Laura Berlinsky-Schine 4 min read Academics, Grades and GPA

Best Schools To Get Into With a 3.8 GPA

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Is a 3.8 GPA good enough to get into college? Your GPA reflects your entire academic record. A 3.8 sits between an A and an A- and is a strong average. However, as you look toward the college admission process, you may see that some of the most selective schools have freshman classes with higher GPAs.

 

That doesn’t mean you won’t still be a competitive candidate at many schools or that an Ivy is out of the question. Keep reading to find out which schools have a freshman class with an average GPA of 3.8 — and what you can do to improve your GPA.

 

Is 3.8 a Good GPA in High School?

 

GPA is a subjective measure, so it’s difficult to say whether it’s “good” or “bad.” Given that standards can vary significantly from one school to the next, colleges are more likely to consider where you fall in your class and how much you’ve challenged yourself academically. However, if you’re trying to figure out how you compare to the freshman class at a given college, it’s reasonable to assume that a class with an average GPA of 3.8 is a target school, while a college with a higher average is probably more of a reach.

 

Moreover, GPA is just one factor that influences your chances of admission. Colleges consider many other components of your application, such as:

 

 

That doesn’t mean your GPA isn’t important, but it does mean it’s not the only thing colleges will take into account.

 

Which Colleges Have an Average Freshman Class GPA of 3.8?

 

Which colleges accept students with this GPA? Here are the top schools with a freshman class with an average high school GPA of 3.8:

 

School name Type State Region
Carnegie Mellon University Private Pennsylvania Mid East
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Public Michigan Great Lakes
Vanderbilt University Private Tennessee Southeast
University of Wisconsin-Madison Public Wisconsin Great Lakes
Brigham Young University-Provo Private Utah Rocky Mountains
University of Washington-Seattle Campus Public Washington Far West
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Private Massachusetts New England
Colorado School of Mines Public Colorado Rocky Mountains
Miami University-Oxford Public Ohio Great Lakes
Mount Holyoke College Private Massachusetts New England
Pitzer College Private California Far West
Stony Brook University Public New York Mid East
DePauw University Private Indiana Great Lakes
Mercer University Private Georgia Southeast
University of Maryland-Baltimore County Public Maryland Mid East

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Steps to Increase Your GPA

 

While a GPA of 3.8 is strong enough for many top schools, as noted above, there are some steps you can take to make you a more competitive admissions candidate.

 

Know your GPA.

 

Start by knowing where you stand. Calculate your weighted and unweighted GPA to make sure you’re correct in your initial estimate.

 

Focus on your strengths.

 

Next, you should be taking rigorous courses in subjects that complement your strengths. If you excel in the humanities, you should be taking AP and honors courses in areas like English and history. On the other hand, if you struggle with math, rather than trying to take on AP Calculus, you may want to stick to the regular level; a poor grade will lower your GPA. While it’s important to challenge yourself, a low grade in a difficult course will reflect more negatively on you than positively.

 

Load up your schedule.

 

Take plenty of courses in strong areas, too, including electives. The more graded courses you have on your transcript, the less any one grade affects your GPA.

 

Get help.

 

Finally, if you’re really struggling, consider getting assistance from a tutor or teacher. She can help you identify weak areas and approaches and work with you to develop strategies for tackling tests and assignments.

 

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

 

If there’s no time left to raise your GPA, don’t panic. A 3.8 is strong, and remember that there are many colleges that will welcome students with this GPA.

 

Still, you can make efforts in other areas to increase your chances of acceptance to a top-tier school. Focus on building an exemplary extracurricular activities: participate in activities that complement your strengths and interests, such as the school newspaper or a journalism internship for writers. Secure leadership roles to demonstrate that you take initiative. Remember that colleges consider other factors, such as your essay, interview, and recommendations, too.

 

You can also retake your SAT or ACT to improve your academic profile. It can be easier to raise your score by practicing and reviewing other strategies than it is to raise your GPA if you’re late in your high school career, because your GPA reflects your entire transcript, while colleges will generally only consider your highest test scores.

 

Why Does GPA Matter?

 

GPA can provide some insight into your academic abilities. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many highly successful adults struggled in high school. Furthermore, it’s just one indicator.

 

How colleges recognize course rigor varies from school to school. They do take the number into account, but they also contextualize it by noting your class rank and how you performed against your classmates, as well as the difficulty of the courses you’ve taken.

 

That means that GPA can show colleges your current academic strengths to an extent, but it’s also not the entire picture.

 

Want help improving your GPA? Looking for guidance on which courses to take, choosing extracurriculars, and more? Through CollegeVine’s Early Advising program, you’ll be paired with a mentor who will create an individualized roadmap for high school to help you meet your goals. Or, if you’re an upperclassman, consider our College Applications program. We’ll work with you to create a college list, develop application themes, and maximize your chances of acceptance into a top-tier school.

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.