Is 3.6 GPA Good For Grad School

Last Updated on December 22, 2022

Is a 3.6 GPA good enough to get into grad school? This is a question that is often asked, one that always demands for an answer. There are many things involved in determining your eligibility for grad school. Applications, test scores, recommendations, and so much more. But one of the most important parts is typically how well you did in school in college.

Getting into grad school is a major accomplishment, but what happens next? Getting a 3.6 GPA to master’s programs may not be enough. If you want to stand out from the crowd and get into your top choice graduate program, you’ll need to ask yourself: is 3.6 GPA good for grad school? For this, we have prepared a list of key questions and their answers so that you can be sure to submit all the pieces of information that matter:

Grad school requires a good deal of work. To start things off, you have to fulfill certain requirements before being accepted into the program. Having a GPA above 3.6 in college is one of these requirements. Although this may seem like an attainable goal for many students, it’s not always easy to maintain this GPA, especially if you’re juggling other responsibilities in your daily life. infolearners serves you all the reliable information you need and more.

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Going to grad school is a big deal. It’s an investment of both time and money, so you want to make sure that the program you’re applying to is a good fit for you, and vice versa.

While there are a number of factors that can influence your admission into a grad school program, one major factor is definitely your GPA.

So, what exactly does it mean if you have a 3.6 GPA? Is it good enough for grad school? What do graduate schools think about a 3.6 GPA?

The answers will depend on the program that you plan on applying to. Generally speaking, though, a 3.6 GPA is higher than the average GPA at most US colleges (3.0-3.5), and is also high enough to be considered above average in graduate school admissions criteria (which usually asks for GPAs ranging from 2.5-3.5).

In other words, having a 3.6 GPA in college would generally place you in the top 25% of students at your school, assuming an unweighted scale (most schools use unweighted scales for calculating GPAs for undergraduate programs).

Is 3.6 GPA Good For Grad School

According to the Council of Graduate Schools’ Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, there were a total of 2.2 million graduate school applications submitted to colleges and universities around the country for the 2016 academic year. With that many applicants competing for spots, students may be concerned about how well they fare against the competition if they don’t have high grade point averages (GPAs). However, a low GPA does not have to keep students from getting into graduate schools. In this guide, we provide information on how students can still be accepted into an advanced degree programs despite having a low GPAs, as well as what other criteria schools consider when evaluating hopeful students.

Why Your GPA Matters

A GPA of 3.6 is considered good for most grad schools, although depending on the program you are applying to it may or may not be competitive. Because some programs are more competitive than others, it’s important to research the average GPA of accepted students to see where you stand.

Although grade point average is not the only thing that makes a prospective student a good candidate for a grad school program, it is an important factor — but how much of a factor depends on what schools students are interested in attending. For more competitive programs, a 3.0 or even higher may be the minimum GPA accepted, but in other cases, schools are more flexible and will admit students with a minimum 2.5, or they may have no GPA cutoff at all.

The reason schools consider GPA is because it can be an indicator of how serious students are about attending graduate school, as well as a predictor of how well they will perform when they get there. However, the minimum grade point average that schools require can be based on a few factors, including the field a student is pursuing and whether he or she is seeking a master’s or doctoral degree.

For the sake of this article, let’s assume that you have a 3.6 GPA and want to go to graduate school.

A 3.6 GPA is a good GPA, but it’s not necessarily enough for grad school. In fact, you might have a hard time getting into graduate school at all if your GPA is on the low side. That’s because most graduate programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0, and unless you’re applying for an alternative program that accepts lower GPAs (like one of these), the admissions committee may reject your application because yours is too low.

You should also be aware that many graduate schools will only accept students who have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 or higher on all college courses taken during their undergraduate years, including those taken prior to entering graduate school (if applicable). This means that even if you did well in high school with good grades and SAT/ACT scores, but then struggled academically during college due to personal reasons such as illness or family problems, your chances may be limited when applying to grad schools based solely on GPA alone—even if they were above average while attending high school before college years began!

7 Other Factors That Help With Grad School Acceptance

Although GPA is an important factor that grad schools look at when evaluating prospective students, it’s not the only one programs consider. The following are some other factors that graduate schools will use when evaluating students.

1. Personal Statement

Just as with undergraduate school applications, personal statements can help students bolster their grad school applications by allowing admissions committees to get to know them better, which is especially important since a low GPA may cause a school to have reservations about a candidate. Students should use their personal statements not only to show off their writing abilities, but also to discuss why they’re interested in these particular schools and programs, what they bring to the table that will help the departments to which they’re applying and how completing the degree will contribute to their career goals.

2. GRE Scores

Whether or not students are required to take the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) depends on their specific programs of interest. Although GRE scores are optional for admission to some schools, students with low GPAs can mitigate them by performing well on the test. This can also demonstrate to schools that students are serious about getting their graduate degrees, despite their undergraduate grades.

3. Letters of Recommendation

Students who want to go to grad school should make an effort to build rapport with some of their undergraduate professors, so they have people who know them well who can vouch for them when they apply to advanced degree programs. As a result of these relationships, professors can write recommendations that provide insights about students that grades alone cannot.

“Letters of recommendation are similar to references for employment,” said Dana Bearer, associate director of transfer, adult, and graduate admissions at Clarion University. “Graduate programs review these letters to gain a better understanding of the total student.”

4. Resume

A strong resume with industry-relevant experience can help students stand out in a sea of applicants, despite having low grades. Any experience gained through internships, jobs, extracurricular activities or research projects is a great way for students to demonstrate their skills and interests in their fields.

5. Student Goals

When applying to graduate schools, students should be clear about their career goals and what they can get out of a graduate program. Schools want to admit students who will benefit from earning their degrees, so prospective students should make sure their goals are congruent with the educational opportunities that the programs they apply to are offering.

6. Admissions Interview

Meeting faculty members in a program is another great way for students to boost their grad school applications as well as get the information they need to choose the right schools. Students can use the interview as another opportunity to explain why they want to attend specific programs and what their aspirations are, as well as provide information about why their GPAs are low.

7. Tryout Performance

While students may not initially be admitted into graduate programs because of their grade point averages, they may get the opportunity to take classes on a provisional basis for a chance to gain full admission.

“At Missouri State, we have a method for individuals who do not meet our undergrad GPA minimum standards to enroll as non-degree-seeking graduate students and ‘try out’ up to nine credit hours of graduate classes to see if they can earn decent grades — and, if so, they can usually use nine hours of graduate coursework with a 3.0 or higher GPAs as a substitute for their undergraduate GPAs,” says Douglas Gouzie, graduate program director for the Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning at Missouri State University.

What Is Considered A Low GPA For Grad School

According to the Council of Graduate Schools’ Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees, there were a total of 2.2 million graduate school applications submitted to colleges and universities around the country for the 2016 academic year. With that many applicants competing for spots, students may be concerned about how well they fare against the competition if they don’t have high grade point averages (GPAs). However, a low GPA does not have to keep students from getting into graduate schools. In this guide, we provide information on how students can still be accepted into an advanced degree programs despite having a low GPAs, as well as what other criteria schools consider when evaluating hopeful students.

How to get into grad school with a low undergraduate GPA

3.6 GPA Grad School

Grades are an important factor in the admissions process because they offer colleges insight into your academic capabilities and potential. However, because academic standards can vary significantly from school to school, GPA isn’t an objective measure. Moreover, admissions committees look at many different components of your profile when evaluating your candidacy.

Equivalent to a low A-, a 3.6-grade point average is certainly a competitive number. However, many students who apply to the most selective schools have even higher GPAs on a 4.0 scale, so it’s important to understand your chances of admission to top colleges.

Which Factors Impact College Acceptance

College admissions decisions depend on numerous factors, including the rigor of your course curriculum (whether you’re taking the most challenging courses, including honors and AP classes and exams, that your high school offers), your SAT or ACT scores, extracurriculars, essays, and other information.

Many elite colleges, with the exception of some large public universities, perform a holistic review of candidates. This means that they go beyond the empirical data, like your GPA and test scores, to factor in personal qualities such as intellectual curiosity and leadership, as evidenced in other components of your application including your essays and interview.

That’s not to say your GPA doesn’t matter; in fact, it’s one of the most important indicators of your academic performance. Still, you should make sure your application adequately reflects your achievements across multiple areas, such as extracurriculars, in addition to a strong GPA.

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Why Does GPA Matter

Your GPA is an indicator of your academic performance and can show admissions committees whether you’re up to the task of taking on a rigorous college curriculum. While your performance in high school won’t necessarily reflect your performance in college, it’s important information for admissions committees to consider, since they can’t accept everyone who applies.

You should bear in mind that colleges know that no two high schools measure performance identically, and a 3.6 at one school could be equivalent to a 4.0 at another. It’s more important to admissions committees that you’re taking the most challenging curriculum available to you and are performing well against your peers. That’s why they also look at measures such as class rank and test scores, among other indicators like extracurriculars.

Top Colleges With An Average Freshman GPA of 3.6

So, which colleges admit students with a GPA of 3.6? Many top-tier institutions do, but these are among the best in which the incoming freshman class had an average 3.6 GPA in high school.

School nameTypeStateRegion
American UniversityPrivateDistrict of ColumbiaMid East
Boston UniversityPrivateMassachusettsNew England
Clarkson UniversityPrivateNew YorkMid East
Drexel UniversityPrivatePennsylvaniaMid East
Fordham UniversityPrivateNew YorkMid East
New Jersey Institute of TechnologyPublicNew JerseyMid East
New York UniversityPrivateNew YorkMid East
Oberlin CollegePrivateOhioGreat Lakes
Pepperdine UniversityPrivateCaliforniaFar West
Southern Methodist UniversityPrivateTexasSouthwest
Temple UniversityPublicPennsylvaniaMid East
University at BuffaloPublicNew YorkMid East
University of IowaPublicIowaPlains
University of OregonPublicOregonFar West
University of San FranciscoPrivateCaliforniaFar West

Steps To Increase Your GPA

Looking to improve your chances of gaining admission into a competitive college or university? Raising your GPA can be one of your best bets. Here are some steps to try:

1. Account for weighting

A weighted GPA takes into account the rigor of your curriculum, adding additional points for honors, AP, and IB courses. An unweighted GPA strictly reflects your grades, not how challenging your courses are. It’s important to recognize that many colleges will unweight GPAs when recalculating them according to their formula. Still, admissions counselors appreciate when students challenge themselves with a demanding course load and will factor this into admissions decisions.

2. Play to your strengths

If you’re struggling in a challenging course or courses outside of your specialization, consider focusing on taking honors and APs in your better subjects rather than trying to overdo it in weaker ones. For instance, if you’re strong in the humanities but weaker in math, take APs in English and history, rather than calculus. That way, you’ll still be showing colleges that you challenge yourself without having to sacrifice your GPA for a course outside of your area of interest and expertise.

3. Engage a tutor or mentor

A tutor or mentor can help you find ways to tackle weak areas and improve your approach to assignments and tests. Tutors could be peers who have recently completed a course, or paid professionals. Whether it’s a friend or a teacher, a tutor can help break down concepts in ways that make the most sense to you in a one-on-one setting.

Campus Reform | TA tweets about giving white students 'a runnnnn for their  grade'

What if you don’t have time to increase GPA

If you’re an upperclassman who simply doesn’t have the time to improve your GPA, it’s not the end of the world. Here are some alternative strategies for strengthening your profile to consider.

1. Don’t panic

A 3.6 GPA is nothing to frown at. As noted above, there are plenty of excellent colleges and universities whose incoming freshman class achieved an average GPA of 3.6. It’s also not out of the question that you could be accepted to an Ivy or another top-tier college with this GPA.

It’s important to remember that many highly successful professionals peak well after high school. While you should always strive to do your best, your performance in high school won’t dictate the rest of your life. Whether you end up at your first-, second-, or third-choice college, it’s ultimately up to you to make the most of your college experience by taking advantage of academic and extracurricular opportunities, actively searching for internships, using your school’s resources, and more.

2. Retake standardized tests

Your GPA is not the only component of your academic profile that colleges will consider. Standardized test scores are also very important, and they can often be easier to improve than your GPA. After all, your GPA accounts for several years of courses. When it comes to evaluating standardized test scores, many colleges will only look at your highest SAT or ACT scores, so taking the test more than once could work in your favor.

Be sure to work on strategies to improve your scores in between sittings, because your score won’t go up on its own; you need to be making active changes to improve it.

3. Concentrate on your extracurriculars.

Even if you’re not an academic superstar, chances are you have talents in other areas. Focus on building up your extracurricular profile to highlight these strengths, demonstrating leadership and initiative in school clubs and outside activities. For instance, perhaps you’re an actor and take on leadership roles in your school’s drama club, and seek out performance opportunities or internships at a local theater. Wherever your talents lie, show colleges that you excel outside of the classroom.

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Grading systems and GPA scores

There are many grading systems out there, using different scales, letters, numbers, and so on. Here are a few common ways grades are measured throughout the world:

  • A-F: in the US, Canada, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, etc.
  • 1-10: in the Netherlands, Colombia, Latvia, Israel, etc.
  • 1-5: in Germany, Austria, Russia, Slovakia, Paraguay, etc.
  • Percentage: in Kuwait, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, etc.

There are other common methods used by universities to evaluate and rank students. Yet, in order to make these grades translatable – that is, readable to other countries and universities – they will often use an average score system.

In Europe, for example, universities can use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) to help convert grades easily. This system makes education more transparent and allows students to have their academic grades recognised in different European countries.

People studying inside the Mid-Manhattan Library in New York

How to calculate a GPA?

Each grade you receive, whether it’s in the numerical system, letter-grade system, or percentage system, corresponds to a quality point. A quality point is almost always on a 4.0 scale between 0 and 4 (or a multiple of 4). The highest grade you can get (A, 10, 5, 100%, and so on) will equal the highest number on that scale.

For example, in the US, an A is the highest grade you can receive in your classes. Depending on which school you attend, A is either equal to 4, or is equal to a multiple of 4 (e.g. 8 or 16). After you take a few classes, these points are added up and divided by the total amount of credits of all the courses you took. The number you get is your Grade Point Average. 

Let’s use an example to make things clear. We’ll suppose you took 3 courses: Biology (2 credits), Mathematics (2 credits) and English (3 credits). Your grades for these courses are:

  • Biology – C (C is 2.0 on the GPA scale)
  • Mathematics – B (B is 3.0 on the GPA scale)
  • English – A (A is 4.0 on the GPA scale)

If we multiply the grades you took by the number of credits for each course, we see you have 4 grade points for Biology, 6 for Mathematics, and 12 for English. In total, 22 grade points. To calculate your average GPA, we divide this number of grade points by the total number of credits of the courses you took (2+2+3=7). This is how we find out your GPA is 3.14.

Unweighted vs weighted GPA

How to calculate an unweighted GPA? See the example above. GPAs are normally calculated on an unweighted scale, from 0 to 4.0. This means the difficulty of your courses will not be considered. Whether you take an A in an easy class or a more challenging one, it will always be a 4.0.

Weighted GPAs are a more accurate evaluation of your academic efforts. They also use a different scale, from 0 to 5.0. If you want to know how to calculate weighted GPAs, you must know that they take into account the difficulty of your courses. For example, an A in an easier class will be graded as a 4.0, while an A in a more demanding course will be marked as a 5.0.

Cumulative GPA vs overall GPA

To understand the differences between cumulative GPA and overall GPA, you must first know that they both refer to the average grades of a student. The difference is that the cumulative GPA covers shorter periods, like a term or a semester.

The overall GPA refers to the average grades obtained by a student throughout his entire academic experience. This means the overall GPA includes grades from all terms and semesters.

Good online Masters that fit your GPA 

You can find a lot of good universities offering online Masters that accept a wide range of GPAs. Here are a few academic institutions you can check out:

  • Walden University
  • Arden University
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • RMIT University
  • Royal Roads University
  • The University of Law
  • London School of Business and Finance

Your GPA is merely a number

Employers and universities know this fact. So, when you’re applying for a school or searching for a job, you will not only be required to submit your GPA. You will also submit resumes, CVs, recommendations, writing samples, and test scores – other ways of showing and outlining your achievements and abilities as a student.

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