<span>3.5 GPA Colleges</span>

3.5 GPA Colleges

Grade point average (GPA) takes into account all of the final grades from every class taken during your high school career to provide a single number that sums up general academic performance. A 3.5 GPA correlates to an A- average and indicates that you have consistently earned above-average grades.

Is a 3.5 GPA Good?

Arguably, as the top letter grade, an A- is considered “good.” A 3.5 GPA means that a student consistently performs well on homework, tests, and projects in every subject, making it a desirable GPA across the board. The national average GPA for high school graduates is 3.0 and a large number of colleges and universities consider a 3.0 the competitive benchmark. A 3.5 GPA exceeds that number and also matches the benchmark that several more selective colleges use.

I Want to Go to College, What Do I Do?

As indicated above, a 3.5 GPA means that you’ll be able to apply to a very large number of colleges and be competitive for the vast majority of them. The best plan of action, no matter where you are in your high school career, is to keep it up.

For underclassmen, the real question now becomes what kind of college to attend. A 3.5 GPA will be highly competitive and admission can be reasonably expected at many colleges, but it’s not the most competitive at places like Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth, which, on average, accept students with GPAs exceeding 4.0. Since a 3.5 GPA qualifies for consideration, and even possibly admission, to selective colleges and universities, it can elevate you to an entirely different playing field if that’s the route you’re interested in. If you’re dreaming of Ivy Leagues and are still in your first semester of freshman year, it’s possible to increase your GPA to as high as 3.9, but it would require flawless grades for 4 solid years. If available, taking honors or AP courses could make you eligible for an even higher GPA.

Being a well-rounded student involved in afterschool activities, sports, and community service should still be at the forefront of every high schoolers mind. Make sure to find subjects you’re passionate about—not only will this help you determine what to major in during college, but it also elevates the competitiveness of your application when the time comes.  

As for juniors, after establishing a 3.5 GPA, concentrate your efforts on preparing to take the ACT or SAT. Because most colleges weigh standardized test scores on par with GPA, do the studying necessary to make sure those scores are as representative of your skills as your GPA. Set aside study time throughout the week for practice tests and, if possible, enroll in an SAT or ACT prep course through your high school.

And for seniors, now is the time to make sure that all components of your college application are as strong as your GPA. Consult your college counselor so that they can give feedback on your essay and advice for making sure that your list of extracurricular activities represents your high school career in the best possible light. If an admissions officer from a college or university that interests you is visiting, attend the session and network with them. With a 3.5 GPA, you have a great foundation for getting accepted to most institutions, but standing out from the crowd never hurts!

What Colleges Can I Apply to With a 3.5 GPA?

A 3.5 GPA is eligible for acceptance at a sizable number of colleges and universities including some more competitive ones. We’ve compiled a representative sample in the list below. While GPA alone doesn’t guarantee admittance, all of these schools have a history of accepting students with GPAs in the 3.5-3.6 range.
 

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Pennsylvania State University, Penn State, is a land-, sea-, and space-grant university with a main campus in University Park. This public research institution was founded in 1855 and is one of the largest universities in the US by student body. Its...

“…Penn State was a large beautiful school. It offered many different fields for students to choose to major in. There were many activities to do, organizations to join, and people to meet.” – Michelle

Arizona State University, located in Tempe, Arizona, is a large public university founded in 1886, making it the first higher education institution in the state. ASU also has campuses in downtown Phoenix, in Glendale, a Polytechnic in Mesa, in Lake...

“…Arizona State University is a great school. I attend the Walter Cronkite School for students of Mass Communication and Journalism and I love the experience I have gained from the college. I feel prepared for future jobs and work experience. ” – Kirsten from Phoenix, AZ

Syracuse University is a private, research institution located in the New York town of the same name. SU’s 13 academic divisions offer 200 majors and 100 minors for undergraduate students, as well as multiple international study programs in  60...

“…The Campus is basically a miniature city within Syracuse. There are always activities to attend and ways to get involved. The classes are tough, but very rewarding if you put in the effort.” – Catherine from North Sutton, NH

Founded in 1925, the University of Miami is a private research institution in south Florida. The U encompasses 11 colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over 180 fields of study. Away from the classroom, the Miami campus is home to...

“…The ambient and city surrounding UM contribute a completely unique cultural experience the likes of which are cannot be found any where else in the world. The academic environment is lackluster, and those seeking a truly rigorous scholastic...” – BME from Miami, FL

Howard University is an HBCU comprised of 13 schools and colleges located two miles from the US Capitol. Nationally-ranked programs at HU include social work, business, and communication sciences and disorders. Howard has three honors programs for...

“…howard university is an amazing school filled with ambitious students. this university helps better prepare their students for succession in today's society. every graduate from howard university will be gladly to express to you how they received a...” – Brittany from Washington, DC

With a campus along the Willamette River, the University of Oregon is a 4-year public university in Eugene and the flagship campus of the UO System. The UO is home to nine colleges hosting more than 300 degree-granting academic programs. To provide a...

“…The University of Oregon is not only a beautiful campus but offers the kind of liberal arts studies that I prefer. The excitement of living on campus and attending favored sporting events has contributed to my enjoyment at this school. I look forward...” – Katharine from Claremont, CA

Founded in 1890, Washington State University is the state's first land-grant university. Washington State University offers more than 200 fields of study, including 96 undergraduate majors, 86 minors, and more than 140 graduate and professional...

“…wsu is the perfect school for me. the academics are great, but the best part is the atmosphere of the town and the university. it is the perfect college in the perfect little college town!” – Megan from Sparks, NV

The first university chartered by an Act of Congress, Ohio University is a public research institution in southeast Ohio. The Ohio campus hosts nine colleges conferring degrees in over 250 undergraduate and graduate-level fields of study as well as...

“…ohio university deserves a 10 out of 10! the campus and atmosphere here is remarkable. the teachers really want you to succeed and so do your peers.” – Amy from Newark, OH

Temple University is a 4-year public research institution in Philadelphia. With its main campus set against the Philly skyline, Temple is home to 17 colleges and schools conferring degrees in over 400 academic programs. In addition, Temple features...

“…Exciting and diverse” – Thomas from Philadelphia, PA

The Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College, more commonly known as Louisiana State, is the most comprehensive university in the state. This public university is located in Baton Rouge and is a designated land-, space-, and...

“…lsu is culturally and socially diverse, making it an exceedingly welcoming place. classes are varied and pander to the interests of many different types of students. every event is culturally rich and provides a fantastic experience.” – Nicholas from Cypress, TX

Colorado State University is a land grant university located in Fort Collins at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Business Administration, Kinesiology, and Human Development are popular fields of study at this flagship university. A Student Recreation...

“…Colorado State University has given me the best college experience I could dream of. There are opportunities for anything you could imagine - and these opportunities are everywhere! Everyone is friendly, and all anyone wants is for each and every...” – Bailey

Georgia State University is a 4-year public university with seven campuses throughout Atlanta and the largest university in the state by enrollment. GSU features 10 colleges and schools conferring degrees in over 100 areas of study. Additionally, the...

“…this school is very different because it gives you a new environment. you are surrounded with more opportunities in part time jobs or actual careers once you graduate. you will never be bored at this school because there are a lot of things to do.” – Katherine from Buford, GA

Liberty University is a Christian institution located in Lynchburg, VA. The 7,000-acre campus hosts more than 550 programs of study within its 17 colleges and schools. LU's mission of creating "Champions for Christ" is encouarged through the...

“…liberty is an absolutely fantastic school due to its involved staff, passionate students, and overall christian experience. as a christian school it carries certain stigmas, but i have found that despite the rules that are just there to protect us,...” – Jacquelyn from Crozet, VA

Founded in 1847, the University of Iowa is a 4-year public research institution in Iowa City and Iowa’s first institution of higher education. Iowa grants undergraduate degrees in over 200 academic majors, minors, and certificate programs....

“…U of Iowa is an institution that invites young minds to grow and develop with the help of highly educated leaders. Family values are important within the administration and add value to the environment within the grounds of the university. Service is...” – Eric from Pingrey Grove, IL

DePaul University is a private, non-profit institution located in the heart of Chicago, IL, featuring campuses both in the business district and Lincoln Park. DePaul is the nation’s largest Catholic university, founded by the Vincentians more than...

“…By far the most diverse private school I've ever encountered, I love it. Staff is always easily approachable! Extremely worth every cent I pay. ” – Cynthia from Chicago, IL

Originally founded as a one room accounting school, Pace University is a 4-year research institution in Manhattan. Pace is home to six colleges and schools conferring bachelor’s degrees in over 65 academic majors. In addition, the Manhattan campus...

“…Pace University is a great school that has afforded me so many fantastic opportunities I would not have received had I gone elsewhere. Pace has the most fantastic location in the heart of downtown Manhattan, making it ideal for anyone who wants to...” – Sarah in Brooklyn, NY

With a campus overlooking Malibu Bluffs and the Pacific Ocean, Pepperdine University is a 4-year Christian institution in Malibu affiliated with the Churches of Christ. Pepperdine is home to colleges of Business, Law, Arts & Sciences, Public Policy,...

“…The place where God wants me. The place that makes that's helping me become a better person. The place where I will make lasting friendships and life-changing, world-impacting decisions.” – Camila from Encino, CA

The University of Kansas is a public research institution. The main campus is located in Lawrence, Kansas, and is one of five in the University of Kansas system. KU offers more than 200 undergraduate majors in one of the largest college towns in the...

“…The University of Kansas has great professional schools with devoted professors who take education beyond the classroom. The campus environment is beautiful and the students population is very active in organizations. The University of Kansas houses...” – Zach from Overland Park, KS

Iowa State University is a public, land-grant university located in Ames, IA. The 1,813-acre campus features 6 undergraduate colleges offering 100+ majors, as well as residence hall, apartment-style, and Greek-life housing options for more than 35...

“…Iowa State is a large university with the small college feel. It has many students but everywhere I go, I see people I know, and that are in my classes. Everyone is very nice and the professors know what they are teaching.” – Grace from Vermont

Founded by Jesuits in the mid-nineteenth century, the University of San Francisco is a private Catholic university and the first university established in the city. The 55-acre urban campus located near Golden Gate Park is home to 49 academic majors...

“…this university is great for social service and catering to our community. the majors are designed to provide a liberal arts education, while preparing students for the real world. there is great diversity on campus, and opportunities to join clubs...” – nalini from Glendale, CA

West Virginia University is a public, land-grant institution that operates 10 experimental farms and four forests across the state. Sociology, Journalism, and the Arts and Humanities are popular fields of study at this research-intensive university....

“…west virginia university offers an amazing experience that is second to none. not only are there very competitive programs on campus, but the mountaineers have become a staple in the world of college athletics. excitement looms in the classroom and...” – Jonathon from Morgantown, WV

California State Polytechnic University-Pomona is a public university in southern California and one of two polytechnic institutions in the Cal State system. Cal Poly Pomona is home to nine colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees. In...

“…the campus is beautiful and there are so many helpful students and staff (and plus all of the student programs they offer!). there are plenty of ways to get involved on campus through clubs or greek life or even a job on campus. the academics are a...” – Kaitlin from Merced, CA

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is the result of a merger between Indiana University and Purdue University and offers degrees from both institutions. IUPUI hosts 17 schools granting degrees in over 350 areas of study. Additionally,...

“…iupui is has a great educational atmosphere that goes out of its way to teach its students valuable life experience. iupui is a university that teaches its students to try to make impact on its community by doing various volunteer activities. the...” – Arnesha from Jeffersonville, IN

Tulane University is private nstitution located in New Orleans, Louisiana. As one of only 62 members in the Association of American Universities, TU is considered a top research university. The campus features five undergraduate schools that provide...

“…I don't know what I love more, this school or this city! You get to experience New Orleans, but live in the nicer area! I really feel as though I am receiving a first-rate education!” – Alyssa from Clermont, FL

Originally founded as a small branch college, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is a 4-year public university and an Hispanic-Serving and Minority-Serving institution. UNLV encompasses 16 colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in...

“…I have a love-hate relationship with UNLV as I pretty much do with anything. The good definitely outweighs the bad though. It's virtually impossible to sum up my experience at UNLV in only three sentences!” – Jenny from Las Vegas, NV

The University of Utah is a public research instititution situated in Salt Lake City that offers more than 100 undergraduate majors. The U is home to three professional arts organizations to complement the College of Fine Arts, and even features a 3...

“…The university is a fun place to meet new people. It gives you a great education and the professors are really interested in teaching the topic. The location of the university is also great and has many surroundings to help you enjoy your college...” – Kayla from West Jordan, UT

Originally founded as an extension of New York University, Hofstra University is a 4-year research institution and the largest private university on Long Island. Hofstra is home to 12 colleges and schools offering undergraduate degrees in over 160...

“…Hofstra is a great college, with an at home feel that will increase your chance of success. The campus is clean, the professors helpful, and the food is good! There is no other college I would have rather attended.” – Lorie from Minnesota

Originally founded to educate returning World War II veterans, Portland State University is a 4-year public institution in the heart of Portland. The PSU campus encompasses eight colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over 120...

“…Small classrooms and good teachers.” – Garrett from Portland, OR

Founded in 1857, Illinois State University is a 4-year institution in central Illinois and the first public university in the state. The ISU campus hosts six colleges and schools as well as an Honors Program and Milner Library. In addition, ISU is...

“…Illinois State University is a wonderful school full of amazing opportunities. All staff strive to provide the best working and learning environment for their students. Gladly they teach and learn.” – Taber from Antioch, IL

San Jose State University is the oldest public university on the west coast, and is the founding campus of the 23-campus California State University System. Located on 154 acres in downtown San Jose, SJSU offers more than 145 areas of study with an...

“…San Jose State University is a beautiful campus where a person could just sit and hang out with their friends or go downtown where all other students are studying or just talking. SJSU provides a variety of activities including sororities...” – Kaela from Fairfield, CA

Northern Arizona University is a 4-year public research institution in Flagstaff and a designated Hispanic-serving institution. NAU is home to nine colleges granting bachelor’s degrees in 12 academic divisions. To take advantage of its setting in the...

“…beautiful and stunningly gorgeous. the winter's may be cold, but its worth it when there is fresh, untouched coat of snow laying on the ground outside your window. there is no place i would rather be in arizona.” – Madeline from Granite Bay, CA

Founded in 1965, the University of California-Santa Cruz is a public institution and part of the University of California System. UCSC offers undergraduate degrees in 65 academic majors within departments of Arts, Humanities, Physical Sciences,...

“…UC Santa Cruz is a beautiful oasis. The views, environment, and opportunities are open to everyone. The teachers are just as inspiring as the classroom locations, because they are brilliant in their area of study and eager to help their students...” – chappy student

The University at Buffalo is a 4-year public research institution and largest university in the State University of New York system by enrollment. Buffalo is home to 14 colleges and schools conferring undergraduate degrees in over 125 academic majors...

“…a large school with many opportunities (be it academics, socially, etc.) ” – Mina J from New York, New York

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a 4-year public institution in central Oklahoma. OU offers bachelor’s degrees in 170 academic fields of study. In addition to classroom space, the OU campus hosts the National Weather Center featuring a...

“…The University of Oklahoma has a wealth of opportunity to offer. It is a beautiful campus and the classes are kept small to offer individual attention to students. It also offers a lot of ways to get involved and give back to the community as well as...” – Brianna from Frisco, TX

Originally established as a teacher-training school, Towson University is a public institution in the Baltimore area and part of the University System of Maryland. TU is home to six colleges and schools conferring bachelor’s degrees in 64 majors. In...

“…Towson is a great school. Its wonderful environment gives off academics, and a school that is about their student's needs. Its a great place to leave home for because it becomes your home.” – Olivia from Upper Marlboro, MD

With campus a short drive from the Delaware River, Rowan University is a public institution in southern New Jersey. Rowan confers bachelor’s degrees in 74 academic areas of study and is one of just over 50 American colleges to offer programs in...

“…the school is great. everyone wants to help you with all different types of academic work. also, there is something for everyone.” – Nicole from Wayne, NJ

Established in 1837 and named for former Chief Justice John Marshall, Marshall University is a 4-year public research institution in southwestern West Virginia. Marshall is home to seven undergraduate colleges conferring bachelor’s degrees in 57...

“…marshall university's campus is small enough to engage with your professors, yet large enough to meet all standards of diversity. its quaint charm also matches its southern hospitality. from the classroom to sporting events roaring with thundering...” – Bria from Beckley, WV

Located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, CUNY Hunter College is a public college and the largest school in the City University of New York System. Hunter is home to six colleges and schools conferring degrees in over 170 fields of study. In addition...

“…i am a transfer to this college and i have to say that it is amazing. hunter college has hundreds of courses you can choose from, a nice environment, wonderful people and everyone is extremely helpful.i would recommend anyone to attend this school” – Aisha from Bronx, NY

Formerly known as Southwest Missouri State, Missouri State University is a 4-year public institution in southwest Missouri and the second largest university in the state by enrollment. The main campus of the MSU system, MSU Springfield is home to...

“…missouri state university is an absolutely wonderful school. the classes are generally small and close-knit. there are so many programs to join and feel welcome!” – Kelly from Hazelwood, MO

Originally founded as the Roanoke Classical Seminary, Manchester University is a liberal arts university in northeast Indiana affiliated with the Church of the Brethren. Manchester is home to colleges of Arts & Humanities, Health Sciences, Business,...

“…Manchester University is a place where many different people can get together to learn, study, and approach the future together. Teachers and staff are quite friendly and are always willing to help a student. Furthermore, centers exist where students...” – Gaius from Greenwood, IN

Originally founded as a teacher’s college, Ball State University is a public institution in eastern Indiana. Ball State is home to seven colleges conferring undergraduate degrees in more than 120 academic majors. Throughout the year, Ball State...

“…A great school to find yourself. A fun school to meet new people and establish life long relationships. A wonderful place to prepare to take on the rest of your life.” – Dante from Crete, IL

Emerson College is liberal arts college focusing on communication and the arts located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1880 as a "school of oratory," Emerson still focuses largely on communication, just through 26 majors that culminate in a...

“…Emerson is a magical school filled with people that are super-accepting in one of the most magical cities in the world. Unfairly stereotyped as a hipster school, it's surprising how many Emerson kids break the supposed stereotype. If you have a...” – Brittany from Kyle, TX

Oberlin College is a liberal arts institution that was founded in 1833 in Oberlin, OH. Only two colleges operate on this private university’s campus, a College of Arts and Sciences and the oldest continuously operating Conservatory of Music in the...

“…What a life changing college experience. Here I feel challenged and exposed to so much diversity. I learn so much, from the classroom to the campus, I am enlightened everywhere I go here.” – Johnny from Lorain, OH

Originally founded as a teacher-training school, Kent State University is a 4-year public research university in northeast Ohio. Kent State hosts ten colleges conferring undergraduate degrees in more than 300 areas of study. Additionally, KSU is home...

“…Kent State University is way too often grossly stereotyped and given the reputation of having low standards. I have found my programs and the staff that I have worked with to be highly qualified. The atmosphere and diversity of the campus truly...” – Robert from Strongsville, OH

Bucknell University is a highly selective, private liberal arts college located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Offering more than 50 majors, Bucknell classes 100% taught by professors, never grad stduents, and the campus is home to several research...

“…Bucknell is where the students work hard and play hard. Greek life and athletics are huge. It is a beautiful place to live and get your degree.” – Bridget from Milford, CT

The University of Louisville is a member of the Kentucky State University system and the first city-owned public university in the US. Louisville features three campuses hosting 12 colleges and schools and the university’s Health Sciences Center is...

“…the campus is very clean and easy to navigate. there are also a lot of resources to help your experience here. the professors are friendly and very helpful.” – Ariah from Elizabethtown, KY

Michigan’s third largest institution of higher learning, Wayne State University is a public university in Detroit. Wayne State is home to 13 colleges offering over 300 undergraduate and graduate degrees. In addition to classroom facilities, Wayne...

“…Wayne state has turned out to be a great opportunity for me and has opened doors in several areas of life. Not only do they offer great curriculum and teachers, the student connections there are potentially limitless. I would recommend Wayne state...” – Reggie from Detroit, MI

The University of Hawai’i at Manoa is a 4-year public university on the island of O’ahu and the flagship campus of the UH System. The largest and oldest of the Hawai’i campuses, UH Manoa confers bachelor’s degrees in 100 academic majors. Additionally...

“…university of hawaii of manoa is a great school. there are amazing students you will meet but also a very good place to live in because as most people describe it, it's paradise. you will enjoy going to uh manoa, go warriors!” – Marife from Honolulu, HI

Founded in 1887 as Troy State Normal School, Troy University is a 4-year public school in southeast Alabama and the flagship of the Troy University System. Troy is home to five colleges conferring undergraduate and graduate degrees in over 260...

“…troy university provides an affordable, enjoyable college experience to students of all walks of life. with its division one athletics and its prestigious international programs, troy offers great opportunities for social networking and future...” – Tyler from Murphy, NC

Founded in 1858 as Bluemont Central College, Kansas State University is a 4-year public institution in northeast Kansas. K-State hosts 11 colleges and schools conferring bachelor’s degrees in over 250 academic majors. In addition, the Kansas State...

“…kansas state university is an all around great university weither it be their sports team or academics. this university has such a welcoming atmosphere. manhattan and kansas state have a small town feel but in a bigger college experience.” – Student from Manhattan, KS