What is a 3.9 GPA? What colleges accept a 3.9 GPA?

Do you have a 3.9 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 3.9 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 3.9?

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

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 3.9 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 3.9 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 3.92 and 3.88 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 3.85 and 3.94.

Is a 3.9 GPA good?

Assuming an unweighted GPA, a 3.9 means that you're doing exceptionally well. This GPA indicates that you've earned all As on average across all of your classes. If you've been taking high level classes, this is all the more impressive. If not, you might consider trying to challenge yourself a little more by moving up a level. If your school uses a weighted scale, you might be earning As in low level classes, A-s and B+s in mid level classes, and Bs 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 3.9 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 96th

    96.99% of schools have an average GPA below a 3.9.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 1512 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 47 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 3.9 GPA.

To elaborate, the national average for GPA is around a 3.0, so a 3.9 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 3.9 GPA. Click your grade level to see our evaluation.

As a freshman, a 3.9 GPA is a great start. Since you're earning high grades, if you're currently in low level classes you might consider taking more difficult classes next year if you think you can handle it. GPA can change a lot between freshman and senior year, and you may still have quite a bit of room for improvement if your school uses a weighted GPA scale. Even if your GPA stays the same, you'll have many options for college. You may be missing out on the most competitive schools, but you should have no trouble getting into many selective colleges with good reputations. If you're interested in any schools in particular, you can search for them using our tool in the next section and see your chances of admission.

You've succeeded in maintaining a high GPA for the first two years of high school, so you're in good shape. Sophomore year is when your GPA really starts to become less subject to change. You can expect that it will stay relatively similar between now and senior year as long as you continue to put in the same amount of effort. If your school has a weighted GPA scale, you may even be able to increase it by taking more difficult classes. A 3.9 GPA puts you in a good position with respect to college admissions - all but the most selective schools should be relatively safe bets for you. Search for any colleges that interest you using our tool in the next section to check your chances of admission.

Your GPA should stay pretty much the same between your junior year and senior fall, so you will probably be applying to college with a 3.9 GPA. This means that you'll have many options for schools where you have a strong chance of admission. As long as you have been pursuing difficult coursework, you stand a good chance of getting into many selective schools. You might still be thinking about where you want to apply at this point, but if you know of any schools in particular that interest you, try searching for them in the next section to get a verdict on your admissions chances based on your GPA and test scores.

If it's your senior year, you may have already started applying to colleges with your current GPA. With a 3.9, you'll have a good chance of getting into most schools, including quite a few very selective colleges. It's likely that you've already started the application process and have settled on a list of schools. If so, it may be helpful for you to search for them using our tool below to check your chances of admission based on your GPA and test scores. Unless you're applying to the most competitive colleges in the country, you should end up with encouraging results!

Your Chances With a 3.9 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 3.9? 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: 3.9 GPA + Chances: 3.9 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 3.9, 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 3.9

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 3.9 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

As you have seen from the tools in this article, if you can maintain a 3.9 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. The next two years are opportunities to impress colleges (and, more importantly, yourself) with an ability to meet academic challenges and go above and beyond expectations. If your school uses weighted GPAs, you still have room for improvement!

You've seen by now that your 3.9 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. Sophomore year is also a time to begin thinking about standardized tests. Next year, you'll probably want to take the SAT or ACT at least once or twice so that you can get it over with before senior year. The best way to make sure your scores are as impressive as your GPA is to plan out your studying well in advance. Your GPA combined with high test scores will be a ticket to admission at many selective colleges.

Since your GPA is unlikely to change at this point, you can expect a good experience in the college application process next year. Based on the admissions chances you got in the previous section, you probably noticed that you have strong odds of getting into most 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 still think you could do better after this year, 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. If you plan appropriately, you'll have no problem getting into a college that you love!

If you've already applied to college, there might not be much left to do besides wait. Based on your GPA, you shouldn't have any problems getting into most schools. 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. Assuming your test scores are at the same high level as your GPA, you will end up with a lot of great choices this spring!

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Colleges that Accept a 3.9 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 3.9?

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

School Name Location SAT ACT GPA
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 1545 36 4.19
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 1535 35 4.17
Harvard University Cambridge, MA 1520 34 4.18
Yale University New Haven, CT 1515 34 4.14
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 1510 34 3.84
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 1505 34 3.9
Stanford University Stanford, CA 1505 34 3.96
Columbia University New York, NY 1505 34 4.12
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 1500 34 3.9
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 1500 34 4.11
Brown University Providence, RI 1485 34 4.08
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Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average GPAs that are close to 3.9. 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
Tufts University Medford, MA 1465 33 4.04
Northeastern University Boston, MA 1465 34 4.04
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 1435 33 3.88
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 1420 33 3.96
Boston University Boston, MA 1420 32 3.71
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 1409 31 3.91
Villanova University Villanova, PA 1395 33 3.86
Binghamton University Vestal, NY 1375 30 3.7
University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 1355 30 3.83
University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 1355 29 4.12
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX 1350 30 3.83
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Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 3.9, 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
University of Washington Seattle, WA 1340 30 3.8
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 1335 29 3.84
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo San Luis Obispo, CA 1335 29 4
University of California, Irvine Irvine, CA 1310 29 4
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, NY 1300 30 3.7
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA 1290 29 3.9
University of California, Davis Davis, CA 1280 28 4.03
Syracuse University Syracuse, NY 1275 28 3.67
United States Military Academy West Point, NY 1270 28 3.9
Auburn University Auburn University, AL 1235 28 3.9
Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL 1135 23 3.87

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.

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