Getting Into College – How Important is Your GPA?

The more selective the school, the more the GPA will matter. The general consensus for highly selective schools seems to be that a GPA of 3.5 or above is considered acceptable. A student with a GPA below 3.5 will have a harder time convincing a very selective school that he or she should be admitted. A very high ACT or SAT score would help in this scenario. ACT composite scores above 30 and SAT individual scores above 700 may counteract a GPA in the 3.0 – 3.4 range provided that the student has taken a challenging course load. For students who don’t have ACT or SAT scores in these ranges, and have lower GPAs, looking at colleges on the lower end of the selectivity range will make more sense. In order to match up a student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores to the colleges where he or she is most likely to get accepted, a good college search website is a helpful resource. These sites use the student’s GPA and test scores in the search criteria fields in order to produce a list of potential colleges. There are also tools to estimate a student’s chance of getting accepted a particular school based on his or her GPA and test scores.

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Wendy Nelson is a first-time college mom who has approached her daughter’s college search process using her professional background in Project Management. She hopes to help others through the college choice process by sharing what she has learned. For more helpful information to guide you in your college choice process visit You will find a list of great college search websites at