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: 93rd

    93.44% of schools have an average GPA below a 3.8.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 1466 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 103 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.

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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 3.8

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.

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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.

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

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 1520 34 4
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 1520 34 4
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 1518 34 3.95
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 1510 34 3.9
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 1500 34 3.9
Brown University Providence, RI 1493 34 4.1
Tufts University Medford, MA 1465 33 4.04
Northeastern University Boston, MA 1465 34 4.04
New York University New York, NY 1455 34 3.8
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 1435 33 3.9
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 1435 33 3.99
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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
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
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA 1358 30 4
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 1352 31 3.7
United States Military Academy West Point, NY 1331 30 4
University of Connecticut Storrs, CT 1315 29 3.76
Seton Hall University South Orange, NJ 1310 30 3.68
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 1310 29 3.75
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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
Auburn University Auburn, AL 1304 27 4
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX 1291 28 3.71
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 1290 28 3.81
Penn State University Park University Park, PA 1265 28 3.68
Hofstra University Hempstead, NY 1246 27 3.74
University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 1225 26 3.77
University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 1223 26 3.74
Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT 1175 25 3.54
Ohio University Athens, OH 1174 25 3.75
California State University Long Beach Long Beach, CA 1145 23 3.7
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL 1135 29 4

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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