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What GPA do you need to get a full scholarship?

Scholarships
Written by Gabrielle Punzalan
Updated: November 7, 2022
6 min read
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With financial aid being so competitive, you often may need a certain GPA to get a scholarship. A scholarship application will commonly ask applicants to meet certain thresholds to be eligible, especially for full-ride scholarships. The list of qualifications is standard for every scholarship, including a variety of qualifications such as test scores, extracurricular activities, class rank, etc.

For students aiming to get a full-ride scholarship, the scholarship may often require applicants to meet a minimum GPA in order to apply. A high GPA is a big factor in even being seriously considered as a candidate. It's something that high school students cultivate leading up to their senior year and what college students must maintain to stay eligible for certain forms of financial aid.

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So, what GPA do you need to get a full scholarship?

The short answer is that it varies. Every scholarship is different, and there are many types of full-ride scholarships to consider. Your grade point average is one of the qualifications that holds great weight in the decisions of scholarship providers. Depending on who's offering the scholarship money, the minimum GPA required may either be higher or lower on the 4.0 scale. While GPA may be a critical factor in these scholarships, there are other scholarships available that are open to students regardless of their GPA!

No matter what GPA you have or what academic background you're coming from, winning scholarships is possible. On Bold.org, a leading platform for financial aid and student resources, you can access hundreds of scholarship opportunities that aren't offered anywhere else. Sign up today to begin applying and earning funding! Furthermore, check out the current best full-ride scholarships to apply for!

Can I get a full-ride scholarship with a 4.0 GPA?

Studies have shown that the average GPA among high school students has gone up over the years. In the year 2009, the average GPA for high school was 3.0. In 2017, the average GPA went up to 3.38, showing that the high school GPA has been steadily rising over the past decade. Having a high GPA is becoming more attainable for students but attaining the perfect 4.0 GPA is still a hard-won battle that not many scholarship applicants can boast.

Full-ride scholarships that are merit-based are awarded to students based on academic excellence, which a student's GPA score is a big indicator of. A 4.0 Grade Point Average is not only a high GPA, but it's also an impressive GPA that's sure to catch the eyes of many scholarship providers. Since the minimum GPA for a full-ride scholarship is usually set at 3.5, a 4.0 is sure to always be above and beyond what's required.

Keep in mind that while a strong GPA does help, it's not the only deciding factor. The scholarship review committee will also evaluate your other qualifications such as test scores, extracurricular activities, leadership skills, etc. Be sure your application is well-rounded rather than solely depending on your GPA to carry you through the application process.

Can I get a full-ride scholarship with a 3.0 GPA?

Can I get a full-ride scholarship with a 3.0 GPA?

Although a strong GPA helps increase your chances of getting a full-ride scholarship, you don't need a perfect 4.0 to be qualified. In fact, GPA requirements are most commonly set at a 3.0 average, with what's considered to be a "good GPA" typically being a score between 3.5 and 3.8.

Not all scholarships require students to have such a high GPA. Of course, what GPA score qualifies you for a full-ride scholarship still differs from one scholarship application to the next.

Grade point average is only one possible indicator showing high academic achievement. There are many other ways to showcase your rigor that scholarship applications will also look for. However, if you are trying to apply for full-ride scholarships with anything below a 3.0, there are other types of scholarships that you would probably have a better shot at.

If you want to improve your GPA, the high school classes you take matter. Focus on the core classes necessary for your current school year. Utilize the time and resources you have, such as meeting with a tutor or study group. Contact your guidance counselor about setting goals and making a game plan toward achieving the GPA you desire.

Additionally, you can always find scholarships on Bold.org that are specific to your GPA. For example, you can check out this list of scholarships exclusively for students with 3.5 GPAs.

How hard is it to get a full-ride scholarship?

Full-ride scholarships are reserved for the top-qualified students and are rare to receive. Since these scholarships are competitive, most students who qualify with their GPA and apply can still end up not being selected.

This is because a high GPA is only one piece of the puzzle that makes an exceptional scholarship application. There are many other factors to consider in order to be the best possible candidate for a full ride.

Full-ride scholarships awarded based on merit won't only be looking at your GPA to determine your academic rigor. An academic scholarship requires students to also provide exceptional academic credentials and standardized test scores. A strong list of academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and leadership skills are sure to make an even stronger scholarship application.

How hard is it to get a full-ride scholarship?

If you want to learn how to increase your chances when applying for full-ride scholarships, read this guide on how to earn a full-ride scholarship.

Not everyone who applies is guaranteed a full-ride scholarship, especially with so few of them being offered. Students who want to look for alternatives to a full-ride scholarship should try using Bold.org. A simple search of the Bold.org scholarship page can find hundreds of possible scholarships where you can apply to as many scholarship opportunities as you want.

By applying for many scholarships on Bold.org, you increase your chances of getting financial aid. If you win several, you can even pool the scholarship money to closely match the value of a full-ride scholarship.

This scholarship platform also provides the chance to create your own scholarship.

Frequently asked questions about full-ride scholarships

What is a full-ride scholarship?

A full-ride scholarship is a type of financial aid award that helps college students pay for attending college. This coveted scholarship covers tuition and other necessary college costs in full, and the scholarship money does not have to be repaid. A full-ride scholarship is an opportunity for students in financial need to pursue their higher education with little to no student debt after graduation.

The vast majority of full-ride scholarship opportunities are merit-based scholarships, where the student's grade point average is their biggest leverage. Full tuition scholarships are also a type of partial full-ride scholarship. While a full tuition scholarship covers tuition only, some other full-ride scholarships can even cover the cost of room and board, study abroad, or a monthly stipend for personal expenses.

To learn more about what exactly a full-ride scholarship is, read this guide!

What is the lowest GPA to get a scholarship?

What is the lowest GPA to get a scholarship?

Many scholarship requirements have in place a minimum GPA to limit the applicant pool. Usually, the range for more lenient GPA requirements limits eligibility to a 2.0 grade point average on the lower end (and a 3.5 on the higher end). While having a lower GPA of around 2.0 or below is unlikely to get you a full-ride scholarship that is merit-based, other full-ride scholarships exist with more lenient GPA criteria.

Athletic scholarships from the NCAA are also full-ride scholarships but are very rare. Only about 2% of high school athletes are awarded financial aid to compete in college. However, student-athletes actually have a great advantage when it comes to calculating their Grade Point Average for scholarship eligibility.

Athletic scholarships require students going to Division I and II schools to have at least a 2.0 GPA but the NCAA calculates GPA based only on the grades earned in NCAA-approved core courses.

You can even find scholarship opportunities on Bold.org that may be a better fit for you and your GPA. You can find GPA scholarships with 2022 deadlines on this list and you can even find scholarships for students with 2.0 GPA's in this guide.

For even more scholarships, including non-GPA-based opportunities, browse through the list of exclusive Bold.org scholarships today!

Gabrielle Punzalan

About Gabrielle

Gabrielle is currently studying English with a focus on Professional Writing at the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Kennesaw State University. It was at KSU that she also earned her Creative Writing Certificate from the College of Professional Education in 2020. 

She also works with the KSU English Department as an Accessibility Assistant to help faculty make teaching materials accessible for online learning. With her credentials, she has written and edited numerous articles and blogs over the years. On her path to become a well-rounded writer, Gabrielle has had essays and scholarly research published in both book anthologies and institutional repositories with works such as Love Yourself: Essays on self-love, care and healing and the KSU Symposium of Student Scholars. 

She has built a writing portfolio with other exemplary works throughout her professional career. She shares expert knowledge and creates articles on scholarships, education, and personal finance for both college students and graduates alike. As a current student herself, she takes pride in sharing important information that can also help others in their own academic and financial journeys. In her free time, she enjoys writing and reading stories, cooking, filming vlogs, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.

Gabrielle is no longer with the Bold.org Writing Team, but we continue to value and appreciate her contributions.

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