Best Schools to Get Into with a 3.3 GPA

Admissions counselors consider many different factors when reviewing college applications–including grades, test scores, extracurriculars, essays, and more. Consequently it can be hard for students to keep track of what is important to their application and what isn’t. Truthfully, all aspects of your application are important, though some may hold more weight than others.

 

Each college values different components of your application differently, but no matter where you apply, one of the biggest factors on your college application is your academic ability. Academic ability is demonstrated through elements such as standardized test scores and grades, as well as the overall rigor of your course load. Your grade point average, or GPA, is a key indicator that summarizes the grades you have earned so far on a universal scale. Schools can use this number to get a sense of your academic ability before taking a more in-depth look at your profile.

Why Does GPA Matter?

Again, GPA is a summary indicator which schools can use to understand your academic ability at a glance. More importantly, it is generally a good indicator of a student’s academic potential and their ability to succeed at the institution. Admissions counselors want to be confident in a student’s ability to succeed, as this ability will maximize a student’s probability of returning after their first year, as well as their likelihood of graduating.

 

However, GPA isn’t the only important indicator of potential success, hence it is important to maximize your GPA while challenging yourself with more rigorous coursework. Ultimately, a 3.3 GPA earned while taking all honors and AP courses means something different than a 3.3 GPA earned while taking all standard level courses, as students who take more advanced classes are likely more prepared for the rigor of college coursework. Consequently, things like your class rank, which shows what your GPA means relative to your school peers, can add additional context regarding the overall rigor of your high school.

Is 3.3 a good GPA in high school?

Rather than think of your GPA as objectively “good” or “bad,” it’s best to look at it in the context of the schools to which you are applying. Because your GPA describes your academic profile so succinctly, it is one of the first metrics that universities will use when considering your application. Many admissions committees have a minimum GPA in mind when evaluating applicants, and if your GPA falls below that number, your application may not be read as thoroughly as candidates above the threshold.

 

A 3.3 GPA is roughly equivalent to a B+ average. Of course, there are a number of colleges in the US who will happily accept you with that grade point average, but if you have your heart set on more competitive programs or prestigious schools, you’ll want to be realistic about where you stand in the applicant pool.

 

Looking at a school’s typical freshman profile can help you determine if your GPA would fall somewhere within their range. We’ve compiled a list of colleges and universities whose incoming freshman class achieved an average GPA of 3.3 to help you start your search and give context to your academic progress so far.

 

These are the top colleges that have freshmen class with an average high school GPA of 3.3:

College Type State Region
Augustana College Private Illinois Great Lakes
Beloit College Private Wisconsin Great Lakes
CUNY Bernard M Baruch College Public New York Mid East
Immaculata University Private Pennsylvania Mid East
Muhlenberg College Private Pennsylvania Mid East
Old Dominion University Public Virginia Southeast
Regent University Private Virginia Southeast
Rollins College Private Florida Southeast
Stonehill College Private Massachusetts New England
The University of Montana Public Montana Rocky Mountains
University of Alaska Fairbanks Public Alaska Far West
University of Illinois at Chicago Public Illinois Great Lakes
University of Massachusetts- Boston Public Massachusetts New England
University of Southern Mississippi Public Mississippi Southeast

Steps to Increase Your GPA

If have your heart set on a school whose incoming class GPA averages higher than 3.3, there are ways you can work to increase your GPA and your chances at that school. If you are a freshman or sophomore in high school, you still have plenty of time to work on improving your grades. Showing an upward trend in performance can be a great asset for your application, so don’t be disheartened if your GPA isn’t where you would like it to be yet. Instead, try some of the following:

 

Consider Your Courseload. If you are struggling to keep your grades up because you feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of your classes, try reevaluating your courseload. It is important to challenge yourself, however you don’t want to sacrifice your overall performance just to take an extra AP. In fact, eliminating a troublesome course or two will likely leave you with more time to devote to the ones which matter most to you. When considering which advanced courses to drop, keep the ones you are succeeding most in or truly enjoy. Studying is much more fun when you like the material.

 

Consider Your Commitments. Maybe you can balance your current courseload just fine, but you simply don’t have the time to do the work. If that’s the case, reflect on your extracurriculars and other commitments and consider if there are any responsibilities you can delegate out or put on hold while you work on improving your GPA. Dropping an activity isn’t ideal, but if you can use the extra time to bring up your grades then it will be well worth it. Take the same approach here as you would with your courses–prioritize the activities you enjoy and excel most in rather than those you don’t.

 

Consider Your Study Habits. Be honest with yourself: are you studying as effectively as you could be? Reflect on your study habits and weaknesses then pick two to actively work on. For instance, if you know you’re prone to procrastination, try using a productivity app or enlisting a family member to help keep you accountable and on schedule. If you have trouble with test taking, try switching up your review methods–flashcards, mnemonic devices, or quizzing friends–to see if something different works better for you.


Consider a Helping Hand. One of the best ways to improve your understanding of the material and, as a result, your grades, is to seek out help. Ask your teacher if they can work with you one-on-one to go over topics that you don’t understand or work through a question step by step. Consider enlisting a peer tutor who did well in the class recently, or utilizing outside resources which can help explain topics in new ways.

What if you don’t have time to increase your GPA?

If you’re starting your college applications and your GPA isn’t within range for your dream school, don’t panic. Though it’s important, your GPA isn’t the only thing that matters in your academic profile. Standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, or even AP exams, can also help demonstrate your academic ability to an admissions counselor. This is especially true if you are a student who excels in one area and plans to study it in college. Acing SAT subject tests and AP exams related to your prospective major are a great way to demonstrate your proficiency in that field.

 

Finally, if extenuating circumstances caused your grades to drop, be sure to note this in your application. Many colleges will dedicate space in the application specifically for this purpose, however you can also include this in the additional information section or use one of your supplemental essays to address it.

 

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Anna Ravenelle
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Anna Ravenelle is a graduate of Cornell University, where she studied English with a concentration in Creative Writing. After spending two application cycles in the CollegeVine applications division, she now uses her admissions experience to help a greater number of students. She resides in New York but her heart has never left New Hampshire, where she grew up.