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Understanding the Process of Raising Your GPA


If your GPA is clearly not competitive or is below the suggested benchmarks for admission, you may wonder if it’s still possible to recover and rehabilitate your GPA.  Early intervention is critical. 

One important basic principle:  the more credit hours you have acquired, the more credit hours with higher grades it will take to raise your GPA.  If you have fewer credit hours, you can more quickly raise your GPA to a desired level with fewer additional credit hours.

  • As an example, if you have 15 credit hours with a 2.7 GPA, you could raise your GPA above a 3.3 in just one more semester if you were to earn all A’s.  However, if you have 90 credit hours with a 2.7 GPA and only 32 credit hours left before graduation, even if you were to become a straight A student you would barely bring your GPA to above a 3.0.
  • It’s also important to consider your science GPA.  If your science grades are generally lower than your nonscience grades, it means that you may have an even more serious problem – your science GPA will be lower than your cumulative GPA, and it may be even lower than you realize.  Some applicants discover that although they have admissible cumulative GPA's, their science GPA's are lower than the acceptable minimums for admission to medical school and many health programs.
  • As another example, let’s say that you have just finished your first semester of your freshman year, and you did okay, but you ended up with a 3.0 cumulative GPA. You have 15 credit hours. You realize that you have not been working to your potential at all, and you become a very different, much more serious, student. Over the course of the next three semesters you maintain an A- average in all your classes, with an average GPA of 3.7 for those semesters. With 45 credit hours over the course of three semesters at a 3.7 GPA, you could end your sophomore year with above a 3.5 GPA. If you continued to maintain a similar level of performance for another year, you could end your junior year with a GPA at or near 3.6.  

As these examples illustrate, the earlier you take action and change directions, the more possibility remains that you can raise your GPA to a given competitive level.  By junior year, if a student’s GPA is far below the suggested benchmarks for admission, the chance for raising the GPA by much has dwindled away.

You can project your future GPA by using the calculators on the GPA calculator page.