If you are searching for a suitable school to continue your higher education, you will notice that some schools have an acceptance criteria which you may not necessarily meet. One of the biggest requirements that can be a deterrent for many is the minimum GPA.

I’m writing this blog to tell you that you shouldn’t be disheartened by this, as I went through a similar experience. When looking for a university to continue my postgraduate studies, I was turned down by some schools because my GPA was not high enough; and then the university that finally accepted me, required that I have two years of work experience to compensate for my low GPA. There were some personal reasons that led to me having a somewhat low GPA, reasons which I will not delve into. But for whatever reason you may have a low GPA as well, it is not the end of the world, you can find schools that will still accept you either straight away or under certain conditions.

If you are looking to get accepted in an undergraduate degree program, your high school transcripts, standardised tests, and statement of purpose, are what college admissions will look for in your application. If they they see that your high school transcript is not up to their requirements, some of the other requirements of your application could help compensate.

In this blog, I will look with some detail into what is considered a low GPA, what you can do to compensate for a low GPA, and look at some schools that may have a minimum GPA requirement that matches yours.

What Do the Different GPA Scores Mean

The American grade point average (GPA) system has a scale of 4.0, with the highest (4.0) representing an A student, 3.0 a B student, and 2.0 a C student. Many universities consider anything less than a 3.0 to be a low GPA. A high GPA can almost guarantee you getting accepted into university, but a low GPA does not necessarily mean you will be rejected right away.

What Can You Do To Compensate for a Low GPA

Getting a good SAT or ACT score will be a good indication for the university’s admissions team to consider that your GPA does not reflect your actual capabilities. A score of 1200 on the new SAT is considered to be an excellent score; placing you right up there among the top 25%.

Statement of Purpose
The essay that universities require potential students to write is not just for fun, or a waste of time. The statement of purpose is valued highly by a university’s admissions team. And a good statement of purpose will go a long way in convincing the admissions team that you are worthy of being admitted into the university. To learn more about writing a winning statement of purpose, check out our blog on: Writing a Compelling Statement of Purpose.

Work Experience/Internships
Work experience was the requirement that I had to meet in order to continue my postgraduate studies. If you do have some work experience or have done internships, adding that information in your application can be helpful.

Proving Your English Proficiency
The IELTS/TOEFL exam is necessary for students whose first language is not English. Most schools list the minimum IELTS/TOEFL score that is required. If you however are able to secure an IELTS/TOEFL score that is better than the minimum requirement, then this will be a great highlight in your application.

Great Colleges That Could Be the Right Fit For You

Now that you have a general idea of what is considered a low GPA and what you can do to compensate for it, we will look at five schools, from the United States, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. In each school profile below you will find the minimum GPA requirement for each school. The admissions rate, which indicates the percentage of applicants that get accepted by the school; a high admissions rate will mean that your chances of getting into that school are higher. And minimum English proficiency scores, that you can aim to surpass.

United States

Eastern Michigan University

Minimum GPA: 2.5
Acceptance Rate: 68%
Minimum IELTS: 6 / Internet-Based TOEFL: 61

Eastern Michigan University has over 23,000 students, and over 1000 international students from 65 countries. EMU’s location in Ypsilanti, offers students the chance to live in a beautiful location while getting their education. EMU’s College of Business is consistently ranked among the best business schools in America, and is the perfect choice for those interested in business. To learn more about what Eastern Michigan University has to offer, read the blog: Receive a High Quality Education in a Student-Centered Environment at Eastern Michigan University.

Transylvania University

Admissions Rate: 83%
Minimum GPA: 2.5
Minimum IELTS: 5 / Internet-Based TOEFL: 65

Transylvania University is a popular choice amongst international students looking for a liberal arts education. The University offers an International Ambassador Program, which is a program consisting of current international students, who are there to assist incoming international students. To find out more about Transylvania University, read the blog: Enrol in Transylvania University – A Top Liberal Arts College; and for a more in-depth look into life at Transylvania, read the blog: Studying Medicine at Transylvania University: Ajibola Bakare’s Story.


Centennial College

Acceptance Rate: 48.6%
Minimum GPA: N/A (low GPA requirements for certain programs)
Minimum IELTS: 6.5 / Internet-Based TOEFL: 84

Centennial College has five campuses that offer students a unique learning environment. A true leader in internationalization, Centennial College has taught many international students, and aims in providing an education without borders. Centennial College can be an enticing option for students from Nigeria and Ghana because they are not required to take the IELTS test.

United Arab Emirates

Canadian University Dubai

Minimum GPA: 2.0
Minimum IELTS: 5 / Internet-Based TOEFL: 61

The Canadian University Dubai, provides its students with a multinational faculty, and state of the art academic and recreational facilities. Studying at CUD can also be your gateway to reach Canada. To know more about why CUD is a great place to study at, read our blog: Destination Canada, Via Dubai; and to find out what it is like to be a student at CUD, you can read our blog: Canadian University Dubai: Charting the Journey of Two Students.

Jumeira University

Acceptance Rate: 70%
Minimum GPA: 2.5
Minimum IELTS: 5-6 / Paper-Based TOEFL: 500-547

Jumeira University located in the modern and diverse city of Dubai, is equipped with great facilities and cutting-edge technology. The facilities for its male and female students however are separate. JU offers its students the option to study in Arabic and English. The University comes equipped with computer labs with 100 individual workstations, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which provides easy access to all academic information to its students.

SchoolApply has a great partnership with these schools, which will make the admission process run even smoother. So don't wait any longer, find out more about these schools on SchoolApply and start your application today!