How to Find a Great College Without a 4.0 in High School

How to Find a Great College Without a 4.0 in High School

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a college. But with careful thought and a bit of research, you’ll probably have quite a few options available to you. In fact, 60% of traditional public school graduates end up attending their first college of choice. (Statista) And yes, you can still attend college without a 4.0 GPA.

We’ve covered a lot of the strategies for creating your college list and your ideal college prep checklist. We’ve talked about when to start that list. Things like majors, location, test scores, and culture. We’ve talked about the importance of researching extra curricular opportunities and student body size. And we’ve walked you through the college application process and how and when to plan your college visits.

How Much Does Your GPA Matter?

But what we haven’t talked about is your GPA and how it plays a role in your college list. Your transcript is important and will show colleges how you perform in the classroom and on exams. Always do your best in your classes. But what if your best is a 3.0 or even a 2.5 GPA? 

Ivy League schools like Yale, Princeton and Harvard require a 4.0 GPA. Brown and Cornell are the same. (If you have at least a 3.75 and Ivy League is your goal, you may still be able to get in but the competition will be fierce!) These upper tier schools are academically difficult and uphold a strict reputation for outstanding graduates.

How to Navigate a GPA under 4.0

The average high school student in the US has a GPA of 3.0. And students attending less affluent schools had a GPA of 2.59. Can these students still attend college? Absolutely! But you need to choose wisely. 

Remember, your GPA is not a sum of who you are as a student or as a person. It doesn’t determine whether or not you’re ready for college. Some students are fantastic, solid C students. And some students have more barriers in high school that make higher grades more difficult. College room and board would eliminate some of these, like consistent housing or food insecurity. 

If you’re a B student, these fantastic schools are open to you:

• Florida State University

  • Baylor University
  • Michigan State University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Marquette University
  • University of Iowa
  • Elon University
  • University at Buffalo, SUNY
  • University of Delaware
  • Auburn University

If you’re a C student, no fear. The top 10 schools on this list are quality colleges and would be honored to accept you:

  • University of Kansas
  • Colorado State University
  • University of Hawaii
  • Ohio University. 
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Biola University
  • New School, New York
  • University of Albany, New York
  • Howard University

These are all solid schools that will get you far into your career. So if you’re not a 4.0 student, don’t despair. There are plenty of colleges that will challenge you and give you a brilliant career. And they’d love to have you as an integral part of their student body.