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.