What is a 4.5 GPA? What colleges accept a 4.5 GPA?

Do you have a 4.5 GPA? Are you wondering whether a 4.5 is good, and what colleges you can get into with a 4.5?

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

  • Find out which colleges you can get into with a 4.5 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 4.5 GPA, our advice is the same for close GPAs, like 4.52 and 4.48 GPAs. You can use this guide for all GPAs between 4.45 and 4.54.

Is a 4.5 GPA good?

This GPA is higher than a 4.0, meaning that your school measures GPAs on a weighted scale (class difficulty is taken into account in conjunction with your grades). At most high schools, this means that the highest GPA you can get is a 5.0. A 4.5 GPA indicates that you're in very good shape for college. You're most likely in high level classes earning As and high Bs.

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 4.5 GPA compares to the nation:

  • score-percent Percentile: 99th

    99.74% of schools have an average GPA below a 4.5.

  • score-compete Competitive For: 1555 Schools

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

  • score-missing Missing Out On: 4 Schools

    You have a low chance of getting into with a 4.5 GPA.

To elaborate, the national average for GPA is around a 3.0, so a 4.5 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 4.5 GPA. Click your grade level to see our evaluation.

This is a great GPA for your freshman year of high school. It shows that you've worked hard from the beginning and are willing to challenge yourself with difficult classes. Keep doing what you're doing! Since you still have at least 6 semesters to go before you apply to college, your GPA may change between now and then. Still, you can look up any schools that interest you with the tool in the next section to see what your chances of admission are with your current GPA. The results should inspire you to maintain your strong academic performance.

This is an impressive GPA to maintain throughout your freshman and sophomore years, so nice job! With a 4.5 GPA, you'll have a good chance of acceptance at even the most selective schools. Keep up the hard work your junior year and you should be in great shape for college admissions. If there are any schools that interest you at this point, you can look them up with the tool in the next section to see what your chances of admission are with your current GPA. Your GPA shouldn't change too much between now and when you apply as long as you stay focused.

You're in the home stretch of high school now, and you've managed to maintain a great GPA. You should be very proud of yourself! Your GPA is unlikely to change at all between now and when you apply to college, so you can expect to have a strong chance of being accepted to some of the top schools in the country. If you already have plans about where you want to apply, you should search for the schools that interest you with the tool in the next section and see what your odds of acceptance look like.

Great job! You made it through to college applications with a very high GPA. At this point, you're probably in the process of applying to schools or have already applied. You should have a good chance of being accepted to even the most selective colleges. If you want to search for the different schools where you applied to plan to apply in the next section, you'll get a better idea of how high your odds of acceptance are.

Your Chances With a 4.5 GPA

This is probably the biggest question on your mind. What colleges can you get into with a 4.5? 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: 4.5 GPA + Chances: 4.5 GPA + Average GPA
% %
*These calculations fix your GPA at 4.5, 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:

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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 4.5

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 4.5 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 into account everything else we've said in this article, it's clear that you're off to a great start in high school. If you manage to keep up your grades for the next three years, even your most ambitious college goals could become a reality. Highly selective schools are looking for students who take difficult classes and maintain high grades, and so far you're on the right track.

Remember to keep pushing yourself and striving for new intellectual challenges. Also remember, however, that your mental health is important. It's ok to take a less difficult class here and there to give yourself a break if you're feeling overwhelmed. You're clearly a very dedicated student, so you should be proud of your accomplishments so far and look forward to the ones that are yet to come!

From consulting the tools in this article, it's easy to see that your GPA puts you in an excellent position for the college application process. You still have at least a full year before you start applying, but if you can maintain your grades, you shouldn't have any problem getting into some of the best schools in the country. Students like you who take difficult classes and earn high grades are highly sought after by colleges.

If you haven't already, start thinking about the SAT or ACT and whether you want to do some prep work before you take the test. Standardized test scores are another very important factor that colleges use to judge the academic potential of prospective students. If you're already doing this well in school, you shouldn't have too many problems with the SAT or ACT, but if you're hoping to earn a truly elite score some studying might be worthwhile. In any case, you're in awesome shape right now, and you can look forward to many great options for college!

Based on the college search tool above, you can see that your GPA places you in an elite group of students who will have a good chance at being accepted to the best schools in country. You've solidified a great high school GPA, and the biggest hurdle you have ahead of you is just the application process itself.

At this point, if you haven't already, you should also be thinking about standardized tests. If you're hoping to get into a very selective school, you will need to be sure that your test scores are at the same impressive level as your GPA. While you may not have a difficult time getting relatively high scores, if you are shooting for Ivy League or other very selective schools, you will be expected to have 99th percentile scores. But the bottom line is that you're doing amazing, and you'll almost certainly be faced with many great college choices next fall.

Reaching senior year with a 4.5 GPA is no small feat, and as you've seen from the tools above, it's a promising sign for your college admissions chances. As you prepare your applications or wait for decisions, you can be secure in knowing that you'll almost certainly be admitted to some great schools.

You most likely have already finished taking standardized tests or are planning on one final test date before application materials are due. If you're still unsatisfied with your test scores, some schools will allow you to submit scores from tests taken as late as February of your senior year. If you're happy with your scores, now is the time to relax a little more and reflect on making the transition to this new, exciting stage of your life. Your hard work is sure to pay off both now and in the future!

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Colleges that Accept a 4.5 GPA

What schools can you get into with a GPA of 4.5?

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

image description

Safety Schools: Easier to Get Into

With a GPA of 4.5, 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 Chicago Chicago, IL 1520 34 4.48
University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 1430 32 4.32
College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA 1415 32 4.27
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 1395 30 4.39
University of Maryland College Park, MD 1380 31 4.32
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 1360 30 4.42
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.

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