What Is a Good GPA in College?: All GPAs and Their Meaning

A scale with Good and Bad written on each side and in big letter "GPA Breakdown"
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Purchases made through my affiliate links provide a small commission for me at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I know/use.

I found it difficult to know if anything short of a 4.0 is a good GPA in college.

GPA is the singular number that represents your academic performance, but unfortunately, that number doesn’t come with a clear answer on if it is good or bad.

Learn more about what a GPA is, what a good, bad, and average GPA is, and a breakdown of all GPAs and their meaning.

Click hereOpens in a new tab. to check out the most popular products for college students. 

What is a GPA?

GPA stands for Grade Point Average, and it is a single number that represents your grades during your time at that school. The standard GPA scale is 0-4.0 in the United States. A student’s grade for each class they take is given a set number of points—typically A= 4.0, B= 3.0, C= 2.0, D= 1.0, and F= 0.

Here is a table of the letter grade, percentage grade, and corresponding GPA:

Letter GradePercentage GradeGPA
A+98.00 – 100.004.00
A92.00 – 97.994.00
A-90.00 – 91.993.67
B+88.00 – 89.993.33
B82.00 – 87.993.00
B-80.00 – 81.992.67
C+78.00 – 79.992.33
C72.00 – 77.992.00
C-70.00 – 71.991.67
D+68.00 – 69.991.33
D62.00 – 67.991.00
D-60.00 – 61.990.67
Fbelow 600.00
Sources: University of Illinois GPAOpens in a new tab. and Numerical GradesOpens in a new tab.

There are some colleges that use a 0-5.0 GPA scale, but that is uncommon. When talking about if GPAs are good or bad from here on out, we will be talking about them based on a 4.0 scale.

Note: You have to know your GPA before we can assess if it is good or bad. If you don’t know your GPA, check out How to Find Out Your GPAOpens in a new tab..

What is a good GPA in college?

The cut-off of what is considered a good GPA in college varies depending on the college, degree program, and individual expectations. A 3.5 or above is considered a good GPA and would mean graduating with honors. Some people have less strict standards and consider anything above a 3.0 a good GPA.

A 3.5 or above GPA is widely regarded as a good GPA. If you graduate with a 3.5-3.7 GPA, you are graduating cum laude, a 3.8-3.9 GPA is magna cum laude, and a 4.0 GPA is summa cum laude.

A 3.0 GPA or higher is often considered a good GPA. It is the GPA that many graduate school admissions require. It shows that the student is frequently earning above-average grades of A’s and B’s.

Ultimately, people have to decide for themselves what they view as a good GPA and take their extenuating circumstances, goals, and history into account.

People can define a good GPA as:

  • a GPA that is above average
  • a competitive GPA for their college and major
  • a GPA would get them into grad school
  • a GPA that is recognized as honors (3.5 and above)
  • a GPA that shows academic improvement
  • or as any GPA that is above the minimum requirements for their school, financial aid, or scholarships

A good question to ask yourself to determine if you think you have a good GPA is, “Do you want to put your GPA on your resume or tell people?” essentially, are you proud?

Check out all the benefits of Prime StudentOpens in a new tab.. Click hereOpens in a new tab. to sign up for Prime Student.

What is a bad GPA in college?

It varies what is considered a bad GPA depending on the college, degree program, industry, and personal standards. In general, anything below a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA (out of 4.0) may be considered a bad GPA.

Many graduate schools look for a 3.0 or above for admissions, so if you want to go to graduate school, anything below a 3.0 would be considered bad (though it is still possible to be admitted).

Learn more about What Is a Bad GPA in College?: Understanding and CopingOpens in a new tab..

Minimum GPA requirement

A GPA is clearly “bad” if it does not meet the minimum GPA requirement.

A 2.0 GPA is often the minimum GPA required to graduate from college, and some colleges may require even higher, such as a minimum 2.5 or 3.0 GPA.

Find out the minimum requirement for your college and major to know what GPA is considered too low to be awarded your degree.

Learn more about What GPA Do You Need to Graduate College?Opens in a new tab.

What is an average GPA?

The average student GPA varies depending on the college and degree program. In general, the average college GPA is around 3.15.

This average was found in a studyOpens in a new tab. that looked at the GPA average of over 400 schools.

GPAs that are between 2.7-3.3 are often considered average.

Breakdown of GPAs

Let’s break down how good, bad, or average all the GPAs are.

GPA rangeGood or Bad?
Above 4.0Excellent—only possible if the school has a weighted GPA
4.0Excellent—summa cum laude
3.8-3.9Fantastic—magna cum laude
3.5-3.7Great—cum laude
3.3-3.5A good GPA
3.0-3.2Can be viewed as average or good
2.5-2.9Below average and may limit graduate school admissions
2.0-2.5Above the minimum requirement but generally not considered good
0.0-1.9Bad GPA—it is below the minimum GPA requirement of 2.0

Above 4.0 GPA

Anything above a 4.0 GPA on a 4.0 GPA scale is exceptional.

If your college uses a weighted GPA, an A+ may be worth more than a 4.0, such as a 4.3 or 4.5 GPA. Therefore, with a weighted GPA, you can get above a 4.0 GPA.

4.0 GPA

A 4.0 GPA is a perfect GPA—this means that the student got straight A’s and would be graduating summa cum laude.

3.9 GPA

A 3.9 GPA is a fantastic GPA and would mean that the student is graduating magna cum laude.

3.8 GPA

A 3.8 GPA is a wonderful GPA. Graduating with a 3.8 GPA means that the student is magna cum laude.

3.7 GPA

A 3.7 GPA is a great GPA. It means that the student would graduate cum laude.

3.6 GPA

A 3.6 GPA is a great GPA, and the student would graduate cum laude.

3.5 GPA

A GPA of 3.5 or above is considered a very good GPA. It means that the student would be graduating with honors.

3.4 GPA

A 3.4 is a good GPA. It is very close to being considered honors.

3.3 GPA

In general, a 3.3 is a good GPA in university. It shows a good work ethic and academic achievement.

However, it still shows room for improvement since it may be considered in the high-average range if it is a more competitive college, degree program, or person.

3.2 GPA

A 3.2 GPA can be viewed as average or good depending on the college, degree program, and individual expectations. It shows good academic performance and work ethic.

3.1 GPA

The average college GPA is 3.15, so a 3.1 is considered average or slightly below. It meets or exceeds minimum requirements.

3.0 GPA

A 3.0 GPA is viewed as average or satisfactory. It meets the standards for graduate schools. It is rare to be excluded for most things with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

2.9 GPA

A 2.9 GPA is average, but any GPA below 3.0 can limit graduate school admissions.

Students should also focus on developing their other skills and experience.

2.8 GPA

A 2.8 GPA is not generally considered a bad GPA. It is viewed as average or slightly lower than average.

2.7 GPA

A 2.7 GPA is often considered average, especially if the student does not want to go to graduate school. If they want to attend grad school, it is often viewed as a low GPA.

2.6 GPA

A 2.6 GPA could be considered bad or average, depending on the college, degree program, and individual expectations.

2.5 GPA

A 2.5 GPA is below average—how bad or good a 2.5 GPA in university is, depends on the college, major, and personal standards.

It can limit opportunities for scholarships, internships, or graduate school admissions.

2.4 GPA

A 2.4 GPA is below average. It is not a terrible GPA, but it shows the need for growth and improvement.

2.3 GPA

A 2.3 GPA is below most expectations for GPA. Students should work on raising their GPAs.

2.2. GPA

A 2.2 GPA is not a good GPA. It is below average and can limit scholarships, internships, or graduate school admissions.

2.1 GPA

A 2.1 GPA is below average and considered a bad GPA. Students should focus on raising their GPA and developing good study habits.

2.0 GPA

A 2.0 is a bad GPA. It is the lowest GPA a student can have and still graduate college. It means that the student earned mostly C grades.

Students with a 2.0 should focus on improving their GPA.

1.0 GPA

A 1.0 GPA means that you have earned mostly D grades. It is a GPA bad enough to have serious consequences since any GPA below 2.0 does not meet the minimum GPA requirements and would result in academic probation and being unable to graduate.

It is vital that you reflect on why you have such a low GPA, get help, and focus on improving your GPA.

0.0 GPA

A 0.0 GPA would mean you failed all your classes and have earned no credits. This would be a terrible GPA and result in academic probation or being kicked out of your school.

Failing all your classes would require more than just not doing well on assignments. It would be important to assess the underlying issues before registering for any more classes.

How important is GPA

GPA matters for:

  • college and graduate school admissions
  • academic standing and programs
  • financial aid and scholarships
  • internships

If your GPA is too low, you could be placed on academic probation or removed from your degree program. You can also lose your scholarships or financial aid.

Make sure you ask about the minimum GPA requirements for your college, degree, financial aid, and scholarships so that you know what GPA you must maintain above.

After college, GPA does not matter much unless you are applying to graduate school. While GPA may matter to some employers, many do not look or ask about GPA. Graduates can simply leave it off their resumes.

Learn more about what graduate admissions and the job search is like if you graduate with a bad GPAOpens in a new tab..

It is important to remember that GPA does not determine success. Try to do your best, but also keep some perspective and work on other important things such as experience, skills, recommendations, and other achievements.

You can improve your GPA by developing time management and study skills and getting help from professors, your TA, tutoring, or study groups.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts