What is a 2.8 GPA? What colleges accept a 2.8 GPA?

Do you have a 2.8 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 2.8 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 2.8?

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

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 2.8 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 2.8 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 2.82 and 2.78 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 2.75 and 2.84.

Is a 2.8 GPA good?

A 2.8 GPA means that you've earned mostly Bs and B-s in your classes, assuming an unweighted GPA. You're below the national average for high school GPA, so you can expect to be somewhat limited in the number of schools where you have a high likelihood of acceptance.

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 2.8 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 5th

    5.67% of schools have an average GPA below a 2.8.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 89 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 1480 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 2.8 GPA.

To elaborate, the national average for GPA is around a 3.0, so a 2.8 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 2.8 GPA. Click your grade level to see our evaluation.

At this point, you still have time left to raise your GPA before you apply to college. A 2.8 GPA is lower than what's accepted by most colleges, so to give yourself more options in the application process you should try to improve your grades. If you're thinking about applying to any particular school, you can search for it in the next section to see what your chances of admission might look like with your current GPA. Even if the results aren't encouraging, try not to worry too much. Remember that you have the potential to get your GPA up above a 3.0 if you work hard in the next couple years.

After sophomore year, GPA is much more difficult to change. You may still be able to raise it a bit if you put in a significant effort next year, so keep pushing yourself. If you can manage to do very well your junior year, you will impress colleges with your improvement even if your GPA doesn't change that much. If you end up with a 2.8 senior year, you'll be somewhat limited in where you can apply to college. As a sophomore you might not be sure where you want to apply yet. If you do happen to have any schools in mind, you should search for them in the next section. You'll get a percentage reading on your chances of acceptance based on your current GPA and test scores.

Since it's your junior year, your GPA is pretty set in stone. You only have a relatively short amount of time before college applications, so you should start evaluating your options with your current GPA. A 2.8 will rule out a lot of schools as safe options, but you still have quite a few solid choices. You may already know where you're thinking of applying - if so, try looking up some schools with the search tool in the next section. It may be helpful to see your odds of acceptance so you can get a sense of how to structure your applications so that you have enough likely options.

As a senior, you can be sure that your current GPA is the one that will end up on your college applications. A 2.8 GPA will limit you in where you should expect to be accepted, but you'll still have plenty of viable options. At this point, you may have already begun the college application process or at least have a list of schools where you plan on applying. If you're interested, you can look up colleges with the search tool in the next section to see what your chances of admission look like with a 2.8 GPA. You might think about adding colleges to your list to give yourself more safe options.

Your Chances With a 2.8 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 2.8? 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: 2.8 GPA + Chances: 2.8 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 2.8, 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.

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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

0 2.8

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 2.8 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

From the information presented above, you can see that your GPA is slightly below average for a high school student. The important thing to take away from this at this early stage is that you have plenty of time to improve! Your GPA isn't terribly low, and if you work hard for the next two years you should be able to raise it to a level that will make you a competitive applicant at many more schools.

Now is the time to address any issues you're having with your study habits and work with your teachers to correct misunderstandings. If you can start to get into better habits early on, you're more likely to stick with them and make big improvements over the course of the next couple years. A 2.8 GPA may be able to get you into less selective colleges, but to give yourself more options you should do your best to make whatever changes you can in order to raise your grades.

After reviewing your chances of admission at different colleges with your current GPA, you've probably realized that it's going to be difficult for you to get into selective schools if you stay at this level. Since a 2.8 is lower than average, it limits your options quite a bit. It may not be easy to change your GPA after this year, but it's still possible. Even if you just take a couple more difficult classes junior year and improve your grades slightly, colleges will notice the effort you put in to turn things around.

Sophomore year is also when you might begin the planning stage of studying for standardized tests. You should aim to take the SAT or ACT early on in your junior year so that you can get them out of the way before application time. Try to devote some serious focus to studying for these tests - high test scores can make a big difference in college admissions. At this point, nothing is set in stone yet. You have a chance to improve your GPA and earn high test scores that will have a strong positive influence on the application process senior fall.

You can see that while your GPA isn't low enough to jeopardize your chances of getting into college, it will end up putting some limits on your options. It's will be very difficult to change your GPA this late in the game, so your best shot at increasing your chances of admission at a wider range of colleges lies in raising your standardized test scores. If you haven't already, you should plan out when you're going to take the SAT or ACT and start studying. With a solid effort, you may end up with scores that impress colleges and take some of the emphasis off of your GPA. Overall, you shouldn't have a problem getting into a college that you like as long as you are realistic about the restrictions your GPA places on the application process.

Though you've most likely already begun the college application process, hopefully this article was helpful in providing some more perspective on where your GPA will get you. As you make plans to send out applications, be sure that you keep in mind the limitations that a slightly lower than average GPA places on your options.

If you think you may be able to improve your SAT or ACT scores, you still have time to take the test again. Many colleges will allow you to send in scores as late as February of your senior year after you've already submitted your application. A higher test score can go a long way towards improving your chances. Based on your GPA, you shouldn't have trouble being accepted to at least a couple of schools that suit you.

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Colleges that Accept a 2.8 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 2.8?

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 2.8. But if you improve your SAT or ACT score, you'll have a much better shot.

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
College at Brockport Brockport, NY 1148 23 2.86
State University of New York Plattsburgh Plattsburgh, NY 1130 21 3.09
Albright College Reading, PA 1120 23 3.05
Plymouth State University Plymouth, NH 1070 21 3.01
Buffalo State University Buffalo, NY 1060 2.9
University of Baltimore Baltimore, MD 1040 20 2.89
Paul Smith's College Paul Smiths, NY 1040 20 2.8
St. Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME 1040 22 3
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Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average GPAs that are close to 2.8. 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
Notre Dame College South Euclid, OH 1030 20 2.88
University of Mount Olive Mount Olive, NC 1010 18 2.85
University of Arkansas at Monticello Monticello, AR 1010 19 2.71
St. Francis College Brooklyn Heights, NY 1000 20 2.9
American International College Springfield, MA 1000 20 2.91
Post University Waterbury, CT 990 19 2.68
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Pine Bluff, AR 980 18 2.9
Bethany College (WV) Bethany, WV 980 20 2.85
State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill Cobleskill, NY 970 20 3
Alabama State University Montgomery, AL 954 18 2.95
Saint Elizabeth University Morristown, NJ 950 16 2.6
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Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 2.8, 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
College of St. Joseph Rutland, VT 940 19 2.8
Albertus Magnus College New Haven, CT 940 24 3.06
Finlandia University Hancock, MI 920 20 2.89
Texas Southern University Houston, TX 912 17 3
Pine Manor College Chestnut Hill, MA 870 15 2.6
Paul Quinn College Dallas, TX 840 16 2.6
Wiley College Marshall, TX 830 16 2.53
Albany State University Albany, GA 830 17 2.77
Medgar Evers College (City University of New York) Brooklyn, NY 820 14 2.82
Central State University Wilberforce, OH 800 15 2.8
Bloomfield College Bloomfield, NJ 629 17 2.69

Change My GPA

Curious about what your profile is with a different GPA? Choose any GPA to see what you'd be able to do!

Analyze Your SAT/ACT Score

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.

Data on this page is sourced from Peterson's Databases © 2023 (Peterson's LLC. All rights reserved.) as well as additional publicly available sources.

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