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Best Schools To Get Into With A 3.1 GPA



When you’re applying to college, there are a number of parts that go into your application. There are your college essays, your AP scores, your SAT/ACT test scores, your personal statement, your grades, and more! With so many components to your application, it’s hard to imagine that any one part could dictate your admissions decision. Indeed, while many colleges weigh the different aspects of your college application differently when deciding whether to accept you, you can always trust that one not-so-great part of your application won’t be a deal breaker.


If you’ve gone through one or more years of high school, you’ve probably got an idea of one aspect of your application: your GPA. If your GPA is around 3.1, the good news is that there are definitely college options for you. Read on to find out what they are.


Is a 3.1 GPA Good In High School?


Whether a score is “good” or not is largely a matter of perspective and it is a mistake to measure your GPA against an arbitrary scale of quality. Instead, you should look at your scores in relation to the college that you wish to attend. Every university has an average high school GPA for their accepted students, and you’re doing well so long as you are either at or above it.


Now, usually a 3.1 GPA means that you’ve scored in the B range in most or all of your classes, probably with some B+’s mixed in there as well. You can certainly get into a college with a GPA like this, but it may limit the number of top-ranked schools you have a good shot at getting into. Of course, as we mentioned above, your GPA is not the only factor that determines your college acceptances, but it’s a place to start.


That being said, there are some ranked schools that accept students with an average GPA of 3.1 in the US. They are as follows:


School Name Type State Region
Goucher College Private Maryland Mid-East
Gallaudet University Private District of Columbia Mid-East
Massachusetts Maritime Academy Public Massachusetts New England
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Public Great Lakes
Indiana State University Public Indiana Great Lakes
Lincoln University Public Pennsylvania Mid-East
Texas Woman’s University Public Texas Southwest
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Public Wisconsin Great Lakes
Utica College Private New York Mid-East
Rogers State University Public Oklahoma Southwest
Eastern Illinois University Public Illinois Great Lakes
Neumann University Private Pennsylvania Mid-East
Wentworth Institute of Technology Private Massachusetts New England
Farleigh Dickinson University–Metropolitan Campus Private New Jersey Mid-East
Western State Colorado University Public Colorado Rocky Mountains


Steps To Increase Your GPA


As you can see from above, with a 3.1 GPA, you still have plenty of college options. However, if you have not yet completed your Junior year of high school, there is still time for you to raise your GPA if you so desire. We at CollegeVine would strongly recommend trying to raise your GPA as high as possible to give yourself a more competitive profile for colleges and perhaps even widen the number of colleges that would accept a student with your transcript.


Of course, increasing your GPA is all about increasing your grades. To do that, you’ll need to focus in on the material you’re covering in class and reevaluate the coursework you have signed up for in the first place. Each of the following steps will be useful in raising your GPA. Consider implementing one or all of the following points depending on your personal situation.


  1. Reevaluate your courses: Perhaps the problem isn’t your ability to learn and do well in classes at all. Perhaps it’s the classes that you’re taking. Are you feeling overwhelmed with your course load? Maybe you’re taking too many advanced classes, and you need to drop one or two. Don’t worry–colleges likely won’t dock you for taking 3 advanced classes instead of 5. Another way to look at it is that maybe you’re not taking the right classes. If you excel in and are passionate about humanities courses instead of math courses, make sure you’re loading up on the former set of classes! Take the classes that you are interested in and good grades will follow.


  1. Reevaluate Your Other Commitments: Maybe you’re taking all the right classes at the right level of difficulty, but you don’t have time to study because you’re in a bunch of extracurriculars or you have important family or other responsibilities. If possible, consider spending less time on non-school activities and more time studying. This may mean dropping an extracurricular activity or putting other commitments on hold, but that’s okay. As long as you use that extra time to focus and commit to raising your grades, it will be worth it.


  1. Give Yourself a Helping Hand: There are all sorts of ways that you can get extra help if you are struggling in a class. You can reach out to your teacher and try to arrange some time for some one-on-one help with the material. You could seek out a tutor, preferably from someone who took the class recently and with the same instructor. You could even look online to see if the topics that you are struggling have been covered by someone else in a way that makes the most sense to you. In other words, there are plenty of ways for you to understand the material. You simply have to make a commitment to try.


  1. Try Different Study Strategies: Perhaps you understand the material just fine, but when it come down to proving it on an exam or quiz, you can’t seem to prove your knowledge. It could be that test taking isn’t your forte, in which case you are certainly not alone. Once you recognize that you struggle with test taking, you can consciously work on your own to get better at whatever makes you struggle. Easier said than done, of course, but it’s certainly worth trying. On the other hand, the problem could just be that you have trouble memorizing and retaining the information. In that case, your study methods are probably not working. Try something different–flashcards, pneumonic devices, turning the material into a song–whatever works! You’d be surprised what strategies might work for you.


What If You Don’t Have Time To Increase Your GPA?


If you are about to be a Senior in High school or you are planning on applying to college soon without taking any more classes, it is likely too late to increase your GPA. While this is certainly not ideal, it is not the end of the world. You should still put your best foot forward on your college applications and make sure that the other aspects of your college application are as perfect as they can be. You still have a fighting chance!


You should also start thinking about how you will explain your GPA to colleges if they ask. For instance, if you have some overwhelming family responsibilities or other circumstance that took away your study time, be prepared to mention that in your application or in an interview. Colleges understand those sort of things. You can also try and spin your GPA as a learning experience in that you discovered where your talents and passions lie through trial and error. Finally, if your transcript shows an upward grade trend, make sure you highlight that in your application. Colleges love to see that a student’s grade performance has improved over time.


Finally, if your GPA is what it is, perhaps you can start focusing on the other parts of your application. Start your college essays early and make sure that you get them peer-reviewed so that they are perfect! Take (or retake) your standardized tests so that colleges can see that you are a great student. Start gathering great letters of recommendation from teachers who can boast about your accomplishments. All of these things will increase your odds of acceptance to a college.


With the right messaging and a stellar application, getting into a ranked college is anything but a pipe dream.


Why Does GPA Matter?


Well, it does and it doesn’t. On the one hand, colleges use your GPA as a high-level summary of how well you performed academically throughout high school. It is certainly simpler than going through your transcript and looking at all of your grades one by one, though many colleges do pay attention to your transcript in this way.


On the other hand, colleges recognize that GPA does not tell you everything. It is not a good indication, for example, of how many advanced courses you took. A student who didn’t challenge themselves and only took regular courses may get a 4.0 while a student who took all advanced courses may have a 3.1. One student got better grades, but the other is probably better prepared for college coursework.


GPA is also not always a fair comparison tool to compare you to other students. Some high schools tend to be set up such that students naturally have lower GPA’s, whereas some high schools allow their students to have close to 4.0 relatively easily. Thus, to compare you to other students, colleges pay more attention to your class rank and standardized test scores.


In short, colleges will certainly look at your GPA as an important indicator of your academic performance, but it is by no means the only thing they look at.


For More Information


Check out some of these previous blog posts about GPA’s:


What Is Actually A Good GPA For College?

How To Convert Your GPA To A 4.0 Scale

How To Calculate Your GPA: Use This Step-By-Step Guide

Improve Your High School GPA With These 5 Strategies


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Sadhvi Mathur
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Sadhvi is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, where she double majored in Economics and Media Studies. Having applied to over 8 universities, each with different application platforms and requirements, she is eager to share her knowledge now that her application process is over. Other than writing, Sadhvi's interests include dancing, playing the piano, and trying not to burn her apartment down when she cooks!