What Are The Average Grade Point Average (GPA), ACT and/or SAT Scores For Students Accepted Into College?

satThe average SAT scores and GPA levels for students being admitted to college varies every year, and is heavily dependent on the types of schools being considered. If you want to get into a top school with financial aid and/or scholarships, you will have to aim for high scores in your SAT, SAT IIs, and a very good GPA. On the other hand, if you are applying to state or community colleges, your requirements will be far lower. Here is a look at the average test scores/GPAs for college, and the higher requirements for elite schools.

Community College

Most community colleges do not have a SAT requirement, which means that you can get in with pretty much any kind of score. Similarly, their GPA requirements are very lax. You can get into community college with a 3.0 or even a 2.5 GPA. Many students use community colleges to set a high college GPA before transferring to a two or four year institution.

State Schools

If your only aim is to get into college, then average test scores and a decent GPA will be enough to get you accepted. Over the past few years, most college accept students who get accepted to state schools will have a GPA of between 3.0 to 3.8, with the average being around 3.5 or 3.6. For example, North Carolina State University’s 2012 class had an average unweighted GPA of 3.65 in high school. The mid 50% range of GPAs was 3.47 to 3.86. Most of these students were in the top 20% of their classes. The average SAT scores for students was 1791, with the mid 50% range being 1680 to 1900.

The NC State numbers are a one off example, but can be used to predict admissions for most highly rated state schools. NC State is not a top tier school, or comparable to top liberal arts schools, but it is very good among state schools. If you are shooting to get accepted at such an institution, you should be aiming for a GPA of at least 3.5 with a SAT score of between 1600 to 2000.

Ivy League

If you are aiming to attend an Ivy League institution, there is no doubt that you will have to be exemplary in high school. For example, the average scope of accepted students at Brown University in 2012 highlights the types of achievements that are necessary to get in. The graph in this link  shows that most students have a near perfect 4.0 GPA, with SAT scores ranging from 2070 to 2400. A similar graph for the University of Pennsylvania shows students setting GPAs between 4.0 and 3.7, with SAT scores between 1900 to 2400.

Top Liberal Arts Institutions

Two elite liberal arts institutions, Vassar College and Amherst College, both have an intense criteria for getting admission. For Vassar, the average SAT score from students is 2000-2100. The average GPA for admitted students is at an A-, or around 3.6/3.7.
Amherst has slightly higher requirements, with an average SAT score of 2100-2200, with an average GPA of 3.8 or 3.9.
Getting into one of these institutions is almost as hard as the Ivy Leagues, and it shows just how well you have to do in high school in order to be considered for admission.

The type of SAT score and GPA you set in high school will play a huge role in where you go to college. Students who get a GPA of 3.2 and a SAT score of 1600 will not get in anywhere besides an average state school. On the flip side, students with a 4.0 and a 2200 or 2300 on the SAT will have their pick of elite schools to choose from.