Many colleges in America offer liberal arts programs, but that doesn’t mean they are a liberal arts college. Liberal arts colleges are driven to make sure their students learn and have a broad perspective on many topics.
What are the best liberal arts colleges for B (as in grade) students?
Liberal arts colleges have the same goal as one another, but there are some that are more selective than others. Some liberal arts colleges for B students (with an average GPA of about 3.5) include Rollins College, Wabash College, Beloit College, Oberlin College, and Lafayette College.
What is a liberal arts college?
From what I’ve gathered from my ~advanced~ research, a liberal arts college is an institution that is primarily meant for a student to learn, rather than solely focus on getting a job (at least that’s what they are supposed to be).
These liberal arts colleges heavily concentrated in learning the humanities (ex. literature, philosophy), social sciences (ex. political science & anthropology), and/or arts (ex. writing & theatre).
Most liberal arts colleges only have an undergraduate program, so if you want a master’s or Ph.D., then you will have to find another college/university.
Also, a liberal arts college doesn’t focus on only one field/degree. As you may know, a lot of universities require every student to take a particular course or courses during their years at their university.
But other than that, the student usually focuses on one or two specific fields of studies (your major(s)). Liberal arts colleges do help you focus on a field if you are interested, but your education focuses on being much more well-rounded.
Why should I go to a liberal arts college?
As I said, liberal arts colleges want to make sure their students focus their years on learning rather than just preparing to get a job. But the thing is, going to a non-liberal college does not mean you don’t learn.
Also, from my ~advanced~ research, I saw a common pattern that a liberal arts college gives you a well-rounded education. Liberal arts colleges appear to make you think very critically, which I think may be due to the more one-on-one communication with other students and faculty.
Another pretty obvious thing is the student to faculty ratio. Liberal arts colleges tend to be smaller, so students have easier access to professors and smaller, more discussion-based classes.
Again, this doesn’t mean non-liberal arts colleges don’t have a small student to faculty ratio or small classes. In fact, Georgetown and Northwestern both have a fantastic student to faculty ratio and classes that are on the smaller side.
What are the best liberal arts colleges for B students?
For this portion of the article, I’ll be using GPAs (between ~3.3 and ~3.7) provided by PrepScholar. *Big disclaimer: I’m giving the average GPA for the students who attend these universities, but that doesn’t mean that having this GPA of about 3.5 is a ticket to getting in.
Grades and test scores are usually a sort of threshold you need to pass for the college to seriously consider as a student (they determine this with other parts of your application such as essays and extracurriculars).
Also, you are not limited to schools such as Rollins or Oberlin College. If your dream school is not on this list, it doesn’t mean that the school is bad or you are not qualified enough for the school; go with what makes you happy!*
Alrighty, let’s do this:
- Rollins College (Winterpark, FL) – has a collective GPA of 3.3 and an acceptance rate of ~66% (as of 2020). This GPA suggests that the students, on average, primarily received B’s throughout high school, and perhaps one or two A’s and/or C’s. The class size for Rollins (as of 2020) is ~2,000.
- Lafayette College (Easton, PA) – has a collective GPA of 3.5, which is higher than Rollins College. However, the distribution of grades is relatively the same with mainly B’s and maybe a couple A’s throughout high school. The acceptance rate, however, is much lower at ~30% (as of 2020), and the class size is slightly larger at ~2,600.
- Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA) – has a collective GPA of 3.5, and an acceptance rate of ~30% (as of 2020). Bucknell is as selective as Lafayette; enrollment comes in at about 3,600 students. Like the previous two colleges, the average student received mostly B’s and an A or C here and there.
- The College of Wooster (Wooster, OH) – has a GPA slightly higher than the others at 3.7, so if your GPA comes to be ~3.5, you would most likely fall between the 25th and 50th percentile. To have a GPA of 3.7, you need to attain a mixture of A’s and B’s (and have more A’s than B’s). The acceptance rate is ~55% (as of 2020), and the class size comes in at about 2,000 students.
- Beloit College (Beloit, WI) – has the same GPA as Rollins at 3.3 and an acceptance rate of ~56% (as of 2020). Again, if you have straight B’s throughout high school, then you have passed the threshold. The enrollment is much smaller at ~1,200 students.
- Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN) – has a higher GPA at ~3.7, so you would need to have a mixture of A’s and B’s, more leaning to the side of A’s. If you have more B’s however, don’t fret, this doesn’t completely ruin your chances of getting in. The acceptance rate is at ~66% (as of 2020), but it is a men’s college, so sorry, ladies.
- Denison University (Granville, OH) – has a collective GPA of, wait for it, 3.7, so make sure you don’t have any C’s! The acceptance rate is ~33% (as of 2020), and enrollment has not been reported, apparently, but it does fall somewhere around 2,500.
- Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH) – has a collective, dazzling, outstanding GPA of 3.6 and an acceptance rate of ~40% (as of 2020). It’s enrollment rivals Denison University at 2,500.
- United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, MD) – I threw this one in here because the average GPA is 3.7, but it is very selective at an acceptance rate of ~9%. By no means does having good grades mean you’ll get in because it is very hard to get in.
That about finishes up our list of some of the liberal arts colleges for B students in the United States! As you can see, liberal arts colleges have very small undergraduate enrollment compared to most American universities, even the more selective ones.
One thing to remember about this list is that the GPAs I provided were unweighted (4.0 scale), meaning it’s hard to tell if the students took AP/IB/honors classes through high school. However, the schools listed are still schools that expect academic rigor.
Having an average of B’s in AP/IB/honors classes looks better than having an average of B’s in regular classes. Even though their GPAs tell that they got an average of B’s throughout high school, those could be B’s in more advanced classes.
I’ll say it again if you forgot my disclaimer, but you are not limited to this list. GPA is not the only part, and dare I say the most important part of your application. GPA and other stats (like SAT/ACT scores) are just thresholds that are important to meet.
A college (I hope) wouldn’t throw your application away just because your GPA is a little below their average. And don’t just pick a school because you feel it is the only one you are qualified for.
What I’m trying to say here is that you should choose which college feels right for you because you’ll be spending years at that school. Choose which school you think will make you flourish; I wish you the best of luck!
Related Post: What Are Good Schools That Are Easy to Get Into?
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.