The measurement of your academic success through your secondary schooling years can strongly affect your college application.

While most colleges use GPA to weed out applicants, a B GPA doesn’t mean you are not going to gain entrance to a top-rated higher education institution. However, a B average does put you below the average of college applicants. There are many ways to overcome a B GPA if the student deems it a negative.

What Is a B GPA?

A 3.0 GPA is considered firmly within the B range out of a possible 4.0 GPA total. A B average GPA can run from 2.5 to 3.4.

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The highest GPA that a student can get, and which most colleges will consider above average, is a 4.0. The 4.0 on a GPA conversion chart is an A+. A 3.5 on a GPA conversion chart is an A-. Advanced Placement courses, extra credits and other factors can bring a GPA above a 4.0, which is well above average.

GPA Conversion Chart

A combination of a few things determines a student's GPA. These include:

  • The course credits that the student completed.
  • The individual grades they received from tests and quizzes.
  • Homework, essays or other daily or weekly work required within the class.
  • The semester hours that they spent in class in total.

The unweighted GPA scale is typically the one that is most used by college admissions and by high schools to arrive at your GPA. The GPA scale does not reflect the difficulty of the courses or whether they were advanced or gifted classes, which do tend to carry more weight for a GPA.

Applying to College with a B GPA

Many colleges will admit a student with a B GPA, particularly if they have other interesting factors that admission’s officials consider to be preferable. These include:

  • Letters of recommendation from employers, instructors or other highly regarded individuals who can speak to the character, work ethic and study habits of a student.
  • High scores on standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT.
  • Community service or work completed within the field that they are planning to major in and therefore experience they bring to the college as an undergraduate.

How to Apply to College With a B GPA

If you have a GPA that is lower than what you need, then you can do a few things to look good to admission officials. For instance, if you had a higher GPA earlier in the school year or the previous year, explain in concise detail any extenuating circumstances that contributed to your low GPA.

Grades that show a significant drop within a short amount of time can show the admissions officials what you are capable of and also show your fortitude to persevere when times get tough. This personal approach on your application can significantly increase your chances of getting into your preferred school.

If you can, reach out to the admission advisor of the school you plan to attend with a personal note. This shows ambition and your level of passion to attend that particular school. Detail your strong points and let them know all you can offer as a student at their prestigious university.

Raising a Low GPA

If it is relatively early in the school year, or if you are planning on taking summer classes, you can retake courses that gave you a lower B GPA. Taking advanced placement classes can increase your GPA. They tend to have more weight than standard classes.

If your grades are currently low in a class, ask the instructor if you may complete any extra credit work to bring up your grade.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.