What is a 2.5 GPA? What colleges accept a 2.5 GPA?

Do you have a 2.5 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 2.5 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 2.5?

We've written the most detailed guide to your GPA here:

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 2.5 GPA.
  • Learn how you can raise your GPA.
  • Learn what you should be doing to maximize your chances of getting into the best colleges.

Quick disclaimer: unlike standardized test scores like SAT/ACT, GPA policies vary from high school to high school and from college to college. Some use weighted GPAs and others use unweighted GPAs. In this guide, we’ll generally talk about unweighted GPAs and compare you on a national and college level.

As we'll explain below, the actual GPA number is just one dimension of your coursework. The difficulty of your courseload is important - the more difficult your classes, the more colleges are willing to excuse a dip in GPA.

Finally, even though this guide focuses on a 2.5 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 2.52 and 2.48 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 2.45 and 2.54.


Is a 2.5 GPA good?

A 2.5 GPA means that you've earned high Cs and low Bs across all of your classes. This GPA is below the 3.0 national average for high school students, and it will most likely make it difficult for you to get into all but the least selective colleges.

We've analyzed the student profiles at 1500+ colleges across the United States and the average GPA of its incoming students. Here's how a 2.5 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 2nd

    2.12% of schools have an average GPA below a 2.5.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 33 Schools

    You can apply to colleges and have a good shot at getting admitted.

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 1526 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 2.5 GPA.

To elaborate, the national average for GPA is around a 3.0, so a 2.5 puts you below average nationally. Keep in mind the 3.0 national average represents all students, not just students applying to college, so the average GPA of students admitted to colleges is higher than the national average.

Here's more custom advice for you if you have a 2.5 GPA. Click your grade level to see our evaluation.

The start of high school classes may have been a little tough for you, but that's ok. If your GPA as a freshman is a 2.5, you still have a couple years to bring up your grades. Most people's GPAs change between freshman and senior year. If you really step up your academic efforts, you have a good chance of increasing your GPA by at least a few tenths of a point. You may not have any colleges in mind yet, but if you do you can search for them with the tool below and check your chances of admission. You can give yourself more motivation by changing this page to a slightly higher GPA and seeing how many more schools you might be able to get into.

If you've maintained a 2.5 GPA for the first two years of high school, this is the time to reevaluate your study habits and see if there's any way for you to improve. This next year is your last chance to raise your GPA and give yourself more options for college. With your current GPA, there are fewer than 50 schools where you're likely to be accepted. Even if you do slightly better your junior year, you'll open up a lot more possibilities for yourself. If you have any schools in mind, you can look them up in the next section and see how strong your chances of admission are with your current GPA.

At this point, you're not going to be able to change your GPA much before college applications are due. A 2.5 GPA will limit you quite a bit in terms of where you can count on being accepted, but you shouldn't have a problem getting in somewhere if you do your research. You may already be thinking about where you want to apply. If you have any ideas, look them up with the search tool in the next section to see if you have a chance at being accepted. Make sure you think critically about including a solid safety school.

You're a senior, so you've most likely already decided where you plan on applying to college. Though your GPA is on the lower side, you should still be able to count on acceptance at a few less selective schools. Make sure you're careful in the application process and don't leave yourself without any safe options. If you want to check on your chances of admission at the schools you chose, search for them with the tool in the next section.


Your Chances With a 2.5 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 2.5? What are your chances of admission at your top choice schools?

We've built a custom admissions calculator that calculates your chances based on the 3 most important factors to determining your chance of admissions:

  • The school's admission rate
  • Your GPA
  • Your SAT/ACT score

Here's how to use this calculator:

  1. Choose the SAT or the ACT, depending on which you're taking
  2. Choose your current SAT/ACT score
  3. Enter the name of each college you're interested in
  4. Change your SAT/ACT score to see how your chances change



Pick your test: Old SAT ACT

SAT Score
School Name Location Chances: 2.5 GPA + Chances: 2.5 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 2.5, but you might have room for improvement. If you want to see your chances with a different GPA, at the bottom of this page you'll be able to switch to a different GPA.

How would your chances improve with a better score?

Try to take your current SAT score and add 160 points (or take your ACT score and add 4 points) to the calculator above. See how much your chances improve?

This is important when you're considering your GPA. You probably know how hard it is to pull up your grades and GPA. If you improve your SAT/ACT score, you'll be able to show colleges that you're academically prepared for college.

At PrepScholar, we've created the leading online SAT/ACT prep program. We guarantee an improvement of 160 SAT points or 4 ACT points on your score, or your money back.

Here's a summary of why we're so much more effective than other prep programs:

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Can You Improve Your GPA?

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: GPAs aren’t easy to improve. The later you are in high school, the less your GPA will change before you apply to college.

For example, if you're currently a junior in high school, your grades in freshman and sophomore year will anchor your GPA so that your junior grades won't be able to change your total GPA much.

Here's a calculator for you to see how much your GPA can improve in different cases. Choose your current grade level, and then choose your future grades up until college applications. We'll show you how high or low your GPA can be, depending on your grades from now forward.

Your Grade Level Current GPA Semesters Remaining Future Grades GPA for Applications

2.5
0 2.5

Warning: Because you have no semesters left, your GPA won't change by the time college applications are due. You'll need to apply with a 2.5 GPA. As we explain next, your best chance at improving your chances of getting in may be to improve your SAT/ACT score.




Final Verdict and Advice

You can see from the information above that a 2.5 GPA will make it difficult for you to get into the vast majority of four year colleges. Since you're still a freshman, however, you should worry less about that specifically and more about how you're going to improve your grades in the next couple of years. You still have plenty of time to make changes that will have a strong positive impact on your college search. It's important that you start identifying the problems you're having as soon as possible and ask for extra help if you need it. If you can accurately diagnose what's going on, you stand a strong chance of raising your GPA to a level that will make you a much more competitive applicant.

To sum up the information in this guide, a 2.5 GPA as a sophomore isn't the end of the world, but if it doesn't change before senior year it will severely limit your college search. You still have your junior year to improve your GPA, so take advantage of it as much as possible. Don't be afraid to ask for help or change your study habits to accommodate classes that give you more trouble.

You should also start thinking about standardized tests. If you plan out your studying well and manage to get a good score your junior or senior year, you will have a much better chance of being admitted at many colleges. With some smart strategies and determination, you can make a big difference in your odds of acceptance.

Overall, having a 2.5 GPA this year means that you may experience some difficulty getting into the college of your choice. However, there are still some measures you can take to improve your chances. Junior year is prime time for taking standardized tests, and if you get high scores you can greatly increase your likelihood of acceptance at most colleges despite a lower than average GPA. It's best to take the SAT or ACT for the first time during your junior fall and then go from there to see how much you may need to improve.

Planning out your studying well can go a long way towards improving your scores - you can even study over the summer and take the test again your senior year. Be sure to keep working hard in your classes in the time you have left before applications and choose your colleges wisely. If you're aware of the limits your GPA will place on the college search, you should be able to find a school that's a good fit for you.

Based on what you've learned in this article, you will hopefully be able to make wiser choices in the application process. Since you've most likely started putting together your applications (or even already sent some in), some of this information may be old news. Still, it's very important to consider the limitations you will face from a GPA that's below average and apply to schools that are within a realistic range for you.

One way to improve your admissions chances even this late in the game is to retake the SAT or ACT. You can still take standardized tests after you've sent in your applications - most colleges accept results from test taken as late as senior winter. If you're happy with your test scores already, just make sure you have a balanced list of schools that includes safety, probable, and reach options. If you plan well, you should be able to get into at least one or two schools on your list.



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Colleges that Accept a 2.5 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 2.5?

We've picked out a set of schools that are within range. Click on each school to learn more about it.

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Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are hard for you to get into now, because their average GPA is higher than a 2.5. But if you improve your SAT or ACT score, you'll have a much better shot.

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
Anna Maria College Paxton, MA 2.78
Northwestern Polytechnic University Fremont, CA 2.72
University of Advancing Technology Tempe, AZ 2.5
Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM 2.5
Morris College Sumter, SC 2.57
Lincoln University Oakland, CA 2.6
University of the Southwest Hobbs, NM 1050 18 2.63
Paul Smith's College Paul Smiths, NY 1040 20 2.8
New England College Henniker, NH 1030 20 2.59
University of Arkansas at Monticello Monticello, AR 1010 19 2.71
Post University Waterbury, CT 990 19 2.68
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Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average GPAs that are close to 2.5. If you apply to these schools, you'll have a decent chance of admission. If you improve your SAT or ACT scores, you'll significantly improve your chances .

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
Southern Vermont College Bennington, VT 970 18 2.35
Calumet College of St. Joseph Whiting, IN 960 18 2.65
College of St. Elizabeth Morristown, NJ 950 16 2.6
Bloomfield College Bloomfield, NJ 940 18 2.69
College of St. Joseph Rutland, VT 940 19 2.8
Albertus Magnus College New Haven, CT 940 24 2.6
Bowie State University Bowie, MD 940 17 2.53
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Cheyney, PA 890 18 2.37
Lincoln University Jefferson City, MO 890 17 2.6
LeMoyne-Owen College Memphis, TN 890 16 2.5
Pine Manor College Chestnut Hill, MA 870 15 2.6
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Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 2.5, you're already strongly competitive for these schools. You're very likely to get admitted if you apply. If you improve your SAT or ACT score, your Safety Schools will get better and better.

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
Paul Quinn College Dallas, TX 840 16 2.6
Wiley College Marshall, TX 830 16 2.53
Paine College Augusta, GA 830 16 2.58
Central State University Wilberforce, OH 800 15 2.7
Lane College Jackson, TN 780 15 2.56
Talladega College Talladega, AL 101 19 2.4
East-West University Chicago, IL 93 17 2.67
St. Louis Christian College Florissant, MO 92 21 2.52
Miles College Fairfield, AL 89 16 2.5
Southern University at New Orleans New Orleans, LA 85 15 2.4
Arkansas Baptist College Little Rock, AR 85 15 2.6


Change My GPA

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Wondering about how competitive your current SAT or ACT score is? We've created strategy guides for each SAT and ACT score so you can see what your chances are at schools, and what will happen if you improve your score.

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