What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

Best Schools To Get Into With A 3.2 GPA

While college applications require a lot of inputs–letters of recommendation, a Personal Statement, supplemental essays, and more–your GPA is arguably one of the more important ones. Each college usually has an average high school GPA for its accepted students that prospective applicants should use as a gauge for whether their grades are high enough to meet the university’s standards.


Of course, your GPA is not the only determinant of your admissions chances, but it is certainly a good place to start. If you have earned a 3.2 GPA throughout high school, there are many ranked colleges that, on average, accept students with your GPA. Which colleges are those? How can you improve your GPA in order to increase your chances of acceptance? In this post, we’ll answer all of those questions and more.


Is 3.2 A Good GPA In High School?


It’s difficult to say whether one’s GPA is good or bad because it is largely a matter of perspective. You need to judge for yourself whether you are satisfied with your GPA based on the average GPA of the colleges you want to apply to. If your high school GPA is at or above the college’s average, that’s a pretty good GPA. If your high school GPA is below the average, there may be some room for improvement there.


That being said, a 3.2 GPA probably means that you’ve gotten, on average, a mixture of B’s and B+’s in your courses throughout your time in high school. There are certainly a number of colleges in the US that will accept you with that GPA; however, if you’re looking to apply to the more highly ranked and prestigious school, this GPA may pose an issue for you.


However, here are some ranked US colleges that boast an average GPA of 3.2:


School Name Type State Region
SUNY at Albany Public New York Mid-East
Montclair State University Public New Jersey Mid-East
University of Maine Public Maine New England
University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth Public Massachusetts New England
Cardinal Stritch University Private Wisconsin Great Lakes
Cazenovia College Private New York Mid-East
Morehouse College Private Georgia Southeast
North Carolina Central University Public North Carolina Southeast
San Francisco State University Public California Far West
The University of Texas at El Paso Public Texas Southwest
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public Arkansas Southeast
University of New Orleans Public Louisiana Southeast
University of West Georgia Public Georgia Southeast
Valdosta State University Public Georgia Southeast
University of Hawaii–West Oahu Public Hawaii Far West


Steps To Increase Your GPA


Hopefully, you can see that a GPA of 3.2 does give you quite a few college options. If there are colleges that you wish to apply to that have a higher average high school GPA, however, you may want to consider increasing your GPA. In fact, we at CollegeVine highly recommend trying to get your GPA as high as possible regardless as it will give you more of a competitive edge on your college application.


How does one increase his/her GPA, though? Well, intuitively, increasing your GPA is all about increasing your grades. If you’re looking to raise your grades, you ought to reflect on how you’ve been studying and earning your grades thus far and see if there’s anything you can fix or improve on. With some new strategies, you may find that it’s easier to do well in classes than you think. Here are some things for you to consider as you think about how to raise your GPA:  


Maybe It’s Your Course Load


If you feel like you can master course material just fine but don’t have the time to do so, it’s possible that you could be taking too many time-consuming or advanced classes. Perhaps if you lightened your course load a bit, you would be able to devote the proper amount of time to each course and have more time to study overall. Don’t worry–colleges won’t penalize you a bunch for taking 3 advanced classes instead of 5.



Maybe It’s Your Coursework


Perhaps your course load is fine, but you’re just not interested in the classes that you are taking. This tends to happen with students who excel in one particular subject matter. This is definitely not a bad thing, and you should listen to what your mind is trying to tell you. Take the classes that you are truly interested in and have a passion for, and you’ll find that good grades come more naturally.



Maybe You’re Overcommitted


Maybe you’re taking all the right classes at the right level of difficulty, but you don’t have time to study due to other commitments. This could be a lot of extracurricular activities, a demanding job, or even family responsibilities that you can’t ignore. If this sounds like you, see if you can lessen the amount of non-academic activities you are pursuing in order to use that time to focus on studying. This may mean dropping an activity or two, but it will certainly be worth it as long as you use the extra time to bring up your grades.



Maybe You Need 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 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 more sense to you. In other words, there are plenty of resources out there that can help you understand the material better. You simply have to make a commitment to seek them out yourself.



Maybe It’s the Way You Study


Is the material making sense but just not sticking in your head? Do you find that your test scores don’t accurately reflect how well you know the material? These things indicate that you might not be studying in a way that is the most effective for you. So, next time you have a quiz or exam, try switching up how you study the material to find the way that helps you remember the material the easiest. Some popular methods include flashcards, pneumonic devices, and constant repetition of the material. Try these and others to see what works.

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 substantially While this is certainly not ideal, it certainly does not mean that you don’t have a fighting chance at getting accepted into a great college. All this means is that you need to turn your attention to aspects of your application that are still in control, like your Personal Statement, essays, standardized test scores, and letters of recommendation.


The earlier you start on those aspects of your application, the more time you will have time to edit and perfect them. We at CollegeVine have found that an overall stellar application can outweigh things like a lower-than-average GPA when colleges make admissions decisions.


Also, if your GPA is substantially lower than the average GPA that a particular college accepts, you may want to start thinking about how to explain or spin your GPA to the college. For instance, if you have some overwhelming family responsibilities or other circumstances that took away your study time, be prepared to mention that in your application or in an interview.


Colleges are typically sympathetic to 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 the trial and error of taking classes you weren’t passionate about. 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.


With the right messaging and a stellar application overall, getting into a ranked college is certainly achievable.


Why Does GPA Matter?


There is no simple answer to this. On the one hand, your GPA matters because colleges use your GPA as a high-level summary of how well you performed academically throughout high school. After all, looking at your GPA is certainly simpler than going through your transcript and looking at all of your grades one by one. Thus, the higher your GPA is, the more it looks like you did well in your high school courses.


On the other hand, colleges recognize that a GPA does not tell you everything. For instance, it is not a good indication of how many advanced courses you took throughout high school. For example, a student who only took regular courses in high school may get a 4.0 while a student who took all advanced courses and understandably struggled with a few may have a 3.2. One student got better grades, but the other is probably better prepared for the rigor of college coursework.


Furthermore, colleges recognize that your GPA is not always a good tool to use to compare you to other students. Many high schools have GPA deflation, where getting a 4.0 is rather difficult. On the other hand, some schools have GPA inflation, where many students can earn a 4.0 for relatively little trouble. Knowing this, colleges tend to look away from your GPA and more towards your class rank and your standardized test scores in order to compare your academic performance to those of other students.


Thus, while GPA is a good indicator of your academic performance, it is certainly not the be-all-end-all. Colleges will use many other metrics to get a more comprehensive picture of what kind of student you are.


For More Information


Want to know how your GPA  impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!


Want more CollegeVine content? Here are some other blog posts that will tell you everything you need to know about GPA’s:


What is a Good GPA For Top Schools?

Is GPA or Class Rank More Important?

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

Improve Your High School GPA With These 5 Strategies

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!