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29 Great Colleges for B Students and How to Get In

Posted by Justin Berkman | Jun 4, 2016 9:00:00 AM

College Info

 

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Generally, the better your grades, the more college options you'll have. However, some students are under the false impression that you need to get straight A's to get into a wonderful college. Students stress and worry that a few B's will sentence them to an inferior university.

Fortunately, you don't have to worry that getting B's will prevent you from going to a good school. There are a number of excellent colleges that admit B students. In this article, I'll provide a list of 29 of the best colleges for B students. Furthermore, I'll let you know how to find a good college for you if you're a B student.

 

Are You a B Student? You Can Still Go to a Great College

If you’re at the end of your junior year or the beginning of your senior year, and you have mostly B’s on your transcript, you can still get admitted to an excellent college.

However, most likely, very selective colleges will be a big reach for you, and you may want to set your sights on good schools that are significantly less selective. For example, Stanford only admits around 6% of its applicants and its average admitted student has a high school GPA of 4.18. The University of Michigan has an acceptance rate of 33%, and its average admitted student has a GPA of 3.82.

In terms of rankings, you may have trouble getting into schools that are in the top 50 of US News or Forbes rankings as a B student, but you may have a decent chance of getting into a school in the top 100. Considering there are almost 3,000 four-year colleges, the #100 college is still better than over 99% of colleges in the country.

For example, according to the PrepScholar admissions calculator, a student with a 3.2 GPA and a 29 ACT composite score has a 56% chance of getting into Indiana University Bloomington. Indiana University is the #75 ranked National University in US News.

 

How Much Do Your Grades Matter for College Applications?

It should go without saying that your grades are a huge factor in determining your college options. In fact, your grades are probably the most important factor that colleges use when they determine whether or not to admit you. While you can get into a great college as a B student, if you still have time before you submit your college applications, I recommend focusing on trying to improve your grades.

 

Not All B Students Are Created Equal

Colleges take many factors into account when determining admissions, including your grades, classes you’ve taken, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, recommendations, and your personal essay.

All else being equal, a student who got all B’s in regular classes is going to be a much less qualified applicant than a student who got all B+’s in mostly honors and AP classes. Generally, this is reflected in your weighted GPA. Most colleges use and report a weighted GPA. In my hypothetical example, the student with straight B’s received a 3.0, and the student who got straight B+’s, assuming she took four honors classes out of 6 total classes, got a 3.97 GPA.

Additionally, you can compensate for lower grades by excelling in other areas. For example, if you have a weighted GPA of 3.4 and a composite score of 33 on the ACT, you’ll probably be able to get into much more selective schools than a comparable student who has the same GPA and got a 27 on the ACT.

Furthermore, if you exhibit exceptional achievement in your extracurricular activities, you can make up for lower grades. If you're an Olympic-level athlete or a successful entrepreneur, you may even be able to get into the most selective colleges if you're a B student.

Therefore, if you’re a B student, but you want to get into highly selective colleges, you should focus on ensuring that all the other components of your college applications are as strong as possible.

 

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If you go to the Olympics, you can get into a good school with lower grades.

 

How Did I Create This List?

I compiled my list of great schools for B students by looking at various ranking lists, including US News, Forbes, and Niche. I gave extra weight to the US News rankings because they’re the most referenced and prestigious of the college rankings.

I considered a college a “school for B students” if its average GPA for admitted students was less than a 3.75. If you have a weighted GPA of 3.3-3.8, all of the schools on the list could be reach, target, or even safety schools for you.

If your weighted GPA is less than a 3.3, you may also want to take a look at the best colleges for students with a low GPA.

By no means does my list consist of all of the great colleges for B students. I tried to come up with a diverse list that included colleges from all regions and all different types of schools. There are large public universities on the list and small liberal arts colleges.

 

Great Colleges for B Students

Here’s my list of great colleges for B students. I categorized the schools by region: West, Midwest, Northeast, and South. For each school, I listed its location, US News ranking, average GPA, average SAT score, average ACT score, and acceptance rate. The average SAT scores are from the old test, which was out of 2400.

Keep in mind that US News separates schools into four categories in its rankings: National Universities, National Liberal Arts Colleges, Regional Universities, and Regional Colleges. Most of the schools are National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges, and no Regional Colleges made the list.

The average GPA for the colleges ranges from 3.37 (Providence College) to 3.75 (Creighton University). The average SAT scores range from 1638 (San Diego State) to 1870 (Fordham and Sewanee), and the average ACT scores range from 24 to 28. The acceptance rates range from 37% (San Diego State and Pepperdine) to 88% (University of Colorado-Boulder).

 

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For all regions, the listed US News ranking is for National Universities unless otherwise noted.

 

West

School

Location

US News Ranking

Average GPA

Average SAT

Average ACT

Acceptance Rate

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA

#3 Regional Universities (West)

3.72

1793

27

54%

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA

#52

3.59

1853

28

37%

San Diego State University

San Diego, CA

#149

3.6

1638

24

37%

University of Colorado, Boulder

Boulder, CO

#89

3.56

1172 (out of 1600)

26

88%

University of Oregon

Eugene, OR

#103

3.6

1664

24

74%

University of the Pacific

Stockton, CA

#108

3.47

1745

26

73%

University of Utah

Salt Lake City, UT

#115

3.55

1676

24

82%

 

 

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Pepperdine is pretty. Image Source: CampusGrotto/Flickr

 

Midwest

School

Location

US News Ranking

Average GPA

Average SAT

Average ACT

Acceptance Rate

Beloit College

Beloit, WI

#61 National Liberal Arts Colleges

3.43

1220 (out of 1600)

27

69%

Creighton University

Omaha, NE

#1 Regional Universities (Midwest)

3.75

1754

27

77%

College of Wooster

Wooster, OH

#61 National Liberal Arts Colleges

3.66

1823

27

56%

Indiana University-Bloomington

Bloomington, IN

#75

3.62

1740

27

72%

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI

#75

3.62

1650

26

69%

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

#61

3.7

1773

27

60%

University of Iowa

Iowa City, IA

#82

3.61

1695

26

80%

Wabash College

Crawfordsville, IN

#61 National Liberal Arts Colleges

3.67

1681

25

70%

 

 

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College of Wooster Kauke Hall Image Source: Maitri/Flickr

 

Northeast

School

Location

US News Ranking

Average GPA

Average SAT

Average ACT

Acceptance Rate

Clark University

Worcester, MA

#75

3.588

1833

28

70%

Fordham University

Bronx, NY

#66

3.58

1870

28

43%

Providence College

Providence, RI

#2 Regional Universities (North)

3.37

1732

25

60%

Rutgers University

New Brunswick, NJ

#72

3.63

1808

30

60%

St. Lawrence University

Canton, NY

#60 National Liberal Arts Colleges

3.49

1810

27

46%

Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY

#61

3.6

1730

26

49%

University of Delaware

Newark, DE

#75

3.5

1784

26

63%

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Amherst, MA

#75

3.73

1208 (on Reading and Math only)

27

63%

 

 

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 Purnell Hall at the University of Delaware Image Source: Mathieu Plourde/Flickr

 

South

School

Location

US News Ranking

Average GPA

Average SAT

Average ACT

Acceptance Rate

Auburn University

Auburn, AL

#102

3.74

1736

27

83%

Baylor University

Waco, TX

#72

3.65

1817

27

57%

Furman University

Greenville, SC

#51 National Liberal Arts Colleges

3.68

1845

28

64%

Rollins College

Winter Park, FL

#1 Regional Universities (South)

3.26

1794

27

59%

Sewanee: University of the South

Sewanee, TN

#48 National Liberal Arts Colleges

3.62

1870

28

60%

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX

#82

3.59

1770

27

47%

 

 

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 Samford Hall at Auburn University  Image Source: Jason Coleman/Flickr

 

How Should You Use This List?

If you’re a B student looking for a great college, research any of the colleges on this list that interest you.

Use the school websites, finders, guidebooks, and ranking lists to guide your research. Also, you can go on college visits to truly get a feel for some of these schools and determine if they would be good for you.

Furthermore, you can consult with teachers, counselors, parents, current students, and alumni to get more information and help narrow your college search.

 

How to Find Other Great Colleges for B Students

Again, there are plenty of excellent schools for B students that didn’t make my list.

Here are a few different ways to identify other colleges that may be a good fit for you:

 

College Finders

On Big Future, you can’t search for colleges by average GPA, but you can search for schools by SAT/ACT score and selectivity. Because most good colleges for B students have an average SAT of about 1800 and an average ACT of around 27, you can look for colleges that match that criteria. Additionally, these colleges range from “very selective” (25%-50% admitted) to “less selective” (more than 75% admitted). Select additional search filters to help find the schools that could be a great fit for you.

Also, on College View, you can enter your SAT/ACT score and unweighted GPA in your college search.

 

PrepScholar Database

The PrepScholar database has profiles for each college. A school's profile lists its acceptance rate, average GPA, and average standardized test scores. Also, you can use the admissions calculator on the school profile to roughly determine your odds of admission based on your GPA and standardized test scores.

You can find each school's profile by entering "prepscholar (name of school) admissions" into your favorite search engine.

Furthermore, at the bottom of each school's profile, you can see a list of schools that are harder to get into, equally hard to get into, and easier to get into. Look up the school profiles of the schools on my list to find other schools that are about as selective to find other good colleges for B students.

For instance, on our profile for Syracuse, Rochester Institute of Technology and Drexel University are listed as schools harder to get into, Penn State and Hofstra are listed as equally hard to get into, and Quinnipiac and Pace are listed as easier to get into. You can use these lists to identify other schools that may interest you.

 

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These are schools that are listed as "equally hard to get into" on Syracuse's profile.

 

How to Improve Your Chances of Admission

There are a number of ways you can improve your odds of getting into your dream schools, depending on where you are in the application process. You can study for the SAT/ACT, write an outstanding college essay, or spend your summers doing something incredibly interesting.

Remember that colleges consider a multitude of factors when evaluating your application. By strengthening any of the components of your application, you can better your odds of being accepted.

 

What's Next?

Is it important for you to go to a top tier school? Find out if it really matters where you go to college.

Do you want to go to a college in the Midwest or the South? Check out my lists of the best colleges in the Midwest and South.

Do you want a traditional college experience in a fun setting? Learn about the 23 best college towns.

 

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Justin Berkman
About the Author

Justin has extensive experience teaching SAT prep and guiding high school students through the college admissions and selection process. He is firmly committed to improving equity in education and helping students to reach their educational goals. Justin received an athletic scholarship for gymnastics at Stanford University and graduated with a BA in American Studies.



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