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A California College Guide for the B- Student

There are plenty of students with less than a B average looking to attend a 4-year college. Fortunately, there are many good choices among California's public and private schools. One of our two public university systems, the California State University system (CSU), requires only a minimum 2.0 GPA to apply. (The University of California system requires a 3.0 or higher.) While the average student accepted at each of the 23 CSU campuses has above a 3.0*, there is tremendous disparity among admitted students at individual campuses. For example, the most competitive CSU campuses include Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Diego State, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach whose admitted students, respectively, averaged GPAs of 3.92, 3.69, 3.53, and 3.52. Cal State campuses at East Bay, Dominguez Hills, and Northridge admitted students with the lowest average GPAs, respectively 3.1, 3.13, and 3.18. Admits at the remaining 16 campuses fell somewhere in between. Most of California's private colleges and universities have no minimum GPA requirements and, therefore, have greater flexibility in their admissions processes. Some of those that B- students might want to look into include the following:

  • University of the Pacific

  • Biola

  • Cal Lutheran

  • Dominican

  • St. Mary's of California

  • Mount St. Mary's

  • Mills

  • Whittier

  • Pepperdine

  • Fresno Pacific

Remember that the GPA is only one element that colleges look at in the decision-making process. You will increase your odds of getting into any school by strengthening the other parts of your application. A lower than average GPA may be offset by high test scores, character traits, extenuating circumstances, extracurricular activities, or a special talent/ability.

*The average student applying to college has above a 3.0 GPA.


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