14 A + Schools for B Students

Ana-Marcela Lopez / Colleges of Distinction »

The college admissions process is challenging at best and toxic at worst. At the young ages of 16 or 17, students are required to juggle classes, sports, clubs, family, part-time jobs, and more—all while organizing their goals and dreams in uniform college applications. If you’ve thought about college or are in the process of applying, you’ve started to learn terms like GPA, class rank, early decision, rolling admissions, etc. It might feel like you’re learning a new language on top of applying for college! One term that is pervasive in the college application process is “A student vs. B student.”

What Is a “B Student?” 

For over 20 years, Colleges of Distinction has been breaking past traditional methods of ranking schools, and the same goes for the students that attend them. While there’s always more to a student than just their grade, it is certainly possible to categorize students according to their academic achievement. A student’s status as A, B, or C student depends on their high school GPA:

A+ 4.0
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0

So if your GPA falls in the range of 3.0-3.3, you are a B student! So what does this mean for your college applications? Well, it depends! 

How Much Do Grades Matter? 

Typically, high school grades and entrance exams are important considerations in the application process. In a 2018 survey conducted by the National Association of College Counseling (NACAC), 81% of colleges reported that grades in all high school courses were “considerably important.” Generally, high school grades have been used as predictors of a student’s success in college. This explains why GPAs are considered in the admissions process. Thus, a student’s status as an A, B, or C student does have an impact on the college admissions process. 

But this isn’t to say that it is the most important consideration, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted attention away from grades and standardized test scores. Some schools have even adopted a “test-optional” policy! Don’t be afraid to call your prospective schools and inquire about their COVID-19 admissions policies. 

How to Improve Your Standing as a B Student. 

You can always improve your standing by striving for higher grades. Boosting your GPA is a great way to prove to schools that you have the chops for their rigorous programming. But if you’re a junior or senior, you might lack the necessary time. That’s okay. There are other ways to stand out in your application:

What Really Matters to a College of Distinction?

The Colleges of Distinction cohort features schools that are both well known to the general public as well as others that aren’t. But every school profiled has been honored for excellence and is highly recommended by those ‘in the know’ about college education. These colleges put student success above notions of prestige or a number on a rankings list. These A schools feature rigorous programs, but consider students from all academic backgrounds and experiences. While these schools may not be on traditional rankings lists, they provide an A+ student experience. 

14 A + Schools: 

1. Adelphi University

Why it’s a great school: 

Adelphi University provides students with a personalized education that fully prepares them for successful, fulfilling careers. Adelphi students graduate with the knowledge and ability to compete and excel in their chosen fields and address the needs of their communities. Internships, many of them paid, are central to an Adelphi education and help students refine their career objectives, make connections, and gain work experience.

How you can get in: 

Adelphi believes in a holistic evaluation of your application and supporting documents. That means the admissions team considers your experiences, your determination, and your potential contributions to your community in addition to your academic scores. Exemptions and additional requirements are determined on a case-by-case basis by the Office of University Admissions.

2. Alvernia University 

Why it’s a great school: 

Alvernia offers a unique blend of rigorous liberal arts core education for development of the mind, strong technical training in many high-demand majors, experiential learning through study abroad and internship experiences, and engagement with the community through a Franciscan-based community service model. The university calls this model of transformational education the Alvernia Advantage, a style of education that transforms students into ethical leaders with moral courage.

How you can get in: 

Alvernia staff provide personalized attention for each student and family to ensure they are fully engaged, aware, and understanding of the best options for college success. Gaining admission to Alvernia is based on a detailed review of each applicant, with consideration given to their accomplishments, goals, and potential impact within the university community.

3. Colorado College

Why it’s a great school: 

Colorado College offers intensive learning that expands through and beyond the Rocky Mountain West—an exceptional location where adventure threads into each day. The Block Plan, in which students take class at a time for 3 ½ weeks, facilitates small discussion-based classes where professors will know your name, encourage you to grow, and respect your stride. Master the art of balance with clubs, internships, work, athletics, community service, and adjuncts.

How you can get in:

Every year, Colorado College enrolls an academically accomplished student body that encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and backgrounds. The holistic evaluation process considers your academic work, writing, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, your unique talents and personal qualities, and testing (if you choose to submit test scores).

4. CSU Long Beach 

Why it’s a great school: 

California State University, Long Beach is dedicated to providing a high-quality education founded on the principles of superior teaching, research, and service for the people of California and the world. Motivated by the values of diversity, integrity, and service, CSU Long Beach strives to make its world-class education accessible and inclusive. The university looks to change lives by expanding educational opportunities, fostering creativity, and preparing future leaders.

How you can get in: 

Applicants are required to have a minimum “CSULB Index” to be considered. The “CSULB Index” is the result of a formula that combines your achievement in high school college preparatory courses. 3.0 GPA or greater in college preparatory subjects

5. DePaul University

Why it’s a great school: 

With over 300 undergraduate programs, the breadth of academic excellence at DePaul is vast and varied. The university’s world-class faculty are experts in their field who bring their years of experience to the classroom every day. Although DePaul’s faculty are conducting groundbreaking, award-winning research everyday, their biggest priority is the success of their students. Classes are small to maximize engagement between students and professors. Students are challenged to meet their potential and inspired to reach their goals.

How you can get in: 

DePaul University has been a test-optional university since 2012. Decide whether or not you would like to have your ACT or SAT test scores submitted as part of your application. The university also has a long history of evaluating test-optional candidates for both admission and academic scholarships. If you would like to discuss further the test-optional application option, please contact your admission counselor.

6. Evangel University 

Why it’s a great school: 

Offering more than 70 academic programs, Evangel University is on the cutting edge of today’s professional fields and vocational ministry training. Its commitment to the integration of faith, learning, and life attracts students from a wide variety of Christian backgrounds. These students have a strong commitment to academics and an even stronger desire to combine their Christian faith with every aspect of their lives.

How you can get in: 

Freshman applicants with an ACT score of 20+ or SAT score of 1030+ (ERW) and at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA are eligible for full admission. Test scores do not always paint a true reflection of students’ potential, so it is possible for applicants with lower test scores or GPAs also to be granted admission.

7. Florida Institute of Technology

Why it’s a great school: 

Founded in 1958—the same year as NASA and in the same county as Kennedy Space Center—Florida Tech has always been a university for students who shoot for the stars. Today, Florida Tech is a comprehensive national research university offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in aeronautics and aviation, business, engineering, computing, science and mathematics, psychology, communication, and the humanities. 

How you can get in: 

Florida Tech does not specify a minimum required grade point average, class rank, or standardized test score, but these elements are duly evaluated for admission and merit scholarship consideration. Highly qualified students may be offered merit scholarships that cover up to 50% of tuition.

8. Kennesaw State University

Why it’s a great school: 

At Kennesaw State, students experience a rigorous curriculum that prepares them for a lifetime of learning and meaningful work. Award-winning academic programs produce the highest number of teachers and nurses in Georgia as well as plenty of professional leaders through the state’s second-largest business school and the state’s second-largest engineering college. Popular majors include Nursing, Biology, Psychology, Communication, Management, and Computer Science. Every major at KSU has an experiential learning component, so students are prepared to apply their knowledge to real-world situations.

How you can get in: 

Prospective first year students for spring, summer, and fall 2021 can either 1) have 2.5 academic GPA and meet KSU’s minimum ACT/SAT scores or, 2) in the absence of ACT/SAT scores, have a minimum 2.6 academic GPA. Students must still meet all other admission requirements.

9. Lindenwood University 

Why it’s a great school: 

Founded in 1827, Lindenwood is a dynamic four-year institution dedicated to excellence in higher education. Students can choose from over 100 degree programs, each offering unique opportunities for research and professional development. Lindenwood’s rigorous curriculum and robust student life aim to develop the whole student. The university prides itself on its commitment to innovation, entrepreneurship, and student success. At Lindenwood, real experience means real success.

How you can get in: 

Lindenwood University’s commitment to holistic review of all applications, along with the enactment of becoming a test-optional institution shows its commitment to opening the door to a quality education for individuals who may not otherwise have the chance. This opportunity allows us to collaborate with high-achieving high school students who have showcased success, not only in the classroom but far beyond.

10. Loyola Marymount University 

Why it’s a great school: 

Located in sunny Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University is a Catholic institution dedicated to student success. LMU promotes both the intellectual and personal growth of each student. The University’s commitment to Catholicism drives a socially conscious mindset and students are taught to become contributing members of the global community.

How you can get in: 

Every year, LMU receives applications from thousands of bright, talented, and ambitious high school seniors. While a student’s academic record is the primary factor for consideration, we realize that student ability and potential can be demonstrated in many different ways. Some of the additional factors that we look at are: 

  • Writing ability (LMU requires all students to submit the LMU Supplemental Essay. Additionally, if you are applying through the Common Application, you must also submit a Personal Essay.)
  • Artistic and athletic accomplishments
  • Work or service-related endeavors
  • Co-curricular activities and achievements
  • Recommendations
  • National SAT/ACT test scores (test optional for fall 2021 through 2022)
  • Relationship to the University

There is no minimum GPA or test score required for admission to LMU, but admission is selective. The admissions team considers each candidate’s application for indications of academic achievement, preparation, and potential.

11. Nichols College:

Why it’s a great school: 

Nichols College is a college of choice for business and leadership education due to its distinctive career-focused and leadership-based approaches to learning both, in and out of the classroom, and through impactful research and professional education. Founded in 1815 as Nichols Academy, the college transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Nichols serves students who are interested primarily in a comprehensive business education that is supported by a strong liberal arts curriculum, as well as research and experiential learning opportunities.

How you can get in: 

At Nichols, students and their families are given individualized attention from admissions counselors, providing students with unique guidance during the decision-making process. Students are also given flexibility in submitting test scores and students with a GPA over 2.6 do not need to submit any test scores.  

12. Schreiner University 

Why it’s a great school: 

Schreiner University is a private, Presbyterian university that offers a personalized, integrated, and holistic educational experience among the open lands of the Texas Hill Country. Named after Captain Charles Schreiner, the university strives to epitomize its founder’s grit, tenacity, and courage. Both Captain Schreiner and the Presbytery of Western Texas shared an ambitious vision for education for the people of Texas—one that would inspire them to pursue their passions with a dedicated heart and well-equipped mind.

How you can get in: 

Due to COVID-19, Schreiner University has temporarily suspended using the SAT and ACT test scores for admission decisions for Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021.

  • High School GPA of 3.25 or higher.
  • Qualitative evaluation of application and admissions packet to assess student’s involvement in high school and community

13. The Catholic University of America  

Why it’s a great school: 

As the one and only national university of the Catholic Church in the United States as well as America’s second-oldest research university, Catholic University combines world-class academics, individualized support, and unsurpassed opportunities for research and internships to help students maximize their talents, skills, and abilities to make change in the world. With 12 schools, more than 70 undergraduate degree programs, and 32 research centers and facilities, the University still maintains the nurturing feel of an undergraduate college experience.

How you can get in:

SAT and ACT scores are not considered for admission or merit scholarships
25th Percentile High School Unweighted GPA: 3.18
75th Percentile High School Unweighted GPA: 3.80

14. University of Minnesota Rochester 

Why it’s a great school: 

University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) offers distinctive health sciences and biosciences education to prepare students for a broad spectrum of current and emerging careers, ranging from patient care to pure and applied research, to help solve the grand health care challenges of the 21st century.

How you can get in: 

The Office of Admissions has prided itself on reviewing applicants holistically. Every
aspect of the student is valued, not just GPA and test scores. The admissions team considers their passion for health care and what drives them toward a career in helping others. Ultimately, UMR admits students we believe have a true passion for a career in health care and are academically ready for the rigor of a STEM curriculum.

 

At the end of the day, it is so important to remember that your worth as a student and a human being will never be determined by your grade point average. It can be devastating to face rejection from your dream school(s). And it’s totally okay to feel disappointed! Honor those feelings as they come, but remember your future of success exists within you, not a university. Whether you’re just starting the college search process, trying to find great scholarships, or need tips on writing the perfect admissions essay, our team of experts are full of advice to help you navigate the process. Be sure to check out more of our great schools to find your perfect fit.