Is a 3.7 GPA Good for Getting Into College?

Brown chairs in front of blackboard
June 13, 2024
4 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/13/24

If you want to know if a 3.7 is a good GPA, we’ve covered everything you need to know. In this guide, we’ll explain the colleges that accept a 3.7 GPA, how to boost your GPA, and more. 

Although most top colleges use a holistic review process, your GPA plays a crucial role in the overall strength of your application. So is 3.7 a good GPA? Let’s get into it.

How Colleges View a 3.7 GPA

The strength of a 3.7 GPA depends on your school and its scale. According to the College Board, the 4.0 unweighted scale is often used by colleges and high schools. A 3.7 GPA as a letter grade is A-. Converted to a percentage, a 3.7 GPA shows you’ve scored an average of 90-92% in all your classes. 

Letter Grade Percent Grade GPA
A+ 97-100 4.0
A 93-96 4.0
A- 90-92 3.7
B+ 87-89 3.3
B 83-86 3.0
B- 80-82 2.7
C+ 77-79 2.3
C 73-76 2.0
C- 70-72 1.7
D+ 67-69 1.3
D 65-66 1.0
E/F Below 65 0.0

An unweighted GPA doesn’t consider the difficulty of your classes. For example, getting an A or B in an AP or IB class would impact your GPA in the same way a regular course would. 

Schools that use 4.5, 5.0, or even 12.0 scales mean their students can achieve a GPA higher than 4.0. Classes are worth more when schools use unweighted GPA scales. But we encourage you to take challenging classes, as it shows colleges you’re up for the rigor of college. 

How Does Your GPA Affect Your Chances of Getting Into College? 

Your GPA affects your chances of getting into college because it is a concrete number by which the admissions committee can assess your academic preparedness. However, the context of your GPA matters as well. Darryl Tiggle, a former Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Tufts University, expands on this idea:

"To simplify it, college admissions decisions are made in two ways. They're either data-driven: it's about the numbers—what's your GPA, what's your testing, what's your number of different things—or they're holistic. But because of the volume of selectivity, this [holistic] process has to [still] intersect with data. So make sure that you keep your grades up. Your high school GPA, and that's a number, right, is important because it gives them some context of your academic journey. What kind of courses you've taken, if there's an AP curriculum that's available at your school, if you’ve taken advantage of that. What’s the context of your GPA? The number is important and your road to getting there is important."

Although there are many factors that go into the admissions process, committees will typically first review your grades and test scores (if applicable) before proceeding with the rest of your application.

Is a 3.7 GPA Good Enough for College?

A 3.7 GPA is a very good GPA, particularly on an unweighted scale, however, it doesn't automatically secure admission to highly selective colleges. A 3.7 GPA means that you’re in the 92nd percentile on a 4.0 scale, which is very impressive! If you hold a 3.7 unweighted GPA, you’ll be in good standing at many competitive colleges. 

Reach, Target, & Safety Colleges You Can Get Into With a 3.7 GPA

So, how should you choose colleges based on your 3.7 GPA? Many colleges will happily accept students with this GPA. Below, we’ll get into what reach, target, and safety schools you can build into your college list with a 3.7 GPA.

Reach Schools 

Your reach schools are colleges that can be challenging to get into. For these colleges, a 3.7 GPA alone may not be enough to gain admission. Your grades and test scores are lower than the averages of their accepted students, but if you apply yourself and work hard, you have a chance at acceptance. 

School Average GPA Average SAT Score Average ACT Score Acceptance Rate
Johns Hopkins University 3.9 1530-1560 34-35 8%
Stanford University 3.96 1500-1570 33-35 3.91%
University of Pennsylvania 3.9 1510-1560 34-35 6.5%
University of Michigan 3.8 1346 30 18%
University of California, Berkeley 3.9 [test-free] [test-free] 16.4%

Source: Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and UC Berkeley

Target Schools 

Your target schools are the colleges that are likely to accept you based on your grades and test scores. Nothing is guaranteed, but these are schools that should match your level of academic rigor. Getting into these colleges with a 3.7 GPA is certainly doable.

School Average GPA Average SAT Score Average ACT Score Acceptance Rate
New York University 3.7 1470-1570 33-35 8%
Purdue University 3.7 1210-1450 27-34 50%

Pepperdine University
1320-1470 29-33 47.1%

University of Connecticut
3.76 1230-1430 28-33 55%
Clark University 3.68 1300-1440 29-33 41.9%

Source: New York University, Purdue University, Pepperdine University, University of Connecticut, and Clark University

To gain ever more insight into your chances of acceptance to your target schools, consider using our free college admissions calculator

Safety Schools

Safety schools are colleges that are highly likely to accept you. Your grades and test scores exceed the average for their admitted classes. For these colleges, your 3.7 GPA will likely get you accepted. 

School Average GPA Average SAT Score Average ACT Score Acceptance Rate
University of Oklahoma 3.65 1150-1340 26.1 85%
University of San Francisco 3.65 1210-1410 27-31 71%
Howard University 3.66 1184 24 35%
Penn State University 3.6 1290-1460 29-33 58%
Texas Tech University 3.6 1090-1280 23-28 67%

Source: University of Oklahoma, University of San Francisco, Howard University, Penn State University, and Texas Tech University

Remember, you’re not limited to just these colleges with a 3.7 GPA. Check the class statistics to know if your dream school accepts a 3.7 GPA.

If you’re still unsure of which schools to add to your college list, our college comparison tool can help! It creates side-by-side college comparisons of two schools at a time, including their rankings, acceptance rates, average SAT scores, average ACT scores, average GPAs, and even their tuition fees!

How To Increase Your GPA? 

Highly competitive schools, including the Ivy League, often admit students with GPAs closer to 4.0. So, how do you raise your 3.7 GPA for college? We have the answers here. 

View Each Course As An Opportunity For Growth

You may not always like every class you need to take, but you must do well in all your courses to raise your GPA. Try to view each class as an opportunity to learn something new, even if it’s not a subject you’re particularly interested in. 

Go to All Your Classes

While this sounds obvious, attending all your classes can have a massive positive impact on your GPA. You won’t ever miss any quizzes or tests, and you’ll know there are no gaps in your learning at the end of the course. 

Select Courses You’re Passionate About 

Most people tend to be good at the things they’re passionate about, and coursework is no exception. While you need to fulfill course requirements, don’t be afraid to pursue your interests. You’ll have more fun, enjoy learning for the sake of learning, and you might surprise yourself with how well you do. 

Study In Advance of Final Exams

Final exams often carry a lot of weight toward your final grade. Think of these tests as an excellent opportunity to increase your GPA by raising your total course grade. Start reviewing for your final exams well before they’re scheduled. It’s best to avoid cramming at all costs.

Change Your Attitude About Setbacks 

Don’t let yourself get swallowed up by one grade. Create a plan to do better next time and push through the setback. Remember to not be too hard on yourself! 

Make a Manageable, Consistent Study Plan 

A consistent study plan is your best pal if you want to boost your GPA. Reviewing what you’ve learned consistently in bite-sized pieces helps you better retain knowledge. 

Tips to Improve GPA by Grade Level

If your GPA isn't quite where you want it to be, don't stress – there's always time to improve it, especially if you start early. Thinking about your long-term goals and future career path while still in high school can feel overwhelming. That's why we've put together a list of actionable tips to help you raise your GPA, no matter which grade you're in.

Grade 9

Your first year of high school can be overwhelming, especially if you focus on everything all at once. Contrary to popular belief, it is never too early to start preparing for college. Here’s what Dr. Nick Accrocco, a former admissions officer at Vanderbilt University and an application reviewer at the University of Pennsylvania, says to keep in mind during your freshman year:

“What you do in ninth grade sets the tone for the rest of your high school career. Establishing a strong academic record and getting involved in extracurriculars early on can open up more opportunities later. By having a plan and starting early, you can avoid the stress and rush that often come with the college application process. Use ninth grade to lay a solid foundation. The more you do now to get yourself organized and establish good habits, the easier it will be to manage the more demanding tasks of junior and senior years."

Considering this, it’s important to enjoy this year as best as you can while also exploring your interests. Join some clubs, ask for help, and prepare for the next couple of years, but don’t stress yourself out.

  1. Develop a strong foundation: Establish good study habits early on, such as creating a quiet workspace, setting a regular study schedule, and breaking down large tasks into manageable chunks.
  2. Get involved in extracurricular activities: Joining clubs, sports teams, volunteer organizations, and other extracurriculars can help you explore your interests, develop new skills, and demonstrate a well-rounded profile to colleges.
  3. Seek help when needed: Don't hesitate to ask your teachers or guidance counselor for assistance if you're struggling with a subject or need advice on course selection.

Grade 10

This can be a tricky year since you’re not quite a junior but not quite a senior yet in high school. Try not to fall into the trap of breezing through this year; instead, focus on improving your studies by getting a head start on standardized tests.

  1. Focus on time management: As your course load becomes more challenging, it's important to prioritize tasks, avoid procrastination, and allocate sufficient time for studying and assignments.
  2. Take advantage of summer opportunities: Consider enrolling in summer programs, workshops, or internships to explore your interests and demonstrate your commitment to learning.
  3. Begin preparing for standardized tests: Familiarize yourself with the format and content of the PSAT, which can help you prepare for a good SAT score in the future.

Grade 11

Now is when you should really be focusing on your studies. You’ve only got one more year after this, so make this year count. Try taking harder courses such as AP or IB, as this will significantly improve your college experience. Start looking for colleges and draft your college list, even if it’s the first draft. You’ll thank yourself in the future for getting a head start!

  1. Challenge yourself with advanced courses: Taking AP, IB, or honors classes can demonstrate your academic rigor and potentially earn you college credit.
  2. Prepare for college admissions: Research colleges that align with your interests and goals, attend college fairs, and start drafting your personal statement.
  3. Take the SAT or ACT: Register for and take the ACT or SAT, as these scores are often a key component of college applications.

While it may seem early to begin your personal statement, Varna, a former admissions member at Columbia University, urges students to pay close attention to this critical application component: 

“It's not just about your GPA and SAT scores. Schools are looking for students who have a clear sense of why they want to attend their institution and how they will contribute to the campus community. Your personal statement and how you present your extracurricular activities and interests [in them] are equally important.”

Grade 12

Congratulations! You’re in your final year of high school! This can be the most stressful year, but only if you’ve left things to the last minute. By now, you should have a college list drafted, AP or IB courses to put on your college resume, and a good sense of what to do next. Focus this year on applying for scholarships and write down each college timeline to stay on track.

  1. Maintain your grades: Keep your GPA up during your final year, as colleges will still evaluate your academic performance.
  2. Apply for scholarships: Research and apply for scholarships that match your qualifications and interests to help fund your college education.
  3. Stay organized during the college application process: Keep track of deadlines, gather required documents, and seek guidance from your school's college counselor to ensure a smooth application process.

Remember, improving your GPA is a gradual process that requires consistency and effort. By implementing these tips and staying focused on your goals, you can improve your GPA to even Ivy League standards, opening doors to exciting future opportunities.

FAQs: Is a 3.7 GPA Good? 

Read our FAQs about GPAs and college admission:

1. Can I Get Into an Ivy League School With a 3.7 GPA? 

While 3.7 is a good high school GPA, Ivy League schools are incredibly competitive, and a 3.7 GPA alone isn’t enough to differentiate yourself. Applicants generally have a better chance of getting into an Ivy League school if they get closer to a 4.0 GPA. 

2. What is a 3.7 GPA?

Your grade point average (GPA) demonstrates your academic aptitude. A 3.7 GPA’s letter grade is A- and is in the 92nd percentile of all college students. A GPA is calculated by adding all of your final grades and dividing them by the number of classes you took. 

3. Can I Get Into Harvard With a 3.7 GPA?

Harvard is highly competitive, so it may be challenging to get in with a 3.7 GPA. The average GPA for entering Harvard students is 3.9.

4. Can I Get Into UPenn With a 3.7 GPA?

Admitted UPenn students have achieved a 3.8–4.0 GPA or equivalent in their high school years. Getting admitted to UPenn with a 3.7 GPA may be challenging, so you should aim for higher SAT/ACT scores. 

5. Can I Get Into Cornell With a 3.7 GPA?

Cornell University’s minimum GPA requirement is a 3.5. However, you must obtain a higher GPA than this to remain competitive during the admissions process. 

6. How Good Is a 3.7 Unweighted GPA? 

A 3.7 unweighted GPA is considered very good. With a 3.7 unweighted GPA, you are likely to be a competitive applicant at many colleges and universities.

7. How Good Is a 3.7 Weighted GPA? 

A 3.7 weighted GPA is generally considered very good. It indicates that you've earned mostly A's and a few B's in your high school classes, with some of those classes being more challenging, such as AP or honors courses. 

8. What Scholarships Can I Get with a 3.7 GPA?

Many merit-based scholarships set their minimum GPA requirement around 3.5-3.7. Having a 3.7 GPA makes you eligible for many of these academic scholarships.

Some specific examples of scholarships you may qualify for with a 3.7 GPA include:

9. How Can I Improve My GPA?

To improve your GPA, focus on developing effective study habits, attending classes regularly, and seeking help from professors, tutors, or classmates when needed. Prioritizing assignments, managing your time well, and staying organized can also contribute to a GPA of 4.0 or higher.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a 3.7 GPA is impressive. As a percentage, a 3.7 GPA means you’ve achieved an average of 90-92% in your classes. Achieving a 3.7 GPA in high school is good, and with an excellent application, there are many schools where you have a shot at acceptance. 

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