The higher the grade, the higher the chances of getting into a good college. But just because you are a B+ student doesn’t mean you will have to settle with a degree from a bad college.
A grade of B+ is good enough to make students eligible for admission into many great colleges, such as state flagship schools. This is especially true if their test scores are high, college-level courses are hard, extracurriculars are impressive and personal essays are striking.
Turning your B+ into A+ can be very challenging once you are already in the latter half of high school. So, in other words, the difficult task of graduating as an A+ student to gain admission into some of the most prestigious higher education institutions begins in the first year of high school.
Since you cannot travel back in time, the best you can do is avoid getting anything that’s lower than B+.
If you dread sending applications to colleges and universities because you have a B+ high school grade, don’t stop reading now.
Below, you will come across just about everything you need to know about being a B+ student and also a listing of great institutions you may apply to and may get accepted into as well.
What Do Admissions Officers Check Out?
During the admissions process, college admissions officers take into account many things. Leading the list are GPAs, test scores, and AP or IB grades. They also consider class rank, extracurriculars, recommendation letters, and personal essays. Admissions officers check out demonstrated interest, too.
According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the top factors admissions officers at most colleges and universities take into consideration are as follows:
For freshmen students:
- Overall high school GPA
- College preparatory course grades
- SAT or ACT scores
- Strength of curriculum
For transfer students:
- Overall college GPA
- Average grades in transferable courses
For international students:
- English proficiency exam scores
- Personal essays
Besides the factors mentioned above, admissions officers also consider freshmen students’ personal essays, demonstrated interest to attend the school, recommendation letters written by counsellors and teachers, extracurricular activities and class rank in the admissions process.
On the other hand, for international students, pretty much all the top factors taken into account for domestic students are considered, too. They include GPA, college-level course grades and standardized test scores.
According to an article on The Atlantic, a couple of important college admissions criteria now have less weight in the admissions decisions: test scores and GPA.
The fact that around 1,600 colleges and universities in the US have test-optional admissions policies — students may or may not include their SAT or ACT scores in their applications is proof of this.
The same article also stated that demonstrated interest is playing a larger role now more than ever.
For instance, based on a Forbes article, 13.7% of colleges and universities said that demonstrated interest was a significantly important factor in their freshman admissions decisions. On the other hand, it was moderately important, said 25.5% of colleges and universities in the nation.
And this brings us to this pressing question…
Why do colleges care about demonstrated interest?
A student who shows interest is more likely to enroll in the program at the preferred college or university. This increases the school’s yield rate or the percentage of accepted students who enroll. As a result, the school appears more desirable and selective. The higher the yield rate, the better.
So, in other words, demonstrated interest is beneficial for both applicants and the schools they are applying to.
Needless to say, if you are applying to your dream college, it’s a great idea to show its admissions officers that the school is your top choice. You can demonstrate your interest by doing one or more of the following:
- Subscribe to the college or university’s newsletter.
- Connect with the school and its students and alumni via social media.
- Email the admissions counselor and introduce yourself and say why you want to go to the school.
- Show up at admissions events near you.
- Pay the campus a visit — admissions officers see this as one of the strongest indicators of interest.
- Take writing the “Why this college?” personal essay very seriously.
- Apply early decision (ED) — this is considered as the ultimate demonstration of your interest.
What Does a B+ Grade Mean?
B+ is a good high school grade. As a matter of fact, it’s an above-average high school grade. B+ is equivalent to 87% to 89%. It’s also equivalent to a 3.3 GPA. Because it indicates good performance, B+ students have good chances of gaining admission into a number of good colleges and universities.
In the US, high schools began replacing various forms of assessment with letter grades in the early 20th century.
Grading scales tend to differ from one high school to the next. However, the most common grade scale is the letter grade scale. It consists of letters A through F — A is excellent, B is above average, C is average, D is below average, and F is failing. Letter grades are obtained from 0 to 100 or a percentile.
A failing grade may vary from state to state.
For instance, in Virginia and Texas, a D grade is considered a failing grade. On the other hand, in Hawaii, a D grade is a passing grade in some classes and a failing grade in others.
Related Article: Best Schools For C Students
Regardless of where you are in the US, B+ is far from being a failing grade.
As a matter of fact, like mentioned earlier, it’s a good grade for a high school student to get. B+ is also enough to get you accepted into various colleges and universities, the majority of them are good ones — some even rank high on some of the most popular and credible college ranking sites!
Let’s answer this very important question…
What is the GPA of a B+ student?
The GPA of a B+ high school student is equivalent to 3.3. On the other hand, in percentage, a B+ high school student has a grade of 87% to 89%, which is excellent. Someone who has a B+ grade is an above-average student in his or her high school, which is what many colleges and universities look for.
When checking out what to submit to colleges and universities, students often come across a minimum GPA requirement.
This means that their GPA should not be lower than what’s stated by a school in order to gain admission into it. Knowing your GPA based on your letter grade is a must when determining your next few steps.
Here’s a table showing each letter grade, including B+, in percent and GPA:
|97% to 100%
|93% to 96%
|90% to 92%
|87% to 89%
|83% to 86%
|80% to 82%
|77% to 79%
|73% to 76%
|70% to 72%
|67% to 69%
|65% to 66%
It’s true that some colleges and universities in the US look for applicants with grades that are not lower than A-.
This means that the majority of students that they send acceptance letters have GPAs of 3.7 at least. Needless to say, these schools are the Ivy Leagues as well as prestigious ones that most, if not all, college-bound kids dream of going to.
Here are some of those where the average GPAs of their admitted students do not fall below 4.0:
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh
|University of California Los Angeles
|University of Virginia Main Campus
|University of Miami
|University of South Carolina Columbia
|College of William and Mary
|University of Maryland College Park
|University of Florida
|University of North Carolina at Wilmington
|Appalachian State University
|University of Chicago
|Elizabeth City State University
Note: Each college has its own way of calculating GPA. If the average freshman GPA is higher than 4 then the college is most likely using a 5.0 scale to calculate the GPA.
If your GPA is below what colleges and universities are looking for, it’s recommended to consider sending applications to other schools to avoid wasting your precious time and application fee, too. What’s more, it can save you from the heartache and stress of receiving a rejection letter.
Many higher education institutions have a holistic admissions process. So, in other words, they take a look at applicants as a whole, based on their overall application, and not reduce them to mere GPAs.
While top-notch schools with a holistic admissions process may consider students whose GPAs are slightly lower than their preference, it’s a must that the rest of the application is strong.
For instance, their SAT or ACT scores should be extraordinary, their personal essays should be stellar, or their AP or IB courses should be challenging.
Related Article: Getting Into Harvard With a 3.0 GPA
How Can B+ Students Improve Their Application?
Striving for higher grades can help boost a B+ student’s application. However, it’s impossible to do if the student is already junior or senior in high school. Strengthening other parts of the application, such as extracurriculars and personal essays can help improve the student’s standing.
The best time to start getting an A+ to gain admission into prestigious colleges and universities is as soon as you step foot on your high school campus — in your freshman or sophomore year. Unfortunately, not all high school students realize the importance of a high GPA until it’s time to apply to colleges and universities.
As mentioned earlier, changing your B+ grade (or any grade for that matter) into a higher one when you are already in the latter half of high school can be extremely challenging, if not impossible.
This is when the benefit of a holistic admissions process that many colleges and universities have comes in. Even if you can no longer change your B+ grade, you can still change other aspects of your high school, allowing you to have a more impressive-looking application despite your GPA.
Here are some of the things you can do to improve your college application:
Focus on extracurriculars
Colleges and universities are always looking for students who can inspire change on campus and after graduating, too.
So, in other words, they have a penchant for potential leaders of tomorrow. This is why it’s a good idea for you to consider partaking in extracurricular activities that help improve your leadership skills.
You may also grab volunteer opportunities as it demonstrates passion and commitment. There is also nothing wrong with extracurriculars that highlight your interests as it shows you have the thirst and drive to enrich your life.
Related Article: What is Considered an Extracurricular Activity? Easy Guide
Obtain exceptional recommendation letters
Some colleges and universities have specific requirements for whom to choose as references.
To be sure, visit the school’s website and carefully read the requirements. You may also get in touch with the admissions office.
Is it completely up to the applicants to decide which people can write their recommendation letters?
Then make sure that you approach the right ones. The right people for the job are counselors and teachers who know you so well. Approach them at least a month before the deadline to give them enough time to write a strong description of you.
Write a standout essay
Besides your counselors and teachers who know about your academic prowess and potentials, you yourself should also let the admissions officers at your dream higher education institution know that you are exactly what they are looking for.
Needless to say, you should come up with a personal essay that can impress.
Keep in mind that admissions officers are very busy people. Make sure that you start your personal essay with a winning paragraph to keep them engaged rather than bored and reaching for the next personal essay.
Demonstrate your interest
Earlier, when we were talking about what admissions officers check out, we mentioned that some colleges and universities said that demonstrated interest was a significantly important factor in their freshman admissions decisions.
This is why you can considerably improve your application by doing everything you can to show that the school you are applying to is your top choice.
The best way to demonstrate your interest is by applying earlier than everyone else because it shows that you are willing to forget your applications to other schools if accepted.
Which Colleges Can B+ Students Apply To?
Since B+ is an above-average high school grade, students can apply to a number of colleges and universities. Some of them have high rankings on various college ranking sites. The majority of these higher education institutions have a holistic admissions process and consider more than just the GPA.
Refrain from assuming that it’s the end of your dream to earn a college degree if you’re a B+ student.
Believe it or not, there are many colleges and universities out there that welcome B+ high school graduates with open arms onto their campuses. The secret is knowing which schools you should send applications to.
Choosing good schools with a holistic admissions process can also give you the assurance that your application will be taken into account despite your B+ grade.
However, it’s a must that the rest of your application can make up for your B+ grades, such as your SAT or ACT scores, recommendation letters, and personal essay, to get accepted into it.
According to US News, which is one of the most popular and used ranking sites out there, the following colleges and universities are great for B+ students:
- Florida State University. Location: Tallahassee, Florida. National Universities rank: 58.
- Howard University. Location: Washington, DC. National Universities rank: 80.
- Michigan State University. Location: East Lansing, Michigan. National Universities rank: 80.
- Elon University. Location: Elon, North Carolina. National Universities rank: 88.
- Marquette University. Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. National Universities rank: 88.
- University at Buffalo – SUNY. Location: Buffalo, New York. National Universities rank: 88.
- University of Iowa. Location: Iowa City, Iowa. National Universities rank: 88.
- Arizona State University – Tempe. Location: Tempe, Arizona. National Universities rank: 103.
- Saint Louis University. Location: St. Louis, Missouri. National Universities rank: 103.
- Temple University. Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. National Universities rank: 103.
- University of Oregon. Location: Eugene, Oregon. National Universities rank: 103.
- University of San Francisco. Location: San Francisco, California. National Universities rank: 103.
- University of South Florida. Location: Tampa, Florida. National Universities rank: 103.
- Creighton University. Location: Omaha, Nebraska. National Universities rank: 112.
- Loyola University Chicago. Location: Chicago, Illinois. National Universities rank: 112.
- University of Chicago – Illinois. Location: Chicago, Illinois. National Universities rank: 112.
- University of La Verne. Location: La Verne, California. National Universities rank: 112.
- University of Tennessee. Location: Knoxville, Tennessee. National Universities rank: 112.
If you are interested in liberal arts colleges, then read my post:
Being a B+ student means you are an above-average high school student. As a result of this, your application will look attractive to a lot of colleges and universities. Some of them rank very well on various college ranking sites, too.
Your grade may not be enough for highly competitive schools. However, it’s more than enough for many.
It’s a good thing that a lot of colleges and universities consider more than just the GPAs of their applicants. If you want to increase your chances of gaining admission into your preferred school, consider making the rest of your application strong if it’s too late to turn your B+ grade into something higher.
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.