based on an article written by Justin Berkman for Prepschollar
Generally, the better your grades, the more college options you’ll have. However, some students a re under the false impression that you need straight As in order to get into a wonderful college. Students stress and worry that a few Bs will sentence them to an inferior university.
Fortunately, getting Bs won’t prevent you from being able to go to a good school. There are a number of excellent colleges that admit B students. We’ll provide a list of 29 of the best colleges for B students and explain how to find a good college if you’re a B student.
If you’re at the end of your junior year or the beginning of your senior year and you have mostly Bs on your transcript, don’t freak out: you can still gain admission to an excellent college.
Since super selective colleges will likely be a big reach for you, you might want to set your sights on quality schools that are significantly less selective. For example, Stanford only admits around 4% of its applicants, and its average admitted student has a high school GPA of 3.96/4.00. By contrast, the University of Michigan has an acceptance rate of 20%, and the average admitted student here has a GPA of 3.88/4.00.
As a B student, you might have trouble getting into schools in the top 50 on the US News and Forbes rankings lists; however, you might have a decent chance of getting into a school in the top 100. Considering there are over 3,000 four-year colleges in the U.S., the #100 college is still better than over 99% of colleges in the US.
For instance, according to our admissions calculator for Indiana University Bloomington, a student with a 3.74 GPA and a 28 ACT composite score would have about a 50% chance of getting accepted.
How Much Do Your Grades Matter for College Applications?
It should go without saying that your grades are a huge factor in determining your college options. In fact, grades are one of the most important factors colleges use when deciding whether to admit you.
According to a 2019 study on the state of college admission conducted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), 75% of colleges believe that overall GPA and grades in college prep courses are considerably important admission factors. Meanwhile, test scores from the ACT, SAT, etc., are deemed considerably important by only about 46% of colleges surveyed. This indicates that grades are by far one of the most important factors in college admission.
It’s not just grades that mean something, though; colleges also want to see that you’re challenging yourself with difficult courses. According to the NACAC study, 84% of colleges deem the rigor of a student’s course load at least moderately important. In other words, just getting good grades isn’t enough—you also need to get good grades in tough classes.
Although you can still get into a great college as a B student, if you have any extra time before your college applications are due, we recommend using it to try to improve your grades.
Not All B Students Are Created Equal
Colleges take many factors into account when determining admissions, including grades, classes, standardized test scores, extracurriculars, recommendations, and the personal statement.
All else being equal, a student who got all Bs in regular classes is going to be much less qualified than a student who got all B+’s in mostly honors and AP classes. Generally, this is reflected in your weighted GPA, which weighs harder courses more heavily than regular classes. So in this example, the student with straight Bs would receive a 3.0 GPA, and the student with straight B+’s (assuming they took four honors classes out of six total classes) would get a 3.97 GPA.
That said, you can compensate for lower grades by excelling in other areas. For example, if you had a 3.4 weighted GPA and a 33 ACT score, you’d probably be able to get into much more selective schools than would a student who has the same GPA as you and a 27 ACT score.
Also, you might be able to make up for lower grades if you exhibit exceptional achievement in your extracurriculars. If you’re an Olympic-level athlete or a successful entrepreneur, you might be able to gain admission into the most selective colleges—even with some Bs on your transcript.
Overall, if you’re a B student but want to get into highly selective colleges, focus on ensuring that all other components of your college applications are as strong as possible.