What is a 4.2 GPA? What colleges accept a 4.2 GPA?

Do you have a 4.2 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 4.2 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 4.2?

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

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 4.2 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 4.2 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 4.22 and 4.180000000000001 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 4.15 and 4.24.

Is a 4.2 GPA good?

A 4.2 GPA is above a 4.0, so it's outside of the normal range for unweighted GPAs. If you have a 4.2, your school uses weighted GPAs, meaning they take class difficulty into account when calculating GPA. A 4.2 indicates that you are earning Bs and B+s in high level classes or As and A+s in mid level classes. This is a very good GPA, and it should give you a strong chance of admission at most 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 4.2 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 99th

    99.87% of schools have an average GPA below a 4.2.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 1567 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 2 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 4.2 GPA.

To elaborate, the national average for GPA is around a 3.0, so a 4.2 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 4.2 GPA. Click your grade level to see our evaluation.

A 4.2 GPA freshman year means that you managed to start off the right way in your high school classes. Remember that at this early stage GPA is still relatively variable, so try and stay as focused as possible. If you can keep up your efforts and maintain or improve your grades over the course of the next couple years, you'll be able to get into all but the most selective colleges. Since college applications are still years away, you might not have any idea where you want to go yet. However, if you think you might be interested in a particular college, you can search for it in the next section to see whether your GPA will give you a good chance of acceptance.

You're halfway through high school, and so far you have a very good GPA. You should be proud of your efforts and be ready to continue working hard and taking on more challenges your junior and senior years. Though your GPA may change a bit before you apply to college, significant differences are relatively unlikely at this point. With a 4.2 GPA, you can expect to have high odds of being accepted to almost any school. Try searching for any colleges you think might interest you in the next section to see how you measure up.

If it's your junior year, your GPA won't change much at all in the time before you apply to college. If you currently have a 4.2, this means that you'll end up with a lot of options in the applicaton process. You can expect to have a good chance of being accepted to almost every college in the nation.

You managed to maintain a great GPA thoughout high school - nice job! You may have already started applying to colleges at this point, so you probably know that your high GPA gives you a lot of options. There are only a couple schools in the country that could end up being out of reach for you. If you're still in the midst of the application process, you might want to look up the schools where you plan on applying in the next section to see your chances of admission. Overall, you should be in really good shape.

Your Chances With a 4.2 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 4.2? 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: 4.2 GPA + Chances: 4.2 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 4.2, 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 4.2

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 4.2 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

Based on the information above, you can see that your current GPA gives you a solid chance of getting into a wide variety of schools, including many highly selective institutions. Since you're already taking high level classes and earning good grades, you should continue to work hard and challenge yourself. Colleges like to see students who have the capacity for growth and improvement in academics. The next three years are opportunities for you to delve deeper into subjects that interest you and be as ambitious as possible in your academic goals. If you stay on your current path, you can expect your applications to be received very well your senior year!

After looking up different schools and checking your chances of admission, you can see that your GPA will give you many options for college. You've managed to maintain a high level of academic achievement for two years of high school, so don't stop now! Your junior year is your last opportunity to really challenge yourself and make sure you're living up to your full potential.

This is also a time when you should start to think about standardized tests. It's usually a good idea to take your first SAT or ACT at the start of junior year to see whether you'll need to study more. Test scores can be just as important as your GPA in the college application process. If you continue working hard in your classes and plan out your testing schedule responsibly, you should have no problem getting into a great school.

As you're gearing up for the college application process, you can rest assured that your GPA will open lots of doors for you at highly selective schools. You should keep working hard in your classes, but also feel free to let go of some stress. Your GPA is unlikely to change much before you send out college applications.

At this point, the main thing you should be concerned with is making sure that your standardized test scores compliment your GPA. If you think there's room for improvement, you can take the SAT or ACT again later in your junior year or during the fall of your senior year before you go to college. High scores combined with your GPA will give a great shot at getting into some awesome schools.

Since you're already in the college application process, there may not be much to do now besides put the finishing touches on your applications and wait for the results. If you feel unsatisfied with your standardized test scores, you still have time to take the SAT or ACT again before your applications are final. Some schools will allow you to submit scores from tests taken as late as February of your senior year. Based on what you learned about your chances of admission from the search tool above, you have every reason to expect great results. Good luck, and get excited for college!

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Colleges that Accept a 4.2 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 4.2?

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

image description

Same Level: Equally Hard to Get Into

These schools have average GPAs that are close to 4.2. 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
California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA 1545 36 4.19
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 1543 35 4.19
Harvey Mudd College Claremont, CA 1530 35 4.17
Columbia University New York, NY 1524 35 4.15
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 1518 34 3.95
Yale University New Haven, CT 1515 34 4.14
Williams College Williamstown, MA 1512 34 4.13
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 1510 34 3.9
Duke University Durham, NC 1510 34 4.13
Rice University Houston, TX 1505 34 4.12
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Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 4.2, 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 Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 1500 34 3.9
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 1500 34 4.11
Brown University Providence, RI 1493 34 4.1
Tufts University Medford, MA 1465 33 4.04
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 1445 33 4.32
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 1435 33 3.99
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 1393 30 3.9
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA 1358 30 4
University of California, Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 1355 29 4.12
United States Military Academy West Point, NY 1331 30 4
Clemson University Clemson, SC 1310 30 4.43

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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