 10,800 students attending its 300-acre campus. Seventy-three percent of students acquire professional experience during their school career, and over 70 percent of Eastern Washington University alumni work in a field related to their major.
Florida State University
- Location: Tallahassee, FL
- Admissions rate: 37%
Florida State University was established in 1851, and today it is a top research university. The public institution is a member of the Florida State University System, and the vast majority of students are from Florida. The most popular schools for graduate and undergraduate students are the School of Arts & Sciences, the School of Business, and the School of Social Sciences & Public Policy.
Minnesota State University – Mankato
- Location: Mankato, MN
- Admissions rate: 69%
Minnesota State University offers more than 14,000 students 130 undergraduate majors, 100 master’s degrees and graduate certificates, and four PhD programs. This public university was founded in 1868 and had only 27 students. The school is committed to environmental sustainability, and it managed to reduce its carbon footprint by 6.8 percent from 2012 to 2016.
Northern Arizona University
- Location: Flagstaff, AZ
- Admissions rate: 78%
Northern Arizona University (NAU) was founded in 1899. This public research university offers over 170 undergraduate and graduate programs at over 20 locations across Arizona and online. Some of the most popular programs at this four-year school are business administration, liberal arts, and nursing.
Oklahoma State University
- Location: Stillwater, OK
- Admissions rate: 68%
Oklahoma State University (OSU) is a land grant university that focuses on research and was founded in 1890. This public institution has more than 87 majors and 110 minors for bachelor’s degree students. OSU is part of the Big 12 Conference for Division I college sports, and non-student athletes can participate in over 500 student organizations.
Salem State University
- Location: Salem, MA
- Admissions rate: 90%
Salem State University is part of the Massachusetts state university system, and it was established in 1854. This public institution is small for a state university, with only around 7,000 students. The school is located in historic Salem, Massachusetts, the site of the famous Salem Witch Trials.
Trident Technical College
- Location: North Charleston, SC
- Admissions rate: Open admissions
Trident Technical College is a public two-year college based in Charleston, South Carolina with five additional campus locations nearby. It has over 12,000 students and offers associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Some of the popular programs include nursing, computer and information sciences, and liberal arts.
University of Arkansas
- Location: Fayetteville, AR
- Admissions rate: 83%
The University of Arkansas was established in 1871 as a land grant institution. Today it is one of the top research universities in the US, as classified by the Carnegie Foundation. It is a member of the University of Arkansas system, and it is one of the largest schools in the state, with a student body of around 27,000 undergrad and grad students.
University of Central Arkansas
- Location: Conway, AR
- Admissions rate: 92%
The University of Central Arkansas, founded over 115 years ago, is one of the oldest schools in the state. Even though it is a large school with over 10,000 students, it has a low student-to-faculty ratio of just 15 to one. Popular programs at this public university include psychology, biology, health, elementary education, and nursing.
How to Get Into College With a 3.0 GPA
Do community service
Community service is a great way to give back to your community, learn more about yourself, and show college admissions officers that you are a well-rounded student and a good citizen. Volunteer with a local organization that aligns with your interests. If you love being outside, organize a park clean-up day. If you like reading, sign up to read to local seniors.
Write stellar application essays
While your GPA plays a large role in determining your fate during the admissions process, your personal essay is also a big factor. Stellar essays can balance a low GPA. A good personal essay should showcase your writing skills as well as your personality. It should also convince the admissions team that you are an excellent fit for the program and the school.
Get strong recommendation letters
Almost all college applications require or give you the option to submit recommendation letters, usually from your school counselor and one or more teachers. Schools often consider recommendations an important part of the application process. To get a strong letter of recommendation, ask a teacher, coach, boss, or mentor who knows you well.
How Can I Raise My GPA?
If you want to raise your GPA, talk to your school counselor and teachers. Show them that you are serious about improving your grades and ask for help. Commit to a study routine and keep track of assignments using a calendar. Ask your teachers if you can submit any incomplete assignments. Find out if your school or local library has a free tutoring program.
Colleges That Accept 3.0 GPA FAQ
Yes, many colleges accept a 3.0 GPA because it shows good effort and academic promise from high school students. It means that the student had an average score of 83 to 86 or an average letter grade of B. A 3.0 GPA makes students eligible for many merit scholarships at different universities and colleges.
Yes, some community colleges and universities accept students with a 2.75 GPA, especially if the student showed significant improvement in their junior and senior years. The admissions committee also considers other factors such as letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities in high school. If you have a GPA of 2.75 or lower, you should look for schools with open admissions policies.
No, unfortunately, a 3.0 GPA is considered low for an Ivy League university. Most of these universities take students with 4.0 GPAs, even though they don’t have a required minimum GPA. It is very hard to get into Ivy League schools because so many highly-qualified students apply.
Some universities have open admissions policies, which means that they accept any student with a high school diploma. As long as you graduated from high school or earned a GED, you can earn a college degree. If you want to get into a more competitive school, consider going to a community college for your associate degree and earn a higher GPA before transferring to a four-year college.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot