How to Get Into Grad School With a 2.5 GPA [2021 Guide]

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You may be wondering how to get into grad school with a 2.5 GPA. Though graduate programs are quite competitive, there are low GPA masters programs that may be available to you.

How to Get Into Grad School

A low GPA is not the defining factor that stops you from advancing your educational career.

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We will look into a few available paths and options for getting into grad school that show you do not have to be restricted by a 2.5 GPA score.

How to Get Into Grad School with a 2.5 GPA

graduate program requirements

It is possible to enter a graduate program with a 2.5 GPA. You may have to put in additional effort, though, when putting together an application package that stands above the competition.

1. Research the Requirements

If you’re looking to get into a graduate program with a 2.5 GPA, the first essential step is to carefully research the requirements of each of the schools you are interested in.

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There are many schools that have a cut-off of a 2.5 GPA for their admissions, and there are many that have no cut-off at all. You can confidently apply to schools that state this information, and any others which state higher scoring requirements might act as a backup.

2. Talk to the Faculty

If there is a specific program that interests you, it may help to set up an appointment to discuss your interest with faculty members.

Making a positive impression and showing your dedication to your future educational career may help give you a leg up over the competition when it comes to applying.

grad school requirements

Meeting with faculty in person is much like a job interview. You can explain your circumstances, and you can ask for professional advice on how to proceed with your interest in the program.

By speaking to faculty, you allow yourself to not only make an impression as a potential applicant but also show your passion to the program and your desire to pursue it—regardless of your GPA.

Some admissions officers have shared that speaking to them ahead of applying usually results in them dedicating more time to your application later on.

3. Score High in GRE or GMAT

grad school gre or gmat

At most colleges and universities, an incredible GRE or GMAT score can negate the problems associated with a lower GPA score.

Your high quantitative scoring might be impressive to those who are looking through applications. Which standardized test you decide to take may depend on your own comfort level with the question formats.

4. Complete Post-Graduate Work

One way to show your dedication to the graduate program you are interested in is to upgrade your scoring on specific course material through post-graduate work.

Mastering key material that aligns with your interest may earn you an accredited certificate that stands out in your application.

5. Gain Relevant Field Experience

graduate school program internship

Pursuing internships or relevant work experience can show your dedication to your chosen program and industry.

Your hands-on experience can help establish your reputation among colleagues—which may lead to impressive reference letters. Work experience can also allow you to develop your skills in the field.

6. Powerful Personal Statement

The key to creating an impactful personal statement is to individualize the statement for each program you apply to. It’s also beneficial to ensure that it is free of typos and bad grammar. Try to avoid using generic statements and jargon words that make it appear as though you’ve copied and pasted your letter for every school you’ve applied to.

The most important aspect of your personal statement is to share how this program is essential to your future career goals and to emphasize how dedicated you will be to the program. This can also be a chance for you to explain why your GPA may be lower than desired.

7. Letters of Recommendation

grad school Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation can help bulk up your application and show that other people in the field, industry, or similar program rely on you and your skills.

It’s helpful for the letters of recommendation to state why you would be a great fit for this type of program. If you are able to intern with faculty in the field, their recommendation may hold a greater value in your overall application.

8. Admissions Interview

Your G.P.A. is not definitive of who you are as a person or as a student. Perhaps you were even going through difficult circumstances that caused your GPA to be lower than expected.

Alternatively, if a single course brought down your grade point average, it’s possible this course may be irrelevant to your program of interest. You can use the admissions interview to explain the circumstances behind your low GPA. You can also showcase your passion and future commitment to the program.

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Interviewers are generally looking to determine whether you’re a candidate who has the necessary skills, goals, and dedication to the program to be successful.

Is Graduating with a 2.5 GPA Bad?

grad school with below average gpa

A 2.5 GPA is generally below the national average, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad GPA.

There are colleges that accept applicants with a 2.5 GPA, and explaining the circumstances behind your GPA score may be enough for some schools to look past it.

For more selective and competitive schools, it can be difficult to gain admissions with a 2.5 GPA, but a below average GPA should not hold you back from pursuing further education.

What Is a 2.5 GPA?

Graduate school acceptance rates

A 2.5 GPA score is equivalent to a C+ letter grade or a percentage of around 77 on a standard 4.0 GPA scale.

Is a 2.5 GPA Good?

A 2.5 GPA score means you’ve earned an average of high Cs or low Bs throughout your classes. Although this GPA is below the national average, it is not necessarily bad or good.

If you have a lower than average GPA, you may have to emphasize your dedication to the program and your effort to strengthen your skills and knowledge during the admissions process. Graduate school acceptance rates and regulations differ from school to school, but there are a number of grad programs that accept students with a 2.5 GPA.

How Important Is GPA for Grad School?

GPA for Grad School

A GPA is a standard way of measuring your academic achievement. Your grade point average demonstrates to an admissions department how dedicated you have been to your studies in your educational career.

Falling below a 2.5 average can impact not only your financial aid eligibility but also your applications for grad school. Minimum GPA requirements for grad school are generally around 3.0. This can vary, though, depending on the program you are applying to.

A low GPA can be problematic for admissions to schools that are very selective and competitive. With a 2.5 GPA, it may be more productive to consider low GPA graduate schools. Also, some schools with a GPA requirement of 3.0 make exceptions, though, depending on the circumstances behind your low grade point average.

There are also other application factors that can impact your chances for admission, regardless of your GPA. For instance, you can highlight further education or work experience you’ve pursued to demonstrate your dedication to the field.

What Is Considered a Good GPA for Grad School?

Good GPA for Grad School

While a higher GPA is generally more attractive for grad schools, the exact GPA that is considered good depends not only on the school but also the program you are applying to. For instance, the competitiveness of a school or program can influence what is considered a good GPA at a certain school.

Most schools have individual GPA cutoffs, which specify the lowest possible score to be considered for admissions. On average, this is a 3.0, but there are many schools that accept students who have a GPA score of 2.5. Some schools even have no cutoffs at all.

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Some schools encourage students with low GPA scores to show their dedication to the program through additional courses, internships, or research programs. This can demonstrate to the admissions department that you are dedicated to making up for any educational deficiencies and passionate about succeeding in the program.

Graduate School Admissions Requirements

Admission requirements can vary depending on the school and the program, but here are some general requirements you may come across:

  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
  • Statement of intent
  • Reference letters
  • Experience in the field
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA

While a 3.0 is the minimum GPA for most grad school requirements, there are schools that accept a lower GPA or do not state a GPA cutoff at all.

Can I Get a Masters with a 2.4 GPA?

graduate programs and masters

Yes, it is possible to get a masters with a 2.4 GPA. Focusing on submitting a thorough application packet can help you pursue your graduate program and potentially get your masters.

Your letter of intent or personal essay that’s typically included in an admissions application is oftentimes weighed more heavily than your GPA. In this letter, not only can you explain the circumstances for your lower grades, but you can also emphasize your future career goals and your passion and dedication to the program.

Stressing your positive accomplishments in this letter can also help push you ahead of the competition, as this may outweigh poor academic performance.

What’s the Minimum GPA for Grad School?

Minimum GPA for Grad School

The minimum grad school GPA varies from school to school and differs between programs.

While the national average is a 3.0 GPA score, some schools require a minimum of 2.5, and some have no cutoffs at all. There is no minimum GPA overall, but a low GPA may present some difficulties if you are applying to more selective and competitive programs.

Is a Student’s Major Considered When Graduate Schools Look at GPA?

Whether your major GPA is considered depends on what program you are applying to. If your major aligns with the grad school program, then it will have a weight of importance.

grad school program major

If it is unrelated to your future field, then an admissions department will often focus on your cumulative GPA. If your major and the grad school program field align, an impressive major GPA can help compensate for an overall low GPA.

How Can Prospective Students Explain to Graduate Schools Why Their Grade Point Averages Are Low?

The circumstances behind your low GPA might have been out of your control. Perhaps you were going through a difficult period in your life, had a family tragedy, or struggled with personal illness. These types of factors can have an influence on your academic performance.

Writing a personal statement, meeting with faculty, calling the admissions department, or having an admissions interview can all provide you with the opportunity to explain your low average.

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Your GPA does not define your future career goals and your potential dedication and passion for a particular program. You may have multiple opportunities to explain yourself during the admissions process.

What Do Grad Schools Look For in Applicants?

While a GPA may be the first item that an applications department glances at, it’s not the only factor that grad schools look at when considering applicants. Here are some other factors they tend to look at:

  • Your letter of intent or personal statement
  • Any additional test scores or advanced courses taken
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Your transcripts
  • Your resume, field experience, or internships
  • Your overall portfolio
  • Your dialogue in an interview or with faculty of the program
  • Your GRE or GMAT scores, if applicable

A low GPA does not have to deter you from pursuing grad school, as there are numerous factors beside GPA that are also taken into consideration.

Does GPA Matter After College?

Does GPA Matter After College

Whether or not your GPA matters after college depends on your future educational career goals. If you plan to pursue grad school, then your GPA can have an impact after college.

If you wish to continue your education after grad school and pursue a PhD or doctorate program, then your GPA continues to matter, as almost all universities will have a minimum masters GPA needed for a PhD program. Some fields may even look at your GPA during the hiring process.

Speaking to employers in your career of interest can help you determine whether your GPA will matter in future circumstances as well.

List of Graduate Schools With Low GPA Requirements

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited, offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format, and have low GPA requirements.

California State University – Fullerton

California State University - Fullerton

California State University—Fullerton’s engineering graduate programs accept applications from students with a GPA of 2.5 or higher as long as they have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Besides the application, only undergraduate transcripts are required. No other documents are accepted.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

California State University – Fullerton is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

Central Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University

Central Connecticut State University typically requires applicants to have a GPA of 2.7 or higher but may accept applicants who don’t meet this requirement.

To meet the requirement, a student’s grades from graduate courses are added to their undergraduate GPA. Applicants who have already completed a master’s degree will not have their undergraduate GPA considered when applying.

Minimum GPA: 2.7

Central Connecticut State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

DeVry University

DeVry University

DeVry University accepts applicants to their graduate programs as long as they have a bachelor’s degree and a minimum GPA of 2.5. Both Keller-administered test scores and either GMAT or GRE test scores must be submitted when applying. Some programs may have additional admission requirements.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

DeVry University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.

Fisher College

Fisher College

Fisher College has a number of graduate programs with different admission requirements.

If an applicant does not reach the specific GPA requirement of their program of choice, they may be able to receive provisional acceptance. Provisional students must complete their first 3 to 6 courses with a grade of B- or higher to be considered unconditional students.

Minimum GPA: 2.7

Fisher College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Mississippi College

Mississippi College

Mississippi College requires all graduate applicants to have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5. The bachelor’s degree must be in a field related to the program the applicant is applying for. Official transcripts and standardized test scores must be submitted with the application.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Mississippi College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Missouri State University

Missouri State University

Missouri State University’s graduate program requires applicants to have a GPA of 2.75 or higher.

Those who do not fulfill the GPA requirement may still be considered if they meet other requirements. Alternative requirement possibilities are a GPA of 2.75 in their last 60 academic course hours, a GPA of 2.75 in at least 9 graduate credit hours, or a combined GRE score of 290.

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Missouri State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Murray State University

Murray State University

Murray State University offers conditional admission to qualifying students with a GPA between 2.25 and 2.74. Conditional students must receive a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in their first 9 hours of graduate work or risk being dropped from the program. Additional admission requirements may be required for different programs.

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Murray State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

National University

National University

National University accepts applications to their graduate programs from applicants who have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Applicants with a lower GPA may still be admitted based on their scores on the GMAT, GRE, or other standardized tests. An interview and transcripts from previous schools attended are also required.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

National University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University

Northeastern Illinois University’s graduate degree programs each have their own admission requirements. All programs require applicants to submit college transcripts, a personal statement about the applicant’s goals, and 2 letters of recommendation. Though each program requires standardized test scores, the exact test needed varies.

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Northeastern Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University offers a number of graduate programs with their own admission requirements.

Many of their programs, including their Master of Accounting and Master of Legal Studies programs, require applicants to have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Programs may require standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, essays, or other additional requirements.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Notre Dame de Namur University

Notre Dame De Namur University

Notre Dame de Namur University allows students with a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher to apply to their graduate programs. Official transcripts from any post-secondary institutions attended, 2 letters of recommendation, and any other program specific requirements must be submitted with the online application.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Notre Dame de Namur University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Park University

Park University

Park University offers a number of graduate programs, each with their own specific admission requirements. Official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores must be submitted to the school after completing the online application. A small application fee is required unless the applicant is a graduate of Park University.

Minimum GPA: 2.75

Park University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

San Jose State University

San Jose State University

San Jose State University requires applicants to their graduate degree programs to have either a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or a GPA of 2.5 from their last two years of full study. Each program may have its own additional admission requirements.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

San José State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Sonoma State University

Sonoma State University

Sonoma State University requires that applicants to their master’s programs have a GPA of 2.5 or higher in their last 60 semester hours from a 4 year bachelor’s degree program. Additional admission requirements, such as standardized test scores, may be required based on the program.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Sonoma State University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Webster University

Webster University

Webster University accepts applicants on a rolling basis, allowing students to start at the beginning of any semester. Applicants must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher from a bachelor’s degree program to apply for full admission. Some programs may have additional application requirements that must be completed.

Minimum GPA: 2.5

Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Graduate Degree Online

Getting Your Graduate Degree Online

A 2.5 GPA does not have to hinder your pursuit of higher education. There are a number of accredited online grad programs that either accept a 2.5 grade point average or prioritize other factors accompanying an applicant’s file.

The adaptability of an online program also gives you the scheduling flexibility to participate in internships or hands-on work in the field while you study. This can demonstrate your dedication to additional growth to admissions faculty.

If you’re ready to pursue your graduate degree, you can start by researching the specific admissions requirements of accredited universities and online programs that interest you.

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Claudia Amendola Alzraa
WRITTEN BY
Claudia Amendola Alzraa
Claudia has a Master's in Library and Information Studies, a Bachelor's in Education, and a Bachelor's with Honors in English and Philosophy. With a history working in Special Education, Claudia is an advocate for diversified and equitable education, and student success initiatives.