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What Are The Best Schools For C Students? Read Before Apply

If your average grade throughout all of highschool was a C, then your GPA is something along the lines of 2.2. The national average usually ranges between 2.8 and 3.0, so having a GPA of 2.2 is below the average.

Because of this, any top tier schools are way out of reach; you don’t have zero chances of getting in, but it would be practically impossible.

What schools are best for C students? 

As a C student, your chances get slimmer as the acceptance rate goes down. You could, however, get into a state school that is not as selective as UMD. Colleges such as Clemson University or the University of Miami will be considered reach schools. 

Can I get into a state school as a C student?

We have to establish one thing that will make the answer to this vary. There are states which have more “prestigious” state schools than others.

California is possibly the state with the best public schools; they have schools such as the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California – Berkeley, and the University of California – Santa Barbara (UCSB).

Virginia also has good state schools such as the University of Virginia (UVA), College of William and Mary, and Virginia Tech. Most states do have at least one good college to go to, though. 

For someone who has a GPA of 2.2/an average grade of C throughout high school, a public school on the same level as UCLA is probably way out of reach.

I can’t go through every state and list the school I think would be the best fit, but I can give a couple of examples:

  • George Mason University (Fairfax, VA) – Even though their average GPA is approximately 3.7, they have quite a high acceptance rate at 81%. With a GPA of about 2.2, you will have a shot at George Mason.
  • University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS) – The average GPA is pretty high at 3.6, but with an acceptance rate of 92%, it would be really hard not to get accepted.

Schools on the same level/ranking as George Mason and the University of Kansas are fit for a C student to have a chance to attend.

What would a reach, target, and safety school look like for someone with a low GPA?

In my article about Safeties for Ivy League Applicants, I mentioned that state schools such as the University of Maryland – College Park (UMD) and Pennsylvania State University (PennState) would be on the border of safety school and target schools. 

Safety schools are schools you are sure you will get into, target schools are schools that you have a slightly higher chance of getting accepted into rather than being rejected from, and reach schools are schools that you are way more likely to get rejected from. 

These schools, I think, would be one the border of reach and target schools. They have acceptance rates of 47% and 56%, making them harder to get into if you have a lower than average GPA.

George Mason University and the University of Kansas would be considered safety/target schools for students with a GPA of 2.2. Target schools would include universities on the same level as Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA).

Will colleges reject me just because of my GPA?

There are multiple components of an application: transcript/GPA, letters of recommendation, extracurriculars, standardized test scores, common app essay & supplementals.

Since there are many parts to your application, your chance of getting in does not solely depend on a single component. However, if you have something undesirable on your application, such as a low GPA, you’re making your chances of getting slimmer and slimmer. 

Your grades in school probably show a good reflection of how you will do in the college you’ve applied to.

If you manage to have good grades while taking rigorous courses (AP, IB, & honors), it shows that you are smart and have a good work ethic.

Colleges, especially when they get more selective, want students who do well in high school because they think that those students will do well in their college. 

Many colleges claim that they look at your college application “holistically”, which I don’t doubt entirely. Still, you will have to have some really impressive extracurriculars and essays to compensate for a lower than average GPA. 

If I’m getting recruited to play a sport, is a GPA of 2.2, ok?

So, I’m not at all fully educated on how sports work, but I did understand the basis of getting recruited. Your GPA will be calculated differently than most high school students; the NCAA will only calculate the cumulative grade of your core classes (16 NCAA approved courses in total).

Your GPA, if you’re being recruited for D1, needs to be at least a 2.3, and if you’re recruited for D2, your GPA needs to be at least 2.2. 

There are also SAT/ACT requirements you must meet as well to be qualified. 

Having said this, that doesn’t mean your chances of being recruited are high. If you have the bare minimum grades, your options will be limited. It’s simple, the higher your grades, the higher your chances are.

So if you do have a GPA of 2.2, you won’t be eligible for D1 sports, and even with D2 sports, your chances are slim. What I’ve just told you is the basics of getting recruited with a certain GPA.

If you want to know more detailed information, go to the NCSA Sports website

If I have a low GPA, should I go to community college instead?

Like I said, if you have a low GPA, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed forever and will never get into a university. However, applying to community college is not a bad idea because they accept almost all who apply.

The highest degree you can get at a community college is an associate’s degree, which can be accomplished in 2 years. After community college, many people transfer to their state school as a junior.

Transferring from community to state college, at least in my state, is pretty much assured as long as you had an average of C during community college. Once you complete community college, your GPA generally resets if you enter a university. 

If you consider going to a community college and then transferring to a university, there can be many benefits.

If I had a low GPA in high school and decided to go to community college, I would definitely work on my grades (even though you only need a C to transfer and your GPA resets). Community college is not better for someone with a GPA of 2.2, but rather an alternative that you should consider. 

20 Good Schools for Students With Average Grades

Below, in alphabetical order, I will quickly talk about 20 colleges and universities considered some of the best schools for C students — many of them believe that students can change and should thus be given a chance.

Albany State University

A public historically black university located in Albany, Georgia with a 73% acceptance rate, Albany State University requires interested high school graduates to have a GPA of 2.0 at least.

While it’s a test-optional school, applicants whose high school GPAs are lower than 3.2 should submit their SAT or ACT scores. In order to be considered for admission, they must have the following minimum test scores: Evidence Writing – 480 and Math – 440 (SAT) or English or Reading – 17 or Math – 17 (ACT).

Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology

Even though there is no published minimum high school GPA requirement at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, applicants can have an idea of their admissions chances by knowing the average GPA of the recent admits. And based on various online sources, the average is 2.1.

Thanks to an acceptance rate of 100%, those who consider attending the private college of engineering and industrial technologies located in Boston, Massachusetts may add it to their college list as a safety school.

Carver Bible College

With an acceptance rate of 100% and a minimum GPA requirement of 2.0, C high school students who consider Carver Bible College their top-choice school have nothing to worry about — they are practically in!

A private, non-denominational college located in South Fulton, Georgia, the school has a very small population of around 150 students. Naturally, the most popular majors at Carver Bible College are theology and theological studies.

College of Nursing and Advanced Health Professions

C students who wish to become nurses one day may consider applying to the College of Nursing and Advanced Health Professions, which is formerly known as Dallas Nursing Institute. Located in Richardson, Texas, there are no minimum GPA and SAT or ACT score requirements applicants must meet.

Even though the school now has a new name, the admissions office guarantees that none of the admissions requirements and processes have changed. It also offers the same nursing programs.

Evergreen State College
Evergreen State College

Evergreen State College

In 2019, the average high school GPA of first-time, first-year students admitted into Evergreen State College was 3.2. C students should fret not if they are interested in applying to the public liberal arts college located in Olympia, Washington. That’s because the minimum GPA requirement is 2.0.

And with an acceptance rate of 98%, it’s not that hard to get an acceptance letter from it.

What’s really nice about Evergreen State College is that students can design their own studies toward an undergraduate degree. Or they may choose from the various predetermined curriculum available.

Family of Faith Christian University

A private non-profit institution located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, Family of Faith Christian University serves as a training ground for future Christian disciples. Some of its bachelor’s degree programs include church ministry, organizational leadership and education. The school also offers certificate programs.

In order for one’s application to Family of Faith Christian University considered for evaluation, a high school diploma or a GED certificate is all that’s required. So, yes, there’s no minimum GPA requirement to meet.

Iconic Picken Hall at Fort Hays State University
Iconic Picken Hall at Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University

US News ranks Fort Hays State University #17 in Most Innovative Schools, #31 in Top Public Schools and #98 in Regional Universities Midwest. The popular college ranker also gives the school’s nursing program a #356 ranking.

Despite its high rankings, Fort Hays State University requires applicants to have a minimum high school GPA of only 2.0. The public university located in Hays, Kansas has an acceptance rate of 91%.

Fresno City College

When applying to Fresno City College, which is a public community college located in Fresno, California, there is no minimum GPA hopefuls must meet. But one thing’s for sure: in order for them to be able to stay at the institution, their GPA should not fall below 2.0.

But here’s the best part about sending an application to Fresno City College: the acceptance rate is 100%. Tuition and fees, by the way, cost $1,304 for in-state students and $7,496 for out-of-state students.

Guilford College

Applicants with a high school GPA of 2.0 can breathe a sigh of relief — at Wheaton College, applicants are not required to meet a minimum GPA. The same is true for SAT or ACT scores. Having an acceptance rate of 87%, college-bound high schoolers can easily add the institution to their college list as a safety school.

Ranked #63 in National Liberal Arts Colleges by US News, the private Evangelical Christian liberal arts college located in Wheaton, Illinois has tuition and fees of $42,240.

Lewis-Clark State College

Established in 1893 and located in Lewiston, Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College offers more than 130 programs, with 20 of those being fully online. Tuition at the public school costs $3,491 for in-state students and $5,526 for non-resident students. Part-time students are charged $356 per credit hour.

The acceptance rate at Lewis-Clark State College is 99.7%. Applicants may or may not submit SAT or ACT scores.

Martinsburg College

Business, management, marketing, computer information sciences, health-related majors — these are some of the most popular offerings at Martinsburg College, which is a for-profit institution located in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Tuition cost is around $287 per credit hour, but it’s only $250 for veterans and active duty service members.

At Martinsburg College, there is no minimum GPA requirement. Interested students should only present a high school diploma or a GED certificate. Needless to say, the school’s acceptance rate is 100%.

New York

Metropolitan College of New York

Even though the minimum GPA requirement at Metropolitan College of New York is 2.1, it’s still possible for C students to get an acceptance letter from the private college formerly known as Audrey Cohen College. All they have to do is make sure that various components of their applications are strong enough.

It may have a test-optional admissions policy alright, but the admissions officers at Metropolitan College of New York recommend that students submit their SAT or ACT scores.

Morrison Institute of Technology

Because it has an open admissions policy, just about anyone with a high school diploma or a GED certificate can get an acceptance letter from Morrison Institute of Technology. So, in other words, it has a 100% acceptance rate.

Networking administration, engineering technologies and various engineering-related majors are some of the most popular at this very small private institution located in Morrison, Illinois. It currently has less than 100 students, each one of them paying around $17,888 per year.

Nazarene Bible College

Depending on the student, the absence of a published minimum GPA requirement can either be nerve-racking or reassuring. At Nazarene Bible College, C students can apply as the school will consider just about any high school GPA. As a matter of fact, it has a 100% acceptance rate.

But it’s important to note that Nazarene Bible College is a very small institution. Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, its population is currently made up of a little over 600 students.

Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico – Miami

Its main campus may be located in San Juan, Puerto Rico alright, but Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico also has campuses in Miami and Orlando. The private institution offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in disciplines ranging from architecture, engineering, management to secondary education.

While the minimum GPA requirement for transferees is 2.5, it’s 2.0 that incoming first-time, first-year students must have at least. Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico – Miami is less selective, with an acceptance rate of 87%.

Selma University

The average GPA of first-time, first-year students admitted into Selma University ranges from 2.15 to 2.20. And because C students have a GPA that’s very close to the given range, their chances of getting an offer to go to the private historically black Baptist Bible college located in Selma, Alabama are pretty good.

This is especially true since the acceptance rate is 100%. The institution also has a rolling admissions policy, which means applicants do not have to meet hard deadlines.

Southern University at Shreveport

Besides having a minimum high GPA requirement of 2.0, there’s another reason why C students who are interested in attending Southern University at Shreveport should be happy: the school, which is a part of the historically black Southern University System, has an open admissions policy.

So, in other words, it accepts 100% of all applicants.

Using the academic year 2018 to 2019 rate, tuition and fees for Louisiana residents amount to $4,350. Meanwhile, the cost is $7,650 for out-of-state students.

Valley Forge Military Academy
Valley Forge Military Academy

Valley Forge Military College

C students who are interested in earning a degree from Valley Forge Military College will be more than glad to know that the school’s minimum GPA admissions requirement is 2.0.

But before they rejoice, it’s important to note that those with a high school GPA of 2.0 should also have a combined SAT Math and Reading score of at least 800 or a composite ACT score of not less than 17.

Virginia University of Lynchburg

There is no published minimum GPA fresh high school graduates have to meet when applying to Virginia University of Lynchburg. But for transferees, it’s a different story — they must have a GPA of at least 2.0. Due to this, it’s safe to assume that incoming C students have a fighting chance.

This is most especially true since the school has a very high 97% acceptance rate.

A private historically black Christian university located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Virginia University of Lynchburg is ranked #45 in Best Value Schools and #219 in National Universities by US News.

Voorhees College

A private historically black university located in Denmark, South Carolina, Voorhees College is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. More than half of all applicants to it receive an offer to enroll, given the fact that the institution has a 53% acceptance rate. It is, by the way, ranked #33 in Regional Colleges South by US News.

Meeting a minimum GPA requirement of 2.0 is important for one’s application to be considered. And while it’s a test-optional school, Voorhees College recommends that aspirants submit their SAT or ACT scores.

If you are still in high school as a freshman or sophomore, please put as much effort as possible into your grades in school. The higher your grades are, you will have greater chances at better schools.

If you are a junior reading this and have not done well in your freshman or sophomore year, it will be much harder to bring your GPA up, but you should keep trying!


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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