What is a 3.0 GPA? What colleges accept a 3.0 GPA?

Do you have a 3.0 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 3.0 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 3.0?

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

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 3.0 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 3.0 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 3.02 and 2.98 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 2.95 and 3.04.

Is a 3.0 GPA good?

A 3.0 unweighted GPA means that you've earned a B average across all of your classes. This is the national average GPA for high school students, but it may be slightly lower than the average GPA of high school students who plan on attending college.

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 3.0 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 12th

    12.75% of schools have an average GPA below a 3.0.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 200 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 1369 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 3.0 GPA.

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

Having a 3.0 GPA as a freshman isn't bad, but there's certainly room for improvement. This GPA will still give you quite a few college options. However, you'll miss out on schools that are on the more selective side. You have time to raise your GPA before you apply to college, so try to work on bettering your study habits. Ask for help if you need it! If you want to find out whether you stand a chance of acceptance at schools that interest you with your current GPA, try searching for them with our tool in the next section.

As a sophomore, you still have a bit of time before college applications, although changing your GPA is more difficult at this point. A 3.0 GPA means that you're earning decent enough grades to be sure of acceptance at a fair amount of schools with higher admissions rates, but selective colleges may be out of reach. You should try and work on improving your grades junior year so that you can raise your GPA a bit and give yourself more options. If you're interested in any schools at this stage, you can search for them in the next section to find out whether you're likely to be accepted with your current GPA.

Since you're in your junior year, your GPA is unlikely to change at all between now and college applications. While a 3.0 GPA may limit you to less selective schools, there are still over 300 colleges where your GPA will make you a competitive applicant. Use our search tool in the next section to check what your admissions chances are at schools that interest you. This should help you to get a better sense of where to apply during your senior fall so that you give yourself a range of viable options.

It's your senior year, so you've probably already started the college application process. Your GPA, though it's not especially low, is going to limit you quite a bit in the schools where you can expect admission. If you've already applied to college or are in the process of applying, you might try searching for the schools you chose in the next section to see if you stand a good chance of being admitted. You may decide to add another safety school to your list if you don't have any prospects that seem like sure bets.

Your Chances With a 3.0 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 3.0? 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: 3.0 GPA + Chances: 3.0 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 3.0, 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

0 3.0

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 3.0 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 reading the rest of this article, you know that your current GPA is equivalent to the national average for a high schooler. As a freshman, you still have a couple of years to raise your GPA and improve your chances of admission at selective schools. The bottom line is that your GPA isn't high enough at this point to get you into competitive college programs. If you can really work towards making positive changes in your study habits, you'll have a lot more options come senior year. Don't resign yourself to your current situation - keep trying to meet more difficult challenges and reach your full potential. With some dedication, by senior year you'll have an even better chance than you do now of getting into a school that you really love.

After going through the facts about your GPA in this article, you know that your grades are basically equivalent to those of the average high school student. Your GPA isn't particularly low, so you'll undoubtedly be able to get into some colleges, but it's also not high enough for you to make the cut at selective schools. Next year is your last chance to work on raising your grades before you have to send in applications. You can still make changes in your GPA if you do very well as a junior, and even slight improvements will give you a better shot at being accepted to more colleges.

You should also think about when you plan on taking the SAT or ACT and how long you need to study for the test. It's a good idea to take standardized tests early on in your junior year so that you end up with more time to retake them if you're not satisfied with your scores. High test scores can go a long way towards improving your application, so if you manage to get impressive results, you'll have all the more reason to be optimistic about the application process.

Now that you've reviewed the facts, you can see that your GPA will give you decent odds of admission at less selective colleges. It will be difficult to change your GPA after this point, so you should shift your focus a bit to standardized tests (while maintaining your grades of course!). Junior year is the best time to get your test dates out of the way so that you can focus solely on applications during senior fall. If you study diligently for the SAT or ACT and manage to get high scores, your chances of admission at many schools will be much higher. Your GPA is inevitably going to limit you somewhat, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find schools that are a match if you have decent test scores and are challenging yourself in your classes.

Based on the information in this article, your GPA will give you some options for college but will also limit you to less selective schools. Since you're a senior, you may be in the midst of applying to college. It's important to make sure your list of schools will provide you with options even in a worst-case scenario. Provided you've done your research on admissions rates and average GPAs of accepted students, you shouldn't have much trouble finding schools that are good fits for you.

You may also think about taking the SAT or ACT again this year if you think you can improve your scores. This may make a big difference in your applications, and many colleges will allow you to submit scores from tests taken as late as February of your senior year. Overall, you should be smart about where you apply and make sure you're presenting the best version of yourself to colleges. If you can do that, you'll end up with some good options in the spring.

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Colleges that Accept a 3.0 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 3.0?

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

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
Marlboro College Marlboro, VT 1260 27 3.09
Drew University Madison, NJ 1212 27 3.1
State University of New York Maritime College The Bronx, NY 1170 26 3.3
State University of New York College at Potsdam Potsdam, NY 1140 25 3.3
State University of New York Plattsburgh Plattsburgh, NY 1130 21 3.09
Albright College Reading, PA 1120 23 3.05
Stevenson University Owings Mills, MD 1120 22 3.1
East Carolina University Greenville, NC 1105 22 3.3
Cabrini College Radnor, PA 1080 21 3.1
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Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average GPAs that are close to 3.0. 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
Plymouth State University Plymouth, NH 1070 21 3.01
SUNY College at Old Westbury Old Westbury, NY 1070 21 3.1
California State University Channel Islands Camarillo, CA 1070 21 3.22
Buffalo State University Buffalo, NY 1060 2.9
Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX 1060 21 3.28
St. Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME 1040 22 3
Castleton State College Castleton, VT 1040 20 3
University of Texas at El Paso El Paso, TX 1040 20 3.28
William Paterson University Wayne, NJ 1030 21 2.97
California State University Fresno Fresno, CA 1010 19 3.18
St. Francis College Brooklyn Heights, NY 1000 20 2.9
image description

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 3.0, 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
American International College Springfield, MA 1000 20 2.91
University of Maine at Presque Isle Presque Isle, ME 998 20 3
California State University East Bay Hayward, CA 992 19 3.2
Kean University Union, NJ 990 20 3.2
University of Texas at Brownsville Brownsville, TX 990 19 3.14
State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill Cobleskill, NY 970 20 3
University of Bridgeport Bridgeport, CT 955 20 3.04
Alabama State University Montgomery, AL 954 18 2.95
Albertus Magnus College New Haven, CT 940 24 3.06
Texas Southern University Houston, TX 912 17 3
California State University Dominguez Hills Carson, CA 900 15 3.22

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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