What Is A Bad GPA And How Can You Have A Good Score?

A student’s GPA, or grade point average, shows a student’s performance at the high school or college level. While a 3.0–4.0 GPA is generally considered good, what is a bad GPA?

A bad GPA falls between 1.5 – 2.5. It means the student has poor study habits or took on coursework they could not handle. 

However, it is important to note that having a bad GPA in high school is not the end of the world. You can do things to increase your chances of getting into college.

If you want to know what to do with a bad grade point average, how to up your GPA or get into college with a low GPA, then this article is for you. 

What is a bad GPA?

According to the United States education standard, a bad GPA is between 1.5 – 2.5. This is because most colleges admit students with an average of 3.0 or higher.

However, having a bad grade point average doesn’t mean you are not intelligent. It could be because you took hard classes or could not focus completely due to unforeseen circumstances.

How can you increase your GPA?

If you are still in high school, it is not too late; you can still get a good GPA before applying for college.

Below is a guide to help you increase your chances of getting a better GPA as a freshman, sophomore, 11th grader, or 12th grader.

1. Dedicate time and effort to studying more

student studying - lmshero

The first habit you must adopt is to dedicate time and effort to studying. The more you familiarize yourself with each topic, the more you are confident during tests or exams.

A common mistake among students is trying to take in everything a few days before a test or exam. That should not be your case; review all you’ve learned so far every week.

By doing weekly reviews, you will slowly understand each topic better. This way, when it’s time for tests or exams, you are more relaxed; all you need to do is brush up on what you already know. 

2. Get a tutor for extra help

If you struggle with your grades, you should not hesitate to ask for help. Talk to your teachers or parents about getting extra help for your studies. I believe they would be more than happy to help you with that.

You can also ask for help from senior colleagues that you know can help give you a little insight on these topics you find challenging.

3. Prioritize your studies more than other activities

If you feel that you are becoming overwhelmed by other activities, then take time to review your situation. Try to prioritize your studies first before other things. 

That shouldn’t stop you from partaking in sports or other extracurricular activities. Ensure you study adequately before dedicating most of your time to these activities.

How can you boost your chances of getting into college with a bad GPA?

Below are a few things you can do to boost your chances of getting into college with a bad GPA.

1. Study hard to get a good SAT score

SAT, or scholastic aptitude test, is a standardized test that shows how you rank compared to other students nationwide. Getting a good SAT score will strongly improve your candidacy.

2. Boost your non-academic skills or talents

Colleges are impressed with extracurricular activities or achievements. Show them that aside from your grades, you have other amazing talents to offer them.

Do you play sports? Are you into theatre, music, or art? Do you have hobbies building machines? Do not be afraid to highlight these skills in your application letter.

3. Explain yourself in your application essay

Your application can also explain why you had poor grades in high school. State the specific reasons to give them a context of your situation.

Did your grade suffer because of health issues? Or was it because of a crisis at home? Whether personal or financial, remember to state this in your essay and your recommendation letter.

Does a bad GPA ruin your chances of getting into college?

No, it does not.

A bad or low GPA does not hinder you from college. In fact, several colleges are willing to accept people with low-grade point averages.

Below is a list of reputable universities that accept GPAs lower than 3.0 in the United States and worldwide.

In the United States

  • Southern New Hampshire University
  • American Intercontinental University
  • Colorado State University Global Campus.

Around the world

  • Capilano University
  • Heriot-Watt University Dubai
  • Institution of Technology Carlow.

You can also apply to colleges that require no GPA. Some reputable ones are;

1. Goucher College: You will only be required to send a 2 minutes video about yourself. This is for you to convince them that you deserve admission.

2. Bennington College: You must send a self-curated collection of your work. It is expected to show off your creative and intellectual abilities.

3. Bard College: You must answer several college-level essay questions first.

Other alternatives

You can also look into some alternate options, such as;

1. Consider an online education

Online education has gained popularity over the years; you can consider applying to an online university. University of the People tends to be a good option; it is fully online and offers some scholarships.

This university believes in education as a human right, making it easy and accessible for everyone. The only requirement needed for this university is a certificate of high school completion and English proficiency.

2. Go to community college first

Another alternate option is to go to community college first and then transfer to a top college affiliated with that community college after a year or two. 

Many colleges affiliate themselves with community colleges so students can earn an associate degree. Once this is done, admission into the college is guaranteed. This method is often described as the 2 + 2 program.


What is a good GPA?

A good grade point average is one between 3.0 – 4.0.

What is a good GPA to gain admission into Harvard?

For Harvard, a good GPA is above 3.75.

What is a bad GPA for a college first semester?

A bad GPA for college’s first semester is lower than 2.0. It places you on probation, and may be dismissed from the college without improvement.

Does a bad GPA ruin your life?

No, it does not.

However, you can improve your grades if you can be more hard-working.

Is a 2.8 GPA bad in freshman year?

No, it is not.

But you must be more focused and hard-working to get a better GPA before graduating high school.

Conclusion: What is a bad GPA?

A bad grade point average typically falls below the 2.5 mark. If you fall under this category and are still in high school, you can do a lot to help bring those grades up.

However, a few reputable colleges can admit you even with a bad grade if you seek to get into college. I have also listed above in this article other alternate options you can try out.

I hope you enjoyed this article; if you did, you should also see if a 3.5 GPA is good and what to do with it.

Thanks for reading.