What is the Average Grade Point Average (GPA), ACT and/or SAT Scores for Students Accepted into College?

While students who are preparing to enter college have a plethora of important questions that they want answered, one of the most primary pertains to the average GPA of individuals who are accepted into the college from which they are seeking admission. Questions regarding average GPA’s are important because GPA’s can be the factor that determines whether or not one gains admittance into reputable college. By reading the information below, you can gain information regarding the average test scores that colleges accept.

GPA-The Basics

A GPA (which is an acronym for grade point average) is the calculated average of the grades you earn. The scale follows a 0 to 4.0 or 5.0 scale. Each semester, you earn a GPA based on your grades from that semester. Throughout the duration of your high school career, you’ll earn a cumulative GPA. The cumulative GPA is an ongoing average which represents your average based on each semester that you’ve completed.

In order to determine what type of GPA you need to earn in order to gain admittance to a college, it’s a good idea to know what the average GPA for acceptance is. While many colleges accept a GPA of 3.0 from freshmen and transfer students, they will oftentimes consider applicants with lower grades. On a national level, maintaining a B average has become somewhat standard. As you climb the college ladder in terms of selectivity, you will note that the more competitive institutions expect applicants to have at least a B as their minimum GPA. These institutions will also be analyzing the applications of students who have earned B+, A–, and A averages.

To gain a better understanding of the GPAs required by specific schools, you can review the list below:

1. Bucknell University
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.49

2. Carnegie Mellon University
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.64

3. Colgate University
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.72

4. Johns Hopkins University
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.68

5. New York University
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.6

6. Reed College
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.8

7. University of Pennsylvania
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.86

8. University of Southern California
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.8

9. Vanderbilt University
Average GPA of students admitted: 3.7

If you are attempting to gain certainty that your GPA score will help you gain admittance to the college of your choice, it is a good idea to speak with a representative from the educational institution’s admissions office. By learning what their GPA requirements are, you can plan to earn the grades necessary to gain admittance.

SAT Requirements For College

In addition to analyzing a student’s GPA when determining whether she or he will gain admittance to an educational institution, the admissions office will consider the student’s ACT scores. In order to be considered “elite” or “highly selective,” a college must keep its SAT numbers high. With that idea in mind, it’s important to understand what the SAT consists of while also grasping what type of score colleges consider to be competitive. The SAT exam is comprised of three components: Critical Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. SAT scores for each component of the exam will range from 200-800, meaning that the highest score one can attain is 2400. Studies indicate that the average score for every component of the exam is about 500, making the total average score around 1500. In gauging the results of the 1.66 million tests taken in 2013, results indicated that the average scores were 488 for writing, 514 for math, and 496 for critical reading.

Below you will find a list of schools including the middle range of SAT scores that they accept. This means that 50% of the individuals accepted into these institutions earned an SAT score falling within the range listed. In analyzing the list, note that 25% of the students admitted to the colleges scored lower than the middle range listed. In some cases, the writing scores are not listed. This omission results from the fact that the writing component of the test is still relatively new, and several institutions do not consider it when evaluating applications.

1. Harvard
Critical Reading: 700 – 800
Mathematics: 710 – 790
Writing: 710 – 800

2. MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Critical Reading: 670 – 770
Mathematics: 740 – 800
Writing: 680 – 780

3. Middlebury
Critical Reading: 640 – 740
Mathematics: 650 – 740
Writing: 650 – 760

4. Pomona
Critical Reading: 680 – 770
Mathematics: 680 – 760
Writing: 680 – 780

5. Stanford
Critical Reading: 680 – 780
Mathematics: 700 – 790
Writing: 700 – 780

Critical Reading: 560 – 690
Mathematics: 610 – 740
Writing: 590 – 710

Because the SAT score requirements for college admissions will vary from institution to institution, it is a good idea for you to contact the admissions office of the school you plan to attend and ask what their requirements are. You can also view the SAT and GPA graphs of more colleges here.


If you are thinking about attending college, you should know that earning a competitive GPA and SAT score can help you gain admittance. By considering the information regarding the average GPA and SAT scores listed above, you can make an informed decision regarding what type of scores you need to earn in order to get into the school of your choice.