What is a 3.6 GPA? What colleges accept a 3.6 GPA?

Do you have a 3.6 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 3.6 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 3.6?

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

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 3.6 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 3.6 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 3.62 and 3.58 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 3.5500000000000003 and 3.64.

Is a 3.6 GPA good?

If you're earning a 3.6 unweighted GPA, you're doing very well. A 3.6 means that you've been getting mostly A-s in your classes. As long as you've been challenging yourself in your coursework, your grades are high enough that you should have a good chance of being accepted to quite a few 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 3.6 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 80th

    80.5% of schools have an average GPA below a 3.6.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 1263 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 306 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 3.6 GPA.

To elaborate, the national average for GPA is around a 3.0, so a 3.6 puts you above 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 3.6 GPA. Click your grade level to see our evaluation.

As a freshman, your GPA has the potential to change quite a bit before you apply to college, but 3.6 is a great starting point. You're earning high grades across all of your classes already, and you can use the next couple years to do even better and impress colleges with your academic growth. If you manage to maintain or exceed a 3.6 GPA, you are likely to be accepted to many selective schools. You may not know where you want to apply to college yet, but if you can think of any schools that interest you, look them up with our search tool in the next section so you can see your chances of admission with your current GPA.

You've made it through the first two years of high school with a solid GPA - great work! Your GPA may change slightly before you apply to college your senior year, but it won't end up significantly different as long as you continue similar study habits. A 3.6 GPA will give you a good chance of acceptance at many selective schools, so you'll have a wide range of choices in the college admissions process. If you have any colleges in mind currently, you can check your chances of admission at any schools that interest you with our search tool in the next section.

You've almost made it to college application time with a 3.6 GPA! Your GPA isn't going to change much at this point, so you can expect to be applying to schools with a GPA that's close to a 3.6. This means that you'll most likely be able to count on acceptance to many selective colleges. If you already have some ideas in mind for where you plan on applying, search for these schools in the next section and find out if you stand a good chance of admission.

It's your senior year, so you may already have applied to colleges with this GPA. You've been able to maintain a strong GPA throughout high school, and you shouldn't have a problem getting into most colleges unless they're highly competitive. If you're curious about your chances of admission at the schools where you plan on applying (or where you've already applied), search for them in the next section and see what your odds look like.

Your Chances With a 3.6 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 3.6? 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: 3.6 GPA + Chances: 3.6 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 3.6, 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:

There's a lot more to PrepScholar that makes it the best SAT/ACT prep program. Click to learn more about our program, or sign up for our 5-day free trial to check out PrepScholar for yourself:

SAT Free Signup        ACT Free Signup

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 3.6

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 3.6 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

Taking all the information above into account, it's safe to say that your GPA is a strong start for a freshman. Still, you should keep in mind that you still have room for improvement, especially if your school uses a weighted GPA scale. Taking more difficult classes and earning high grades in the time you have left before applications will give you even more options for college. Right now, you should look at the next couple years as opportunities to really challenge yourself and improve your grades even more. Overall, it looks like you're on the right track to become a competitive applicant at most schools. Nice work so far!

If you looked up some colleges using our search tool, you know that your GPA will give you a strong chance of admission at many schools. Since you still have another year left before you apply, you should try to push yourself further. Your GPA can still improve, especially if your school uses a weighted scale that goes up higher than a 4.0. Taking more difficult classes your junior year will show colleges that you're serious about your intellectual growth.

Sophomore year is also when you might start planning out your studying for standardized tests. It's a good idea to take the SAT or ACT your junior fall so that you have plenty of time to retake it later if you aren't happy with your scores. Your relatively high GPA combined with impressive standardized test scores will go a long way towards getting you into a good college!

Overall, it seems like you're in relatively good shape for next year. Your GPA is high enough that you will have a shot at being accepted to most colleges, and it's unlikely to change much between now and when you apply next year. At this stage in high school, you should be focusing on standardized tests. If your test scores are great, you'll have even more options for college.

You may have already taken the SAT or ACT, but if you feel that you can improve your results it's a smart idea to take it again your junior spring. You can also retake the SAT or ACT again your senior fall, although it's better to have it out of the way before you have to deal with college applications. Your GPA combined with high test scores will allow you to find lots of options for college that fit with the experience you're looking for.

Your academic performance high school has made you a strong candidate in the college application process. At this stage in the game, you're either working on applications or have already sent them in to schools. As long as you apply to a wide range of colleges and give yourself a few solid options, you should end up being accepted to at least a couple schools that you really like.

If you think you stand a chance at improving your SAT or ACT scores, remember that you can still send in scores after you've submitted your applications so you may be able to take the test again before your scores are final. Otherwise, focus on finishing your applications and prepare for the decision making process in the spring!

Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your SAT score by 160 points? image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and SAT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points
Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your ACT score by 4 points? image description

Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

Free eBook: 5 Tips to 4+ Points on the ACT

Colleges that Accept a 3.6 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 3.6?

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

image description

Reach Schools: Harder to Get Into

These schools are hard for you to get into now, because their average GPA is higher than a 3.6. But if you improve your SAT or ACT score, you'll have a much better shot.

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 1510 34 3.9
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 1500 34 3.9
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 1435 33 3.9
Boston University Boston, MA 1418 32 3.88
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 1396 31 3.6
Villanova University Villanova, PA 1395 33 3.89
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 1393 30 3.9
Binghamton University Binghamton, NY 1375 31 3.89
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 1352 31 3.7
American University Washington, DC 1329 30 3.65
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 1310 29 3.75
image description

Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average GPAs that are close to 3.6. 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
Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ 1310 30 3.68
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX 1291 28 3.71
Texas A&M University College Station, TX 1275 29 3.68
Baylor University Waco, TX 1267 29 3.67
Penn State University Park University Park, PA 1265 28 3.68
University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 1245 25 3.53
Texas Christian University Fort Worth, TX 1242 28 3.7
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 1241 28 3.42
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 1223 26 3.74
George Mason University Fairfax, VA 1215 27 3.69
University of Oklahoma Norman, OK 1210 26 3.67
image description

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 3.6, 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
Howard University Washington, DC 1204 25 3.66
Texas Tech University Lubbock, TX 1196 26 3.62
Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO 1178 26 3.7
Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT 1175 25 3.54
Ohio University Athens, OH 1174 25 3.75
Pace University New York, NY 1173 26 3.35
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis Indianapolis, IN 1161 25 3.52
University of North Texas Denton, TX 1160 23 3.47
California State University Long Beach Long Beach, CA 1145 23 3.7
San Jose State University San Jose, CA 1145 23 3.57
Washington State University Pullman, WA 1125 23 3.5

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.

If You Liked Our Advice...

Visit our blog for free strategy guides on college admissions and test prep.

Our experts have written hundreds of useful articles on improving your SAT score and getting into college. You'll definitely find something useful here.

Visit our blog now.

Subscribe to our newsletter to get FREE strategies and guides sent to your email. Learn how to ace the SAT with exclusive tips and insights that we share with our private newsletter subscribers.

Get Free SAT Tips to Boost Your Score
100% Privacy. No spam ever.

You should definitely follow us on social media. You'll get updates on our latest articles right on your feed. Follow us on all of our social networks: