What is a 3.8 GPA? What colleges accept a 3.8 GPA?

Do you have a 3.8 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 3.8 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 3.8?

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

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 3.8 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 3.8 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 3.82 and 3.78 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 3.75 and 3.84.


Is a 3.8 GPA good?

If your school uses an unweighted GPA scale, a 3.8 is one of the highest GPAs you can get. You're most likely earning As and A-s in all of your classes. If your school uses a weighted scale, you may be earning As and A-s in low level classes, B+s in mid-level classes, or Bs and B-s in high level classes.

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 3.8 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 95th

    95.41% of schools have an average GPA below a 3.8.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 1498 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 72 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 3.8 GPA.

To elaborate, the national average for GPA is around a 3.0, so a 3.8 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 3.8 GPA. Click your grade level to see our evaluation.

It looks like you started off on the right foot in your classes. If you feel like you can challenge yourself more, don't be afraid to move up a level in subject areas that interest you. Your GPA might still change a fair amount after freshman year, but if you're curious about where you stand right now you can search for schools that interest you in the next section and check out your chances of admission.

You've maintained a high GPA for the first two years of high school - great job! Think about whether you can challenge yourself to take on more difficult classes for the final push in your junior year. You may not know where you plan on applying to college yet, but if there are any schools that interest you, try searching for them in the next section to get a sense of your admissions prospects.

Your GPA should stay pretty much the same between now and when you apply to college. With this GPA, you'll have a solid chance of getting into a wide variety of schools. If you already have plans for where you're going to apply, check your chances in the next section to see if you have a good shot at being accepted.

You made it! Maintaining a 3.8 GPA throughout high school is definitely something to be proud of. You've probably already started the college application process, but if you're interested in checking your chances of admission at the schools where you plan on applying, try searching for them in the next section.


Your Chances With a 3.8 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 3.8? 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: 3.8 GPA + Chances: 3.8 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 3.8, 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.

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

3.8
0 3.8

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 3.8 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

If you can maintain a 3.8 up until you apply to college, there will be many schools where you have a high chance of acceptance. As a freshman, you'll have to make sure that you keep doing well in your classes so you can maintain or exceed this level of achievement throughout high school.

If you think you may be able to move up a level in some of your classes, you should try and push yourself. Remember that the level of your coursework is just as important as your GPA itself. If your school uses weighted GPAs, you still have quite a bit of room for improvement!

You've seen by now that your 3.8 GPA will give you quite a few college options. As a sophomore, you have to make sure that you keep up your hard work throughout junior year so that colleges will see a pattern of improvement.

If there are any subject areas that particularly interest you, try switching into higher level classes and really challenging yourself. Taking academic risks is an important part of intellectual growth, and colleges are looking for students who are willing to go the extra mile to get a better learning experience.

Since your GPA is solid at this point, you can expect a postive experience with the college application process next year. Based on the admissions chances you got in the previous section, you probably noticed that you have a good shot at getting into many colleges.

If you want to improve your chances at highly selective schools, you should work on raising your standardized test scores. SAT and ACT scores are often just as important as GPA in your college applications, and it's much easier to improve them. If you think you could do better, study over the summer and take one or both of the tests again at the beginning of your senior year before you apply to college.

You may have already applied to college, so there might not be much left to do besides wait. If you did your research and applied to a wide range of schools, you shouldn't have any problems. If you're nervous about your admissions chances based on the calculator above, you might consider applying to another safety school to make sure you're covered.

As a senior, you might also still have the chance to retake the SAT or ACT and send your scores to colleges. If it's still the first half of your senior year and you think you can improve your scores, this is something to consider.



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 240+ 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 3.8 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 3.8?

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

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
Harvard College Cambridge, MA 1520 34 4.1
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 1500 33 3.9
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 1495 33 3.76
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 1490 33 3.93
Brown University Providence, RI 1488 32 4.09
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 1478 32 4.07
Tufts University Medford, MA 1475 33 4.06
Northeastern University Boston, MA 1445 33 4.0
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 1415 31 3.83
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 1405 32 3.93
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 1399 30 3.87
image description

Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average GPAs that are close to 3.8. 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
University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 1385 28 4.02
New York University New York, NY 1382 31 3.7
Boston University Boston, MA 1380 31 3.6
Binghamton University Vestal, NY 1361 29 3.7
Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA 1347 30 3.82
Villanova University Villanova, PA 1345 32 3.99
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 1318 30 3.76
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX 1315 29 3.76
University of Washington Seattle, WA 1310 29 3.78
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 1304 28 3.79
United States Military Academy West Point, NY 1300 25 3.73
image description

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 3.8, 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
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA 1293 28 3.92
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 1285 29 3.7
University of Georgia Athens, GA 1281 29 3.9
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA 1269 28 3.83
University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA 1263 27 3.76
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 1255 28 3.6
University of Denver Denver, CO 1250 27 3.71
Penn State University Park University Park, PA 1247 28 3.6
University of California, Davis Davis, CA 1240 28 4
Auburn University Auburn University, AL 1225 27 3.83
Temple University Philadelphia, PA 1221 27 3.51


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.

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 3 of our social networks:


Twitter and Google+