Updated December 7, 2020

Average College GPA

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The average college GPA is shockingly high compared to the last few decades. At 3.15, college students have a nice "B" average going.

Read this shocking report to learn more about college grades.

Understanding the College GPA

  1. What is average college GPA?
    The average college GPA is 3.15, or a "B" average. That's a huge increase from an average GPA of 2.52 in the 1950s.

    Did you know: GPAs now are 0.63 higher than sixty years ago. GPAs are expected to keep increasing as colleges are being more generous with their grades. Nowadays, nearly half of all college grades given are A's.

  2. Is a 3.0 considered a "good" GPA in college?
    A 3.0 GPA is a "B" average. This is often the lowest GPA allowed to continue in certain majors. Colleges allowing a lower GPA will often require at least a "B" average in major classes.

  3. Is a 3.5 GPA "good" in college?
    A 3.5 GPA is equal to a 90% average. Many employers and graduate programs use a 3.5 GPA as the benchmark. However, outside of the top 10 graduate schools, the average GPA for law, medical, and business graduate school are as much as 0.74 below 3.5.

  4. Is a 3.7 GPA "good" in college?
    On an unweighted GPA scale, a 3.7 GPA means you obtained mostly A's. The weight this puts on your future depends on your course load. Students taking mostly high-level classes will fare well with a 3.7 GPA. Students with an average course load still look good, but it's more expected with the less intense classes.

  5. What is average community college GPA?
    Community college students seem to fall into two categories.

    • Students with a GPA less than 2.5
    • Students with a GPA above 3.5

    Of those with a GPA less than 2.5, almost half of the students didn't pursue a 2- or 4-year degree. Of the community college students with a GPA over 3.5, though, 69% went onto graduate with either a 2- or 4-year degree.

  6. What is average college transfer GPA?
    As a general benchmark, 4-year institutions require at least a 2.0 GPA from transfer students. This varies from school to school, though.

    However, a majority of colleges accepting students with a 2.0 GPA did not allow their credits to transfer. 67% of transfer students with a 2.0 GPA transferred with zero credits. 39% of students with a GPA between 2.0 and 2.9 did not have any credits transferred at all. 31% of students with a 3.0 or higher also didn't have transferred credits.

  7. How much has the average GPA risen in the last 60 years?
    Grade inflation is the term used for today's higher grades. Grade point averages have increased around 0.1 points every 10 years. In the 1950s, the average grade point average was just 2.52.

  8. Which major has the lowest average GPA in college?
    Chemistry majors have the lowest GPA in college. Science tends to be more of a "right or wrong" type subject. This can be part of the reason for the lower average GPA of 2.78.

  9. Which major has the highest average GPA in college?
    Education has the highest average GPA of 3.36. Some believe this is because education is more of an "interpretive" course, with fewer right or wrong answers.

  10. What are the top factors colleges consider for admission?
    An overwhelming 79% of colleges look foremost at grades in college prep courses. Next in line is the difficulty of the coursework and overall grades. Finally, colleges also put emphasis on the entrance exam scores.

College Grades

  1. How do you calculate a GPA in college?
    A college GPA takes into consideration the grade points as well as the credit hours. First, total up the credit hours for each class. Next, figure out the value of each letter grade you earned:

    • A = 4
    • B = 3
    • C = 2
    • D = 1
    • F = 1

    After adding up the total grade points, divide the total grade points by the total credit hours to arrive at the GPA.

  2. What is the average amount of A's received by college students?
    A is the most common grade given at the college level today. 42% of grades given at the college level are A's.

  3. How many students receive full ride scholarships to college?
    Mark Kantrowitz reports that less than 20,000 college students receive a full ride scholarship. There are 16 million college students in the US, so that's just 1/800th of the students. Many students who don't get those scholarships are left wondering how to get rid of student loan debt.

Average GPA by Major

  1. What is the average business major GPA?
    Business students have an average GPA of 3.11, which is just .04 less than the average overall GPA for undergraduates.

  2. What is the average English major GPA?
    The average English major has a GPA that is 0.18 points higher than the nation's average, with a GPA of 3.33.

  3. What is the average psychology major GPA?
    The average psychology major is slightly below the average GPA. With an average of 2.98, they are about 0.17 points behind the average.

  4. What is the average Master's Program GPA?
    On average, Master's Programs require a GPA of at least 3.3 to enter graduate school. This does vary by school and isn't the only focus, though. If you have a lower GPA, but have an impressive course load, you may still be eligible.

  5. What is the average Doctoral Program GPA?
    The average GPA for a Doctoral Program is 3.5 or higher. Again, less emphasis is put on the GPA than the actual coursework. Doctoral programs also put emphasis on the research completed during the Master's program.

College Acceptance Rates

  1. Which college has the lowest acceptance rate?
    Stanford has the lowest acceptance rate among "non-specialized colleges." They accepted just 4.6% of the 44,073 candidates. They enrolled only 2,050 students last year.

  2. What is the hardest college to get into?
    With an acceptance rate of 5% and distinguished admission requirements, Harvard tops the list as the hardest college to enter into.

  3. Which college has the highest acceptance rate?
    Bismarck State College has a 100% acceptance rate and is the third largest university in North Dakota.

GPA in High School

  1. What is the average GPA for high school students?
    The average high school GPA has remained unchanged over the last decade, sitting at a solid 3.0.

  2. What is the average high school GPA of students accepted into Harvard?
    The average weighted GPA of high school students accepted into Harvard is 4.10. This is second only to Yale, which has an average entrance GPA of 4.19.

Bottom Line

GPAs keep rising as schools compete to keep students and parents happy. Placing an equal amount of emphasis on the GPA and overall college life can help build a solid future.

Sources and References:

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