Colleges that Accept Low GPA - EducationConnection (2023)

Colleges today use many tools to get to know prospective students, one of which may be your GPA. Or, grade point average. What if you did not do as well as you hoped in high school and have a low GPA? There are colleges that might still accept you.

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Here are a few guidelines to understanding how colleges view the GPA. Plus a few helpful hints on how to add value to your application. Despite low GPA scores.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED A LOW GPA?

To know what a ‘low GPA’ is, you need to understand what the GPA is. Then put it into context of the colleges you want to apply to. Most colleges use a point scale of 4.0. So, a grade of A = 4 points, B = 3 points, C = 2 points, D= 1 point and F = zero points. The average of all the points for all the courses you took in high school is your GPA. According to the latest study by the NCES, GPAs have gone up over time. In their last study, they found the national average GPA was 3.0.

If your GPA is less than the national average, you might guess it is a low GPA. And when compared in this way, anything below 3.0 is low. But many colleges do not use the GPA to predict your readiness for college. These schools may not set a GPA you need to get in. Or, they may set their standards at 2.0 or 2.5. In this case, if you have a 2.75 GPA, while lower than others in the US, it may be high for that college.

CAN I GET INTO A GOOD COLLEGE WITH A LOW GPA?

Many colleges accept students with a low GPA if you use 3.0 as the metric. One reason is the preference for standard test scores. The SAT for example, or ACT. To that point, not every SAT test taker has a high GPA either. The College Board who runs the SAT found that in 2019, almost half of test takers had grades between B through F.

That breaks down as 31% were B students (80 – 89), 10% were C students (70 – 79) and 2% had grades below 70. So, either a D, E, or F. There are also colleges with open admissions policies. Community and vocational schools, for example. These schools might accept anyone with a high school diploma or GED.

A range of colleges also set their lowest acceptable GPA well below the national norm. This can be 2.0 or from 2.5 to 3.0 and varies from one college to the next. If your GPA and SAT or ACT scores are lower, do not give up. But, you might have to make sure you stand out in other ways.

HOW TO GET INTO COLLEGE WITH A LOW GPA?

There are a few ways to improve your odds at getting into college, low GPA and all. Here are 5 tips to put into use when you apply.

1. HIGHLIGHT YOUR STRENGTHS

Your GPA may not impress. But your other qualities might make you an ideal option for the colleges on your list.
Both undergrad and graduate schools often look at an applicant from all sides. Things like community service, a part time job, and volunteer work all count.

For example, you won an award or take part in activities outside school. Or have a military background that kept you moving from place to place. Many colleges that accept low GPAs consider life experience instead.

2. HOLISTIC ADMISSIONS

Many colleges do set a GPA standard, but also give options to get around a low one. These schools tend to look at your application (and you) as a package deal. This means they may weigh other things which can help you make up for poor grades. Like your essay, goals, work experience, references and SAT / ACT scores.

Any of these are a perfect opportunity to add depth to your application. And, may help you select schools that strive to see you as a complete person instead of as a sum of your GPA.

3. WRITE A GREAT PERSONAL STATEMENT OR ESSAY

Many colleges want to know who is behind the GPA. As the GPA is a static number, your essay or personal statement can bring it to life. Colleges tend to include specific details to format these things. Desired word count, for instance, or AP style. It is a good idea to stick to their structure as it shows you can read and follow directions. But, you can be creative, positive and even emotional. Describe what you learned and what direction you hope your career will take.

If the reason you got a low GPA taught you something, it might be appropriate to fit it in too. It may point to your strengths and how you’ve matured as a person. Show this side of yourself to the admissions team. Be clear, focused, use spell check and highlight your writing skills.

4. HIGH QUALITY REFERENCES OR LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION

Many experts agree that high quality references help an application shine. Even if your grades do not. Your letters of recommendation can show attributes. Qualities that the school might miss by looking only at your GPA. References from teachers who watched your progress for example. They might note your poor grades as a freshman and sophomore. Plus, they can describe your effort to improve your GPA as junior or senior. This points to your discipline and commitment.

Employers also make great references as they can point to your work ethic. How you perform in a business setting is also a sign of reliability. If you take any lessons (E.g. piano, karate) also ask coaches, mentors and teachers to write letters. These references can show how you apply feedback and training.

5. SOME SCHOOLS OFFER CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE

Some colleges that accept low GPA students offer them conditional acceptance. This means you don’t have a strong enough grades for full acceptance. But they admit you anyway. This type of acceptance tends to come with a few rules you need to abide by. For one, as a student, you must keep up a specific GPA. Or, take a certain number of credits per semester.

Other times, you may need to take basic courses before you enter the program. Then if you meet these conditions, after a certain period of time, many colleges remove them. Take away? If there are colleges you want to apply to, check if they offer conditional acceptance. See what they would want you to do, and think about if you could do it.

Colleges that Accept Low GPA - EducationConnection (1)

SCHOOLS WITH LOW GPA REQUIREMENTS

A low high school GPA does not have to prevent you from getting into college or grad school. To help you find colleges that accept low GPAs, You may want to check out our list of open admissions colleges. We compiled a list using data from the NCES and College Scorecard. Education Connection does work with some of the schools on this list.

Colleges that accept 1.0 GPA

If you have a very low GPA, these schools with high acceptance rates / open admissions may consider you.

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1

Western Governors

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Admission Requirements:

  • Have earned a high school diploma or GED
  • Submit official transcripts of all prior grades completed at community colleges or other colleges you’ve gone to.
  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Meet any program specific requirements
  • Admission Rate: Open Admission
  • Grad Rate: 70%
  • Average Annual Cost: $13,870

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Health and Wellness
  • Health Administration
  • Registered Nursing
  • Criminal Justice
  • Accounting
  • Human Services

2

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Martinsburg College

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Admission Requirements:

  • High school diploma or earned a GED.
  • Complete an admissions interview
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 84%
  • Average Annual Cost: $14,680

Popular Programs

  • Health Administration
  • Medical Assisting
  • Business
  • Homeland Security
  • Accounting

3

Midwest Institute

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Admission Requirements:

  • High school or GED considered but not required
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 90%
  • Average Annual Cost: $22,126

Popular Programs

  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assisting
  • Massage Therapy
  • HVAC

4

Montana State University – Northern

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Admission Requirements:

  • High school or GED considered but not required
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 37%
  • Average Annual Cost: $12,898

Popular Programs

  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Registered Nursing
  • Business Admin
  • Criminal Justice

5

Elizabethtown College School of Continuing and Professional Studies

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Admission Requirements:

  • Minimum of three years of full ime work experience.
  • High school diploma or GED.
  • Have writing ability good enough for success in an accelerated academic program.
  • Have the time to devote to your course work.
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 37%
  • Average Annual Cost: $12,898

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Accounting
  • Human Services
  • Information Science
  • Communication and Media Studies

Colleges that accept 2.0 GPA

Here is a list of colleges that accept a low 2.0 GPA. Some of them may accept you with conditions. While others may set the bar at a GPA of 2.0 to 2.25.

1

Albany State University

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 High School GPA
  • SAT: combined 830 or Critical Reading – 24, Math: 22. Writing is not a factor.
  • ACT Scores: English – 17 & Math – 17
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 29%
  • Average Annual Cost: $11,590

Popular Programs

  • Liberal Arts
  • RN
  • Criminal Justice
  • Business
  • Education

2

Dallas Nursing Institute

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Complete application form
  • Non refundable application fee
  • Official transcript of all high school credits, or, GED as well as any college attended
  • Be at least 17 years of age (in accordance with Texas laws, if under 18, a parent or legal guardian signature is required prior to enrollment)
  • Admission Rate: 11%
  • Grad Rate: 59%
  • Average Annual Cost: $21,319

Popular Programs

  • Registered Nursing

3

Family of Faith Christian University

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Applicants for a four year program must take the ACT or SAT and have a minimum composite score of 20 for the ACT and 720 for the SAT.
  • Admission Rate: 80%
  • Grad Rate: 38%
  • Average Annual Cost: $11,548

4

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Fort Hays State University

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • ACT composite score of 21 or above OR SAT score 980 or above for tests taken before March 2016 or SAT score 1080 or above for tests taken March 2016 or after
  • Admission Rate: 89%
  • Grad Rate: 63%
  • Average Annual Cost: $12,376

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Liberal Arts
  • Education
  • Nursing
  • Psychology

5

Gwynedd Mercy University

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Complete theonline Admissions application
  • SubmitSAT or ACT Scores
  • Submit an official transcript from each of the high schools, colleges you have attended
  • Admission Rate: 94%
  • Grad Rate: 54%
  • Average Annual Cost: $23,564

Popular Programs

  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology

6

Lewis – Clark State College

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Fill out application.
  • Send a copy of your passport.
  • Sendofficialschool records from each of the high schools and colleges,you have attended
  • Admission Rate: 100%
  • Grad Rate: 39%
  • Average Annual Cost: $11,152

Popular Programs

  • Liberal Arts
  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Education

7

Medaille College

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Application for admission
  • Proof of high school graduation or GED certificate
  • Submission of official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • An applicant with deficiencies in some of these areas may be offered admission with appropriate evidence supporting the student’s ability to succeed
  • Admission Rate: 75%
  • Grad Rate: 37%
  • Average Annual Cost: $11,664

Popular Programs

  • Medical Assisting
  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice

8

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Application for admission
  • Proof of high school diploma or GED certificate
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended
  • An applicant with poor grades may be offered admission with appropriate evidence supporting the student’s ability to succeed
  • Admission Rate: 51%
  • Grad Rate: 77%
  • Average Annual Cost: $15,024

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Textile Sciences
  • Biology
  • Communication and Media Studies
  • Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering

9

Texas A & M International University

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Complete Application for Admission.
  • Official High School Transcriptshowing rank in class or official GED passing scores.
  • Official college transcripts sent directly from each ichool attended. If any college credit has been earned. A minimum overall grade point average of 2.00 is required.
  • Admission Rate: 50%
  • Grad Rate: 50%
  • Average Annual Cost: $4,884

Popular Programs

  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology
  • Business
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Nursing

10

University of Houston – Clear Lake

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Submit Application
  • Send Transcripts
  • Send your SAT and ACT scores
  • Admission Rate: 72%
  • Grad Rate: 73%
  • Average Annual Cost: $13,055

Popular Programs

  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Psychology
  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Health and Physical Education

11

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University of Maine

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Essay
  • Final high school transcript or HISET or GED
  • SAT or ACT Test Scores
  • Admission Rate: 92%
  • Grad Rate: 59%
  • Average Annual Cost: $17,074

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Finance

12

University of Maine at Fort Kent

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • Completed application form
  • School Counselor (or teacher) letter of recommendation (If you are a current high school graduate)
  • Official high school transcripts or official GED score report
  • Official college transcripts (if you completed any college work)
  • Admission Rate: 97%
  • Grad Rate: 54%
  • Average Annual Cost: $12,228

Popular Programs

  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forestry
  • Social Sciences

13

West Texas A & M University

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Admission Requirements:

  • 2.0 GPA
  • One of the following Class Rank & ACT / SAT Score combos:
    Top 25% with no minimum ACT/SAT score
    26%-50% with 18 ACT or 960 SAT
    51%-75% with 21 ACT or 1060
    SAT 76%-100% with 23 ACT or 1130 SAT
  • Students may also be admitted solely on test scores* if they achieve the following scores:
    Official SAT Scores: at least 480 for EBRW and 530 for Math
    Official ACT scores: at least 18 English, 22 Reading, 22 Mathematics and 23 Science
  • Admission Rate: 61%
  • Grad Rate: 50%
  • Average Annual Cost: $14,916

Popular Programs

  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forestry
  • Social Sciences

Colleges that accept 2.5 GPA

These seven colleges may accept low 2.5 GPAs

1

ECPI University

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Admission Requirements:

  • Students must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a four point scale.
  • Transfers are accepted by ECPI University into a specific program that aligns with the VCCS’s associate’s degree program.
  • Admission Rate: 71%
  • Grad Rate: 52%
  • Average Annual Cost: $20,327

Popular Programs

  • Medical Assisting
  • Nursing Assistant
  • Nursing
  • Information Technology
  • Culinary Arts

2

Embry – Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide

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Admission Requirements:

Applicants age 20 and older who are not classified as a transfer student or have not served in the US military must provide the following:

  • Official high school transcript or equivalent (GED®, HiSET® or TASC®) with a 2.5 unweighted GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Official transcripts from all colleges attended, with a minimum of a 2.0 CGPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Resume
  • Admission Rate: 63%
  • Grad Rate: 33%
  • Average Annual Cost: $19,648

Popular Programs

  • Air Transportation
  • Business Administration
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Homeland Security

3

Endicott College

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Admission Requirements:

  • Review by an Admission Committee
  • a GPA of at least 2.5
  • Admission Rate: 81%
  • Grad Rate: 72%
  • Average Annual Cost: $34,571

Popular Programs

  • Nursing
  • Business
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Hospitality
  • Education

4

Grace Christian University

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Admission Requirements:

  • Holistic Admission Process
  • 20 ACT OR 940 SAT
  • 2.5 GPA
  • Admission Rate: 81%
  • Grad Rate: 72%
  • Average Annual Cost: $34,571

Popular Programs

  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Human Services
  • Business
  • Bible Studies
  • Music
(Video) LOW GPA & NO MONEY? HOW TO GET INTO COLLEGE

5

University of Southern Indiana

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Admission Requirements:

  • GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Students age 24+ must have had a 2.0 cumulative high school GPA
  • Composite SAT score of a 900 OR Composite ACT score of a 17
  • Students age 21+ are not required to submit an SAT or ACT score
  • Admission Rate: 94%
  • Grad Rate: 44%
  • Average Annual Cost: $13,319

Popular Programs

  • Nursing
  • Health Administration
  • Business
  • Education
  • Health and Physical Education

6

Southern New Hampshire University

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Admission Requirements:

  • Completed Application
  • Transcript Release
  • Electronic Attestation Form, stating that you’ve graduated from high school or received your GED
  • Admission Rate: 78%
  • Grad Rate: 69%
  • Average Annual Cost: $40,617

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Liberal Arts
  • Nursing
  • Accounting

Colleges that accept 3.0 GPA

Here are some examples of colleges that accept students with a 3.0 GPA and above.

1

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

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Admission Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA
  • Completed college prep curriculum in high school
  • Average test score: SAT: 1050-1090; ACT: 23 (Nursing: 1180 SAT, 24 ACT)
  • Top 30% of graduating class
  • Active in high school, community, and leadership activities
  • Admission Rate: 73%
  • Grad Rate: 64%
  • Average Annual Cost: $18,796

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Public Relations
  • Nursing
  • Psychology

2

Lamar University

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Admission Requirements:

  • 3.5 GPA
  • Top 25% of class
  • SAT Scores: Critical Reading: 480 – 580, Math: 470 – 560
  • ACT: 18 – 23
  • Admission Rate: 82%
  • Grad Rate: 39%
  • Average Annual Cost: $12,941

Popular Programs

  • Nursing
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communication

3

Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America

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Admission Requirements:

  • 3.5 GPA
  • Top 25% of class
  • SAT Scores: Critical Reading: 480 – 580, Math: 470 – 560
  • ACT: 18 – 23
  • Admission Rate: 82%
  • Grad Rate: 39%
  • Average Annual Cost: $12,941

Popular Programs

  • Nursing
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Liberal Arts
  • Criminal Justice
  • Communication

4

The College of Westchester

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Admission Requirements:

  • 3.0 GPA
  • Completed college prep curriculum in high school
  • Acceptance Rate: 98%
  • Grad Rate: 44%
  • Average Annual Cost: $17,237

Popular Programs

  • Business
  • Medical Assisting
  • Health and Medical Administration
  • Information Technology

5

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

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Admission Requirements:

(Video) LOW GPA SCHOLARSHIPS (Apply to these if you have a low GPA) ALL CURRENTLY OPEN

  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 for transfer student
  • Completed, or in progress, 26 or more post-secondary credits.
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Grad Rate: 79%
  • Average Annual Cost: $17,396

Popular Programs

  • Psychology
  • Economic
  • Computer Science
  • Biology
  • Journalism

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