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The Best Colleges With Low GPA Requirements

Posted by Dr. Anna Wulick | Aug 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

College Admissions, Coursework/GPA

 

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Do you have a low GPA? Are you wondering what colleges you can get into despite your low GPA?

Out of all the schools in the country, we've compiled a complete list of colleges with low GPA requirements and ranked the best ones. Even if you have a low GPA, that doesn't mean a great education is out of reach for you. Keep reading to figure out what your options are for higher education.

 

Clarifying the Big Picture

If you are looking at your low GPA with worry, let us reassure you: you can absolutely get a great education no matter what college you end up going to

For example, did you know that the vast majority of the people profiled in Forbes Magazine’s list of “30 under 30” (basically a list of about 450 young entrepreneurs, artists, and inventors who are making a name for themselves in a bunch of different fields) went to their local or state college? And not only that, but most of them actually found their business or idea partners there as well!

Yes, the old line is totally true: it’s up to you to make the most of where you are. How? Well, for one, you can research classes and professors by asking your advisors and friends or looking at online reviews. No matter where they teach, most professors tend to love their subject—after all, they’ve devoted their whole life to studying it—so seek them out during office hours. Trust me, they'll love to talk with you!

Now, let us show you the many choices and possibilities open to you, even if you didn't put your best foot forward in high school. Read on to learn about the following:

  • Colleges that have alternative applications, some of which do not even require a transcript
  • University systems where you can transfer from one campus to another
  • Great state schools with less competitive requirements

 

What's a Low GPA for College?

First, we should clarify what we mean by a low GPA. The definition of a low GPA depends heavily on your personal goals and target colleges, but a general rule of thumb is that any GPA below a 3.0 puts you in the lower range for most colleges in the country.

It's true that a 3.0 is the average GPA in the country, but remember that many high school students also don't go to college. Thus, the ones who do go to college usually end up having a higher GPA. As you'll see below, the average GPA of lower-tier colleges is in the 2.9-3.3 range.

GPA can also be complicated because of unweighted and weighted GPAs and how colleges consider the difficulty of your coursework. Even if you have a low GPA, you can compensate for it if you took a difficult courseload, as colleges will reward you for your academic ambition.

Here are a few guides you might want to check out as you read this article:

Finally, keep in mind that even with a low GPA, you have a fantastic shot at getting into college if you do well on the SAT/ACT. If a low GPA doesn't represent your academic potential well, you have a chance to show colleges your true ability through tests that are standardized throughout the country.

 

Maybe your GPA is hiding you behind a mask?

 

Does Your GPA Not Show the Real You?

If you have a low GPA but know that you are capable of so much more, three colleges now give you a totally different way to apply!

  • Goucher College: How about this for a revolutionary idea: you only submit a two-minute video about yourself. That's it. No transcript, no test scores—just you explaining why you deserve admission. 
  • Bennington College: Similar deal here in that there's no need to submit a transcript or test scores. Instead, you'll submit a self-curated collection of your work that speaks to your creative and intellectual abilities.
  • Bard College: Even though Bard still requires a transcript, you can also opt to answer several college-level essay questions. Just think: an amazing performance would be a surefire way to prove you can do better than your GPA suggests!

 

Just... a... little... longer!

 

Do You Need More Time to Prove Yourself?

If you just need a little more time to demonstrate what you can do, think about applying to a less-competitive campus of a state university system. You can then transfer to a more rigorous campus in the same system.

Below is our list of the least competitive campuses in larger and more competitive state university systems. In this chart, we've included the average GPA of admitted applicants as well as the current acceptance rate for each school. (Pro tip: click the school names to see your chances of getting in with our Admissions Calculator!)

School

Average GPA

Admission Rate

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

3.21

59%

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

3.37

91%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.25

77%

Indiana University Northwest

2.96

79%

Louisiana State University Shreveport

3.29

81%

University of Louisiana at Monroe

3.41

94%

University of Maine at Presque Isle

3.04

77%

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

2.80

57%

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

3.20

76%

University of Michigan at Flint

3.29

74%

University of Minnesota Crookston

3.21

78%

University of Missouri Kansas City

3.36

63%

University of Nebraska at Kearney

3.47

85%

Rutgers Camden

3.30

58%

SUNY Potsdam

3.29

74%

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

3.40

74%

Penn State Schuylkill

2.90

73%

University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

3.22

58%

University of South Carolina Beaufort

3.39

63%

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

3.48

79%

Texas A&M Kingsville

3.35

82%

University of Texas at Brownsville

3.09

87%

University of Washington Tacoma

3.23

83%

University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

3.10

73%

 

 

A name-brand school = a little bling for your resume.

 

Do You Want a Name-Brand School?

If you would still like to go to a high-profile school but don’t see yourself transferring, state colleges are your best bet. Check out these accessible state college systems with fairly low GPA requirements on all of their campuses:

  • California State University
  • Connecticut State University
  • University of Hawaii
  • Massachusetts State University
  • University of Nevada
  • The CUNY system in NYC
  • The Oregon University system (not to be confused with the University of Oregon)
  • University of Rhode Island

 

I'll just point my protractor at a random point on this globe and go to college there!

 

Do You Know Where You Want to Be?

If you have an idea of where you want to end up geographically speaking, then you're in luck. Here is a comprehensive list of colleges sorted by state. For each state, the schools are listed alphabetically and are accompanied by their average GPAs for admitted applicants.

Alabama

Alabama State University

2.80

Auburn University at Montgomery

3.30

Faulkner University

3.26

Jacksonville State University

3.34

Oakwood University

2.99

Southeastern Bible College

3.34

Tuskegee University

3.10

University of North Alabama

3.40

 

Alaska

University of Alaska Fairbanks

3.21

University of Alaska Southeast

2.94

 

Arizona

Prescott College

3.17

 

Arkansas

Arkansas Tech University

3.19

Henderson State University

3.21

Southern Arkansas University

3.26

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

3.21

University of Central Arkansas

3.36

University of the Ozarks

3.23

 

California

American Jewish University

3.11

California Baptist University

3.32

California College of the Arts

3.27

California State University Bakersfield

3.20

California State University Chico

3.27

California State University Dominguez Hills

3.13

California State University East Bay

3.10

California State University Fresno

3.07

California State University Los Angeles

3.21

California State University Monterey Bay

3.32

California State University Northridge

3.18

California State University Sacramento

3.27

California State University San Bernardino

3.21

California State University San Marcos

3.27

California State University Stanislaus

3.31

Fresno Pacific University

3.30

Holy Names University

3.16

Humboldt State University

3.26

La Sierra University

3.39

Menlo College

3.30

Notre Dame de Namur University

3.20

Otis College of Art and Design

3.17

Pacific Union College

3.23

San Francisco Art Institute

3.22

San Francisco State University

3.23

Sonoma State University

3.24

Vanguard University of Southern California

3.21

Woodbury University

3.34

 

Colorado

Adams State College

3.11

Colorado Mesa University

3.10

Fort Lewis College

3.25

Metropolitan State University of Denver

2.90

University of Colorado Colorado Springs

3.37

University of Northern Colorado

3.23

Western State Colorado University

2.87

 

Connecticut

Albertus Magnus College

2.60

Central Connecticut State University

3.00

Eastern Connecticut State University

3.08 

Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts

3.22

Sacred Heart University

3.42 

Southern Connecticut State University

2.90

University of Bridgeport

2.93

University of Saint Joseph

3.24

Western Connecticut State University

2.97

 

Delaware

Catholic University of America

3.38

Delaware State University

3.11

Goldey-Beacom College

2.90

Wesley College

2.71

 

Florida

Barry University

3.14

Beacon College

2.87 

Bethune-Cookman University

2.96

Clearwater Christian College

3.32

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

3.36 

Johnson & Wales University

3.06 

Lynn University

3.07

Ringling College of Art and Design

3.27 

Rollins College

3.33

Trinity College of Florida

3.17

University of Tampa

3.40

Webber International University

2.83

 

Georgia

Albany State University

2.92

Armstrong Atlantic State University

3.24

Brewton-Parker College

3.04 

Clark Atlanta University

3.00

Clayton State University

3.05 

Columbus State University

3.12

Dalton State College

3.10 

Georgia Gwinnett College

2.78

Georgia Southern University

3.29 

Georgia Southwestern State University

3.26

Kennesaw State University

3.25 

Life University

3.15

Morehouse College

3.11 

Paine College

2.95

Point University

3.15 

Reinhardt University

3.11

Savannah State University

2.77

Shorter University

3.35

Southern Polytechnic State University

3.28 

Valdosta State University

3.20

University of West Georgia

3.15

 

Hawaii

Chaminade University of Honolulu

3.41

University of Hawaii at Hilo

3.36 

 

Idaho

Idaho State University

3.23

Lewis-Clark State College

3.10

 

Illinois

Augustana College

3.29 

Blackburn College

3.28 

Columbia College Chicago

3.26 

Concordia University Chicago

2.98 

Eastern Illinois University

3.08 

Elmhurst College

3.38

Eureka College

3.20

Judson University

3.39 

Kendall College

2.82

Lincoln Christian University

2.80

MacMurray College

3.00

Monmouth College

3.30 

North Park University

3.14 

Northeastern Illinois University

2.80

Northern Illinois University

3.15 

Robert Morris University

3.48

Rockford University

3.18 

Roosevelt University

3.16 

Shimer College

2.99

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

3.09

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.25

Western Illinois University

3.20

 

Indiana

Calumet College of St. Joseph

2.63

Holy Cross College

3.20

Indiana Institute of Technology

2.93 

Indiana State University

3.07 

Indiana University East

3.17 

Indiana University Kokomo

3.14 

Indiana University Northwest

2.96

Indiana University—Purdue University Fort Wayne

3.20 

Indiana University—Purdue University Indianapolis

3.39 

Indiana University South Bend

3.09

Indiana University Southeast

 3.12

Oakland City University

 3.15

Purdue University Calumet

3.13

Purdue University North Central

3.04

St. Joseph's College

3.19

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College

3.23

University of Southern Indiana

3.27

 

Iowa

Briar Cliff University

3.27 

Emmaus Bible College

3.18 

Graceland University

3.22 

Grand View University

3.23 

Iowa Wesleyan College

3.02

Maharishi University of Management

3.14

St. Ambrose University

3.26

University of Dubuque

2.95

Upper Iowa University

3.19 

Waldorf College

3.00

 

Kansas

Bethany College

2.85 

Emporia State University

3.32 

Fort Hays State University

3.37 

Friends University

3.29

Pittsburg State University

3.30 

Sterling College

3.10

Tabor College

3.33 

University of St. Mary

3.31

 

Kentucky

Campbellsville University

3.35 

Eastern Kentucky University

3.29 

Georgetown College

3.37 

Kentucky Christian University

3.16 

Kentucky Mountain Bible College

3.39 

Kentucky State University

2.78

Kentucky Wesleyan College

3.30

Lindsey Wilson College

3.27 

Midway College

3.19

Northern Kentucky University

3.34 

Thomas More College

3.26

University of the Cumberlands

3.44

University of Pikeville

3.06

Western Kentucky University

3.27

 

Louisiana

Dillard University

2.78 

Grambling State University

2.72

Louisiana College

3.17 

Louisiana State University Shreveport

3.29 

Nicholls State University

3.22 

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

3.24 

Southeastern Louisiana University

3.19

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

3.30

University of New Orleans

3.14

 

Maine

Husson University

3.30 

University of Maine

3.27 

University of Maine at Farmington

2.97

University of Maine at Fort Kent

3.00 

University of New England

3.30 

University of Southern Maine

2.96

 

Maryland

Frostburg State University

3.18 

Goucher College

3.15 

Morgan State University

3.00

Stevenson University

3.40 

University of Baltimore

2.89

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

2.80

 

Massachusetts

American International College

2.80 

Anna Maria College

2.78

Assumption College

3.38 

Bay Path College

3.21

Becker College

3.08

Bridgewater State University

3.14

Curry College

2.80 

Eastern Nazarene College

3.00 

Endicott College

3.27 

Fitchburg State University

3.10 

Framingham State University

3.08 

Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

3.40 

Lasell College

2.96

Lesley University

3.31 

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

3.10

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

3.14 

Mount Ida College

2.60 

Newbury College

2.45

Nichols College

2.80

Regis College

3.06

Salem State University

3.13

Wentworth Institute of Technology

3.10

Western New England University

3.38 

Westfield State University

3.09

Wheelock College

2.88

Worcester State University

3.23 

 

Michigan

Central Michigan University

3.37 

College for Creative Studies

3.19 

Concordia University Ann Arbor

3.10

Eastern Michigan University

3.30 

Kuyper College

3.26

Lake Superior State University

3.26

Madonna University

3.30 

Marygrove College

2.67

Northern Michigan University

3.16

Northwood University

3.16

Siena Heights University

3.20

University of Michigan—Flint

3.29

Wayne State University

3.30 

Western Michigan University

3.34

 

Minnesota

Bemidji State University

3.11 

Bethany Lutheran College

3.39 

Concordia University Saint Paul

3.13 

Minneapolis College of Art and Design

3.25

North Central University

3.33

St. Cloud State University

3.12

University of Minnesota, Crookston

3.21

Winona State University

3.33

 

Mississippi

Alcorn State University

2.98 

Belhaven University

3.30 

Delta State University

3.10 

Jackson State University

3.03

Mississippi State University

3.32 

Mississippi Valley State University

2.91

Rust College

2.34

University of Southern Mississippi

3.27

 

Missouri

Avila University

3.34 

Culver-Stockton College

3.12

Harris-Stowe State University

2.69

Kansas City Art Institute

3.30

Lincoln University

2.63

Lindenwood University

3.21

Missouri Southern State University

3.30 

Missouri Western State University

3.32

St. Louis Christian College

3.00

Southeast Missouri State University

3.39

Stephens College

3.27

University of Central Missouri

 3.35

University of Missouri—Kansas City

3.36

 

Montana

Montana State University

3.36

Montana State University—Billings

3.14

Rocky Mountain College

3.35

University of Great Falls

3.28 

University of Montana Western

3.07 

 

Nebraska

Wayne State College

3.20

 

Nevada

Sierra Nevada College

3.08

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

3.28

 

New Hampshire

Colby Sawyer College

 3.21

New England College

2.59

Plymouth State University

2.96

Rivier University

3.19

Saint Anselm College

3.28

Southern New Hampshire University

3.06

 

New Jersey

Bloomfield College

2.68

Fairleigh Dickinson University—College at Florham

3.07

Fairleigh Dickinson University—Metropolitan Campus

3.08 

Felician College

3.05 

Kean University

3.10

Montclair State University

3.20

Ramapo College of New Jersey

3.26

Rider University

 3.28

Saint Peter's University

3.15

William Paterson University

3.08

 

New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University

3.19 

New Mexico Highlands University

2.95

University of New Mexico

3.38

 

New York

Alfred University

3.03

Cazenovia College

3.20 

College of Mount St. Vincent

3.12 

Culinary Institute of America

3.16 

CUNY College of Staten Island

3.06

CUNY Hunter College

3.20 

CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice

2.84

Dominican College

2.96 

Elmira College

3.28 

Farmingdale State College

3.24 

Hartwick College

3.16 

Hilbert College

3.18 

Hobart and William Smith Colleges

3.43 

Iona College

2.96 

Keuka College

3.10 

Long Island University Brooklyn

2.98 

Long Island University Post

3.11

Manhattanville College

3.10 

Marist College

3.30 

Mercy College

3.00

Molloy College

3.00 

Mount St. Mary College

3.20 

Nyack College

2.81

Pace University

3.26

School of Visual Arts

3.29

St. Bonaventure University

3.40

St. Joseph's College—Brooklyn Campus

3.20 

SUNY College at Brockport

2.98

SUNY Buffalo State

3.15

SUNY College at Old Westbury

3.10

SUNY Plattsburgh

3.20 

SUNY Potsdam

3.29 

SUNY at Purchase (Purchase College)

3.10 

Utica College

3.09

 

North Carolina

Barton College

3.18

Belmont Abbey College

3.16

Brevard College

3.07

Chowan University

2.69 

Fayetteville State University

3.20

Guilford College

3.19 

Johnson C. Smith University

2.78

Lees-McRae College

3.29

Mars Hill University

 3.24

Meredith College

3.35

Methodist University

3.28 

Mid-Atlantic Christian University

2.91

Montreat College

3.07

North Carolina A&T State University

2.48

North Carolina Central University

3.20

Saint Augustine's University

2.37

Shaw University

2.45

University of North Carolina at Pembroke

3.40

William Peace University

3.22

Winston-Salem State University

3.01

 

North Dakota

Jamestown College

3.46 

Mayville State University

2.99 

Minot State University

3.36

Valley City State University

3.18

 

Ohio

Ashland University

3.44 

Bluffton University

3.16 

Bowling Green State University

3.30 

Central State University

2.50

Cincinnati Christian University

3.14

Cleveland State University

3.29

College of Mount St. Joseph

3.35 

Columbus College of Art and Design

3.15

Defiance College

3.22

Heidelberg University

3.28

Kent State University at Kent

3.36

Lourdes University

3.17 

Malone University

3.33 

Muskingum University

3.26 

Tiffin University

3.07

University of Akron

3.16

University of Mount Union

3.44

University of Rio Grande

3.06

University of Toledo

3.32 

Urbana University

3.00

Wilmington College

3.20

Wright State University

3.26

Youngstown State University

3.13 

 

Oklahoma

Cameron University

3.14

East Central University

3.40 

Northeastern State University

3.37

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

3.28

St. Gregory's University

3.29

Southeastern Oklahoma State University

3.31

University of Central Oklahoma

3.29

 

Oregon

Eastern Oregon University

3.29

Southern Oregon University

3.31 

Warner Pacific College

3.17

Western Oregon University

3.24

 

Pennsylvania

Albright College

3.40

Alvernia University

3.34

Baptist Bible College and Seminary

3.31

Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

3.27 

Cabrini College

3.06 

Cairn University

3.24

California University of Pennsylvania

3.10

Cedar Crest College

3.17 

Chestnut Hill College

3.13

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

2.37

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

3.21

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania

3.18

Gwynedd-Mercy College

3.22

Holy Family University

3.09

Immaculata University

3.26

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

3.20

La Roche College

3.30

La Salle University

3.35 

Lock Haven University

3.30 

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

3.33

Misericordia University

3.35 

Morris College

2.50

Mount Aloysius College

3.20

Muhlenberg College

3.30 

Neumann University

3.04

Penn State Abington

3.11 

Penn State Altoona

3.05

Penn State Berks

3.06

Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

3.30

Penn State Harrisburg

3.14

Penn State Lehigh Valley

3.03 

Penn State Schuylkill

2.90

Point Park University

3.22 

Rosemont College

3.40 
Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

3.20

Susquehanna University

3.46

Thiel College

3.10

University of Pittsburgh Bradford

3.22

Washington & Jefferson College

3.39

 

Rhode Island

Bryant University

3.42 

Roger Williams University

3.34

Salve Regina University

3.29

University of Rhode Island

3.46

 

South Carolina

Claflin University

3.28 

Erskine College and Seminary

3.31

Limestone College

3.24

South Carolina State University

2.79

University of South Carolina Beaufort

3.39 

Voorhees College

2.00

 

South Dakota

Dakota State University

3.10 

Northern State University

3.25

South Dakota State University

3.37

 

Tennessee

Austin Peay State University

3.20

Cumberland University

3.30 

East Tennessee State University

3.40

Fisk University

3.10

Johnson University

3.06 

LeMoyne-Owen College

2.50

Lane College

2.42

Memphis College of Art

3.14

Tennessee State University

2.82

Tennessee Wesleyan College

3.42 

Trevecca Nazarene University

3.39 

Tusculum College

3.13

University of Memphis

3.42

Watkins College of Art, Design and Film

3.00

 

Texas

Arlington Baptist College

2.88 

Concordia University Texas

3.30

East Texas Baptist University

3.38 

Huston Tillotson University

2.79

Paul Quinn College

2.60

Prairie View A&M University

3.03

Southwestern Adventist University

3.20

Sul Ross State University

3.17

Texas A&M University—Kingsville

3.35

Texas Southern University

2.84

Texas Wesleyan University

3.40

Texas Woman's University

3.08

Wayland Baptist University

3.28

 

Utah

Dixie State College

3.22

Neumont University

3.20

Weber State University

 3.29

 

Vermont

Castleton State College

3.00 

Champlain College

3.20

Green Mountain College

3.04

Marlboro College

3.23

Norwich University

3.07

Southern Vermont College

2.50

Vermont Technical College

3.02

 

Virginia

Averett University

3.17 

Bluefield College

3.29 

Ferrum College

2.88

Hampton University

3.22

Lynchburg College

3.41 

Mary Baldwin College

3.43

Marymount University

3.24 

Norfolk State University

2.90

Old Dominion University

3.28 

Radford University

3.20 

Virginia State University

2.90

Virginia Union University   

2.71

Virginia Wesleyan College

3.28

 

Washington

Central Washington University

3.14 

Eastern Washington University

3.21 

Evergreen State College

3.04

University of Washington Bothell

3.28

University of Washington Tacoma

3.23

Washington State University

3.31

 

West Virginia

Alderson-Broaddus College

 3.20

Bethany College

2.85

Concord University

 3.31

Davis and Elkins College

2.90 

Fairmont State University

3.29 

Ohio Valley University

2.85

Shepherd University

 3.31

West Liberty University

3.35

West Virginia State University

3.08

West Virginia University Institute of Technology

3.35

 

Wisconsin

Cardinal Stritch University

3.22

Carroll University

3.30

Carthage College

 3.24

Edgewood College

3.40 

Lakeland College

3.00

Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

3.07

Mount Mary University

3.12 

Northland College

3.40 

Silver Lake College of the Holy Family

2.73 

University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee

3.10

University of Wisconsin—Oshkosh

3.30

University of Wisconsin—Parkside

3.03

University of Wisconsin—Stout

3.30

University of Wisconsin—Superior

3.12

University of Wisconsin—Whitewater

3.29

 

 

What’s Next?

What's a good GPA? A bad GPA? Here's a complete guide.

Want to see colleges that are even easier to get into? Take a look at our list of schools that admit almost everyone

You know your GPA, but do you know your target test scores? Figure out what your target SAT or target ACT score should be for the colleges you're interested in. 

Ready to learn more about the application process? Check out this handy infographic that lays it all out in detail. 

 

Liked this article? Learn how to increase your GPA with  top strategies from a Harvard grad.  Click here now!

 

Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Dr. Anna Wulick
About the Author

Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.



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