What’s a Good College GPA in 2023?

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What’s a good college GPA? As a college student, this can be an advantageous question to ask. Your GPA can have an impact on your college life as well as your future career plans.

Good College GPA

Having a good GPA may give you access to more opportunities, and it can also increase your chances of getting into graduate school and standing out as a job applicant.

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By getting clear on what a good GPA is, you can have a benchmark to track your performance and know when you’re excelling academically.

What’s a Good College GPA?

College GPA

What is a good college GPA? This typically depends on the program. After all, different programs have different standards and requirements. Overall, though, what is a good GPA in college? The average college GPA is 3.0, or roughly a B letter grade. If your GPA is higher than that, it’s generally considered a good GPA. If it’s below that, it’s considered a low GPA.

Many scholarships require you to maintain a 3.0 GPA, and it’s common for graduate schools to set this as the minimum GPA for acceptance into a masters program. To be considered exceptional, though, the usual bar is a 3.5 GPA or higher. You can think of this based on Latin honor designations:

  • Cum laude: 3.5 to 3.7 GPA
  • Magna cum laude: 7 to 3.9 GPA
  • Summa cum laude: 3.9 to 4.0 GPA

If your GPA is 3.5 or higher, you may qualify for the dean’s list or honor programs. You can mention it as well in job applications.

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A high GPA can be seen by employers as an asset, especially if your degree is closely related to the job that you’re applying for. A 3.5 or higher is also a good GPA to aim for if you’re applying to graduate school. Still, the program that you’re taking and the school that you’re in can affect what’s considered a good GPA.

For example, a student who’s taking more demanding courses in an honor’s program can have the same GPA as another student. The GPA of the first student can be seen as more impressive, though, because of the difficulty of their courses. For a more objective benchmark, you can try looking up the average college GPA by major.

What Is a GPA?

What Is a GPA

A grade point average (GPA) is a number that represents your overall grade based on college classes you’ve taken.

Most colleges in the US use the GPA system. The collegiate grading scale typically ranges from 0.0 to 4.0, with 4.0 as the highest. If you get a 4.0, your overall average grade is at least 93%, while a 0.0 would be a failing mark below 65%. There’s also a specific letter grade, A to F, assigned to each range of the GPA.

This table from the College Board shows how the GPA corresponds to percent grades and letter grades:

Letter Grade Percent Grade GPA (4.0 Scale)
A+ 97-100 4.0
A 93-96 4.0
A- 90-92 3.7
B+ 87-89 3.3
B 83-86 3.0
B- 80-82 2.7
C+ 77-79 2.3
C 73-76 2.0
C- 70-72 1.7
D+ 67-69 1.3
D 65-66 1.0
E/F Below 65 0.0

GPAs can be calculated for each semester or for all of the college classes that you’ve taken.

Does College GPA Matter?

Does College GPA Matter

Your college GPA can influence your academic and career plans in several ways:

  • College classes. Most schools will expect you to have a GPA of at least 2.0. If your GPA falls below 2.0, you might be placed on academic probation or even removed from your program.
  • Financial aid. Many forms of financial aid for college, including loans, scholarships, and grants, have a minimum college GPA that you’re supposed to maintain. Otherwise, you might lose it. Some merit-based scholarships even require a GPA higher than 3.0.
  • Graduate school. Your GPA and transcripts are a main consideration for admissions to graduate school. Some of the most competitive schools only accept students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. However, there are some universities that accept low GPA scores from applicants. 
  • Internships and opportunities. With a higher GPA, you can increase your chances of getting a good internship as a student. Research and studying abroad opportunities might also be more accessible.
  • Your first job. Some companies will see it as an asset if you have an honors level GPA of at least 3.5. This can even play a major role in screening graduates. Your performance in college tends to matter less after your first job, though.

Your college GPA does matter, but it isn’t the only factor that you should focus on. But having a good GPA may offer some benefits that can help you make progress with your goals.

How to Raise GPA

How to Raise GPA

Here are some practical tips for raising your university GPA:

  • Find out what study method works for you. Do you learn best when reading on your own, listening to a lecture, or reviewing with a study group?
  • Study regularly instead of cramming. Studying for an exam at the last minute is generally less effective than reviewing in short, frequent sessions. You could even choose to go over what you discussed in class right after a lecture to keep pace with it.
  • Reach out if you’re having a hard time. If you’re confused about a topic, you can always reach out to your professor or ask your classmates to help you study. Tutors for specific subjects also tend to be available.
  • Attend all of your classes and participate. Class attendance and participation can play a major role in your grade. You can also stay on top of important information and announcements when you attend all of your classes.
  • Take on extra credit work. Many professors will offer options for students to earn additional points. Even though these aren’t strictly required, putting in the extra effort can help bump up your grade.
  • Be aware of deadlines and exam dates. It’s important to keep organized and remember major dates, such as deadlines and exam dates. This way, you’re less likely to miss them, and you can prepare well in advance.

Raising your GPA often takes time, effort, and dedication.

What Is a Good Cumulative GPA?

A good college GPA is 3.3 or higher, but what is considered a “good” GPA can also be relative to your school. The average cumulative GPA is around 3.0, or a B, so anything higher than that is typically considered a good, or above average, GPA.

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A GPA of 3.5 or above would be a very good GPA, to the point that it qualifies for Latin honors. Any honors you qualify for could be put on your resume as a standout point for recruiters. It could also bump up your chances of getting into a good graduate school.

What GPA Do You Need to Graduate College?

gpa to Graduate College

At most schools, the minimum GPA required to graduate is 2.0, or a C. This is also the minimum required for most types of financial aid.

Though colleges that accept 2.0 GPA are out there, most programs specify minimum GPAs higher than 2.0. Some schools have undergraduate majors that require a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA for graduation, so it’s beneficial to check your degree program for these requirements.

If a student’s GPA falls below 2.0, they might be placed on academic probation or even dismissed from their program.

Is a 3.5 GPA Good in College?

GPA Good in College

A 3.5 GPA is generally considered a very good GPA, and it’s higher than the average grade in most programs. It means that you’ve earned an average of more than 90%, or higher than a B+, in your classes. With a 3.5 GPA, you can qualify for a cum laude designation.

Not all employers will look at your grades, but a 3.5 GPA may help you standout for jobs at large, prestigious companies. You’ll also be more likely to get admitted into top graduate schools with rigorous GPA requirements.

Is a 3.0 GPA Good in College?

A 3.0 GPA is considered an average GPA. Many college programs set 3.0 as the lowest GPA for staying in the program. Since it’s considered average, it’s acceptable for getting into some graduate schools. It could can be more difficult to get into top-tier schools, though, especially in competitive fields like law and medicine.

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Most employers are also satisfied with a 3.0 GPA, but there are some who look for a GPA of 3.5 or higher, depending on the company and industry.

What’s the Difference Between a Weighted vs. Unweighted GPA?

Weighted vs. Unweighted GPA

GPAs can be either weighted or unweighted.

  • Weighted GPA: A weighted GPA is reported on a 5.0 scale, and it takes into account the difficulty of your classes. For example, a B in a difficult class and an A in a regular class could both be given a grade of 4.0.
  • Unweighted GPA: An unweighted GPA is reported on a 4.0 scale, and it gives the same weight to all class units. For example, a B in a difficult class is given a grade of 3.0, while an A in a regular class is 4.0.

It’s more common for colleges to use unweighted GPAs.

What’s the Difference Between a Cumulative GPA vs. Weighted GPA?

Cumulative GPA vs. Weighted GPA

Here are some of the differences between cumulative GPAs and weighted GPAs:

  • Cumulative GPA: A cumulative GPA consists of the average grade of all your college classes. It can be weighted or unweighted.
  • Weighted GPA: A weighted GPA adjusts grades based on the difficulty of the class. An A in a difficult class might be graded as 5.0, while an A in a regular class would be the standard 4.0.

A GPA can be both cumulative and weighted. If you calculate the average grade of the weighted GPAs of all your college classes, you can get your cumulative weighted GPA.

What’s the Difference Between a Cumulative GPA vs. Major GPA?

Here are the main differences between a cumulative GPA and a major GPA.  

Cumulative GPA Major GPA
  • Considers all of the classes you’ve taken, including minor and elective classes
  • Shows your overall academic performance
  • Much more prominent and often displayed in your transcripts 
  • Considers only your major classes, the classes that are specific to your degree program 
  • Shows your performance in subjects related to your degree
  • Can be relevant if you’re applying to jobs or graduate programs related to your major

A cumulative GPA is more common overall, but masters programs tend to consider major GPAs in the application process.

Getting Your Bachelor’s Degree Online

Bachelor’s Degree Online

Getting a good college GPA largely depends on your study habits and time management. You’ll likely be more motivated to study if you’re naturally interested in your classes.

Your GPA is only one factor that employers and graduate programs consider, though. They also look at your specific degree and the school that you studied in. Because of this, it’s essential to get your bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.

Many regionally accredited institutions offer their programs both in-person and online, letting you determine which learning method is best for your schedule and preferences. By choosing a high-quality program and maintaining a satisfactory GPA, you can expand your job opportunities or pave your way toward a graduate program.

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Ima Ocon
Ima Ocon
Ima holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Ateneo de Manila University, with a minor in Philosophy. She also participated in the Global Summer Program at Singapore Management University. Currently, she is pursuing a graduate certificate in counseling.