Is 3.5 GPA good in high school?




As you look towards the college admission process, you are probably wondering which college to take admission to and what GPA you will need to secure a spot in a top school. 

A 3.5 GPA is somewhere between A- and B+. If you have a GPA of 3.5, you are above the national average GPA of 3.0, but still, you will be competing with many students with higher grades, including those with a GPA of 4.0.

Having said this, colleges also review other components of your application, and although it looks like you cannot get into a highly selective college in reality, it is not out of reach. Also, many excellent schools have their first-year class with an average GPA of 3.5, so don’t lose hope if you have a GPA of 3.5 because many options are still available depending on various factors.

Is a 3.5 GPA good?

Overall 3.5 GPA is above the average 3.3 GPA, which is equal to about A- average, but it is slightly lower than an A- (3.7 is A-). It is not the best GPA, but it is still above average, and you can find many school choices with this GPA.

Answering whether a GPA is good is difficult because GPAs are not standardized. Most schools use a 4.0 scale, with 4.0 being equal to an A. Some schools use weighted and unweighted GPAs system, while other schools may not use a 4.0 scale altogether.

Please note however that some schools allow students to earn bonus points and as such, they can land a GPA above 4.0. This is normally in the 4.0 to 5.0 range. However, the highest GPA ever recorded in high school was 10.03 from a school that granted bonus points for advanced courses.

Factors to check if GPA is good or not

The best way to determine GPA strength is to consider these factors:

  • The rigor of your classes 
  • The average GPA of the colleges you want to get enrolled into.

Factors influencing your college admission process 

GPA is not the only sole factor in determining for getting into your choice of college.

Many factors can influence the college admissions process. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Academic performance includes grades, standardized test scores (such as SAT or ACT), and the rigor of the student’s high school curriculum. Colleges look for students with vital academic records, indicating that they are prepared for the challenges of college-level work.
  • Extracurricular activities: Colleges also consider a student’s involvement in extracurricular activities, such as sports, clubs, volunteer work, or hobbies. These activities show colleges what the student is passionate about and how they spend their time outside the classroom.
  • Letters of recommendation: Colleges often require letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors, or other adults who know the student well. These letters provide insight into the student’s character, work habits, and potential for success in college.
  • Essays: Colleges may also require one or more essays as part of the application process. These essays allow the student to showcase their writing skills and share more about themselves and their interests with the admissions committee.
  • Financial need: For some students, financial need may be a factor in the admissions process. Colleges may have programs to support students who cannot afford to attend without financial assistance.
  • Demonstrated interest and Diversity: Demonstrated interest refers to a student’s actions to show interest in attending a particular college. This can include visiting campus, contacting admissions representatives, or applying early decision. Some colleges consider interest as a factor in the admissions process. Many colleges also value diversity and strive to create a student body representative of various backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.

It’s worth noting that the factors considered and the weight given to each can vary widely from one college to another.

How can you tell if a school is right for you?

One way to determine whether a school is an academic match for you based on GPA is to compare your GPA with the average GPA of admitted students at the school. Admissions offices often publish this information on their websites, and it can give you a good idea of whether your academic profile is in line with the school’s typical admitted students.

However, it’s important to remember that GPA is just one-factor colleges consider when evaluating applicants. Many schools use a holistic review process and consider many factors, including extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation, standardized test scores, and GPA.

If your GPA is lower than the average of admitted students, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the school is not a good match for you. You may still be a strong candidate if you have other strengths, such as strong test scores, impressive extracurricular achievements, or excellent essays.

Ultimately, the best way to determine whether a school is an academic match for you is to research the school thoroughly and consider many factors important to you in your college experience. It may also be helpful to reach out to admissions staff or current students at the school to get a better sense of the academic environment and culture.

Steps to increase your GPA

Here are some steps you can take to improve your GPA:

  • Make a plan
  • Participate in class
  • Get organized
  • Seek help when needed
  • Choose courses that complement your strengths 
  • Study regularly and manage your time effectively
  • Take advantage of various resources such as a library or tutoring services to improve your grade 

Remember, improving your GPA takes time and effort, so be patient and persistent. If you’re struggling with a specific class, don’t hesitate to seek help early on to avoid falling behind.


Your GPA gives an indicator of your academic potential. Generally, students develop it during their studies in college, and a good GPA can help colleges evaluate whether you have developed the good study and intellectual habits.

That being said, a 3.5 GPA is generally considered a good GPA, and it is often considered above average and typically strong enough to meet most college admission requirements.

Ultimately, it is essential to remember that GPA is one-factor colleges consider when evaluating applicants. Other factors, such as test scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation, can also play a role in the admissions process.

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