It’s important to be aware of the constraints your grades in high school might place on you in the college application process. If you have a B average, you’re doing fairly well, but you might consider making some changes to your academic strategies to have a better shot at reaching your goals.
In this article, I’ll go over what a B average is and what you should do if you have one depending on where you are in your high school career.
What Is a B Average, and Can It Get You into College?
A B average corresponds to a 3.0 GPA
, which is about
average for a high school student.
Keep in mind that this is the average for ALL high school students, not just students who plan on attending college.
Measured against other students who are applying to college, a 3.0 GPA is lower than average.
According to our database, only 21.3 percent of colleges have average GPAs for admitted students that are lower than a 3.0.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll have trouble finding a school that will accept you, but it does mean
you’ll have to target less selective options.
If you’re hoping to get into a competitive college program,
you may want to work on improving your GPA.
I’ll go over some strategies for this in the next section.
How Can You Improve Your Chances of College Admission If You Have a B Average?
If you’re still a freshman or sophomore, you have time to
raise your GPA
, so you should think about adopting better study habits if you want to attend a more selective college.
If you’re a junior or senior, you don’t have much time to improve your grades.
In this case, focus on other aspects of your college application like standardized test scores. Here’s some advice for each of these scenarios:
If You Have Time to Raise Your Grades:
Using effective study strategies is critical for improving your grades.
Tests are stressful, and if you aren’t totally comfortable with the material you might get anxious and end up with a grade that doesn’t reflect your true abilities. The best way to avoid this is to
spread out your studying over a longer period of time
so that you can fully absorb the information.
The goal is for the material to be embedded deeply in your mind rather than floating perilously on the edge of your memory (which is what happens when you cram!).
Try studying for an hour every night during the week before a test rather than studying for five hours the night before.
You should also make sure you’re getting the most out of your study sessions, which means enlisting someone else to quiz you after you’ve reviewed everything on your own.
As someone with a B average, you’re already doing something right with your study strategies. You probably know most of the material fairly well before each test, but you’re not pushing yourself to the point of complete understanding.
In order to take your grades from good to great, you will have to be vigilant about filling small gaps in your knowledge.
The difference between a B and an A is your performance on the most complex aspects of a test or assignment. You may need to add an extra hour or two to your studying to give yourself enough time to reach that higher level.
And if you need to eat some ice cream to get through the extra studying, so be it.
If you’re working on raising your grades,
procrastination is the enemy.
Waiting until the last minute to complete assignments means that you don’t have time to edit or polish your work, and you’ll probably turn in a final product that doesn’t
reflect your abilities.
I’d recommend making a timeline with checkpoints for completing portions of long term projects to keep yourself on schedule.
y to finish all the most labor-intensive parts of a project a week before it’s due so that you have a significant amount of time to reassess your work and see if you need to make any adjustments. Don’t forget to read directions carefully, and be sure to include everything you need to earn the most credit (and extra credit if available!). This final effort is often the difference between B-quality work and A-quality work.
Step Up in Class
This is the one of the most fundamental tips I can give you.
a point of paying attention in class and asking and answering questions whenever possible.
This will help to reinforce your knowledge of the subject and make studying much less of a pain.
If you pay close attention in class, you will already have a better understanding of the material that’s on your next test.
When you study, you’ll be starting from a more informed position, and the whole process will be less stressful.
Some things that you thought you had to study might already be ingrained in your memory because you were listening when your teacher went over them in class.
If you’re already someone who pays attention and participates in class, which many B students are, you might think about taking this a step further.
It can be really helpful to start taking detailed notes in your classes, especially in subjects where there’s a lot of information to remember.
If you take notes, you’ll get dual reinforcement of the information from both auditory and visual sources. This might be the extra push you need to get the most out of your time in class, especially if you’re more of a visual learner.
If you can raise your GPA to a 3.2 (which is a very manageable goal!), you will be a competitive applicant at
more than double the number of schools
you were competitive for at a 3.0.
On the flip side, if you let your grades slip and end up with a 2.8 GPA, you will be competitive for
less than half the number of schools
than with a 3.0. Don’t let that happen!
Don’t freeze on me now…
If You Don’t Have Time to Raise Your Grades:
Study for the SAT and ACT
Standardized test scores contribute strongly to your chances of admission at most colleges.
In many cases, they are nearly as important as your GPA.
If it’s too late in the game for you to improve your grades, raising your standardized test scores is the best way to impress colleges.
Check out some of our other articles for advice on how to
formulate a study plan
improve your scores
significantly before the next test date.
Plan Out Your Application Essays
Another way to improve your chances of admission is to
make sure that your college essays are well-thought-out and meaningful.
I would recommend that you
start planning your essays
well in advance if possible, ideally at the beginning of the summer before senior year. This will give you more time to brainstorm what makes you unique and how you’ll contribute positively to a college community.
Colleges are looking for students who are passionate about academic subjects and extracurricular activities.
If you have a special perspective that you can offer on something that’s important to you, make sure you showcase it in your essay.
It would be cool if you could just set up an adorably quaint workspace like this and your essay would write itself.
What Other Options Do You Have for College With a B Average?
If you know that it’s too late to do much to improve your grades before you apply to college, you have a few options.
A 3.0 GPA means that you’ll be
a competitive applicant at many colleges
, though you may have to lower your expectations to accommodate less selective institutions.
See our information page on
what colleges you can get into with a 3.0 GPA
for a better idea of where you stand. College is definitely within reach, so you shouldn’t worry about being universally rejected if you choose your schools responsibly.
Another option that many students don’t think about is
going to a community college for a year and then transferring out to a more selective institution.
Your grades are high enough to get into a regular four-year college, but you could potentially earn a degree from an even better school and graduate with less debt if you go the community college route initially.
If you get good grades during your time in community college, you could leverage them into a transfer spot at a more competitive school.
This strategy will benefit both your wallet and your ultimate job prospects if you’re willing to put in the hard work during your first year of college and take initiative in the
transfer application process.
You’ll save a whole suitcase of money if you go to community college for a year. Probably. It depends on the denominations.
If you have a B average in high school, you’ll be able to get into a number of less selective institutions. However,
if you want to improve your chances of admission at competitive schools, you should work on raising your GPA.
If it’s too late for you to make changes to your GPA, work on
raising your standardized test scores and crafting a great application essay
You might consider going to community college for a year and then transferring to a more selective school to finish up your degree, but you can also apply to less selective four-year colleges.
If you’re still a freshman or sophomore, keep working hard to improve your grades!
Even a small improvement can make a big difference in the college admissions process.
The wider your range of college options, the more likely it is that you’ll find a school that’s perfect for you.
Check out our list of
awesome colleges for B students
Still working on choosing your classes for the upcoming year or semester? Read our expert guide on
which classes you should take in high school.
Have there been significant changes in your grades from year to year? Find out
which year of high school is most important when it comes to college applications.
What do colleges actually look at when it comes to your GPA? Read this article to
learn more about weighted and unweighted GPAs in the college application process.