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Articles / Applying to College / Is 3.0 GPA Too Low for U. of Miami?

Sept. 30, 2010

Is 3.0 GPA Too Low for U. of Miami?

Question: I'm a senior with a 3.0 GPA, and I'm worried that it is too low for acceptance to the University Of Miami. Is it?

According to the College Board, about 4% of U. of Miami entering freshmen had a high school GPA between 3.0 and 3.24, and 1% were between 2.5 and 2.99. The vast majority (87%) were at 3.5 or above.

So ... your GPA is definitely low for Miami ... possibly too low. BUT, some extenuating circumstances might apply.

-Do you have a rising record? In other words, maybe you had some C's and D's in 9th and 10th grade but only A's and B's as a junior. So your grades in your younger years will drag down your GPA, but if you did well in 11th grade and get off to a very strong start this fall, admission committees won't put as much weight on your first couple years in high school.

-Are you an underrepresented minority student? Are you from a disadvantaged background? Have you had to overcome any huge obstacles (e.g., family problems, physical disabilities)? If you can answer yes to any of these, admission officials may cut you some slack when it comes to your low GPA.

-Do you attend a school where A's are uncommon? Some high schools, particularly private ones, aren't very generous with A's, so a B average can put you up towards the top of your class.

-Are you a recruited athlete or do you have any unique talents? Probably not or you would have said so, but sometimes these "hooks" can help admission committees to see beyond the GPA.

You don't mention your SAT or ACT scores, but these will play a big role in your admission verdict, too, especially with your GPA on the low side. If U. of Miami is your dream school, you should definitely apply, but be sure that you have other, safer options on your list as well.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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