What Is a Good GPA in College? Is My Grade Point Average Too Low?

When it comes to college, you may be wondering: what is a good GPA? Why's it important? Learn all you need to know about college GPAs here!

GPA — or grade point average, is the standard way that most colleges measure a student’s academic merit. While it’s not a perfect system, failing to take into account the difficulty of individual courses and classes, it is one of the many achievements looked at closely in both academia and employment.

But what is a good college GPA? And, does a GPA even matter?

The question “what is a good GPA in college?” is much easier to answer for high schoolers, because the answer is usually “whatever gets you into college.” But determining the value of GPA in college is much harder, especially when considering a cumulative GPA score and the daunting college admissions process.

Thankfully, there’s a solution. This article will walk you through all you need to know about how to determine a good college GPA. Scroll down to keep reading!


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Here’s how to understand what is considered a good GPA in higher education and employment:

Grad School 

If a student is considered going to grad school, figuring out a “good GPA” is quite simple. The student merely has to figure out what GPA the graduate program they’re applying to requires, and shoot for that number or above.

Obviously, that’s easier said than done, but it helps to have a specific goal when it comes to academic performance.

Most master schools require at least a 3.0 GPA, and doctors set minimums at 3.5. You don’t have to have the best GPA in the world to get into these programs, but you can’t be scraping the bottom of the barrel either. 

Related Read: Important Benefits of Studying Abroad & Top Reasons to Take the Leap

Jobs

Certain jobs might ask for a certain level of GPA in their applications. This also provides an easy option for setting goals. However, every field is different, and every job within the career field is different as well. 

While we can’t get into the specifics of the GPA for every job, there are some important things to know. When applying, you shouldn’t generally put your GPA on your resume if it’s below 3.5. Leave it off your resume completely if you’re unsure whether you meet the employer’s college GPA requirements.

The average college GPA is around 3.15, or a “B” average. A 3.5 GPA around the level for a high “A-” or low “A”. It’s no shame to score lower than this, but you should not put it on a job application, for it makes you seem like you’re bragging. 

Honors

Another way to consider a “good GPA” is by what sort of honorary degrees each GPA can obtain. A cum laude honor is usually awarded from 3.5-3.7, magna cum laude is awarded from 3.7 to 3.9, and summa cum laude is from 3.9 through 4.0 GPA. 

If you’re shooting for honors in general, 3.5 is a good benchmark to set for yourself. But, obviously, aim for a 4.0 grade point average!

Related Read: How to Write an Essay: A Beginner’s Guide to Earning an A+ Essay Score

Scholarship 

If you’ve received a scholarship for the school, you may be asked to uphold a certain GPA. This is also a good benchmark for a “good GPA”. Most of these require you to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. 

GPA is Personal 

GPA is the most common way the colleges measure merit, but it doesn’t tell students what “good” is considered. As you can see, what a “good GPA” is all depends upon a personal goal.

If you’re looking for a concrete answer, 3.0 is a number that appeared twice — so it’s a good number to aim above if you want to apply for a scholarship or apply for a master’s degree. A grade point average of 3.5 or above is a good number if you’re more ambitious, especially if you’re looking to receive honors and put your GPA on your resume.

Remember to keep in mind that employers may not regard average GPAs highly, so feel free to leave your GPA off your resume when in doubt.

For more articles like this one, check out our education section!

Related Read: How to List Education on a Resume: Complete Guide and Examples

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This article was written by a contributor for publication on Goodwall. Goodwall is dedicated to helping students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals reach their full potential. We'll share thought-provoking and supportive articles on career advice, self-improvement, navigating the college landscape, climate action, social impact, and more. On the business side, we'll talk about SMB subjects related to community, diversity, talent acquisition, case studies, and enterprise.

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