Educational Statistics
How important is GPA?

GPA is one of the most important factors in college. It represents the student's overall academic achievement. There is no doubt that keeping a good GPA in college is no easy task.

According to a recent article in, for the fall 2002 semester, freshmen studied (or didn't) their way to a cumulative grade point average of 2.36 with sophomores earning a 2.83, a .47 point gap.

Northern Illinois University freshmen received a 2.2 grade point average with sophomores at 2.6, Western Illinois University (2.65-2.83), Illinois State University (2.66-2.82) and Southern Illinois University (2.54-2.82) all reported significant gaps. has been keeping track of the average undergraduate GPA. The following chart shows trends in average undergraduate GPA for several schools.

Figure 1: GPA Trends for different school types

The average undergraduate GPA is 3.1 and it is worse for freshmen. It is clear that students need to work harder; but the question is ‘Do they know how to?’

One of the questions most frequently asked is, “What is a good GPA to have in college?” The same question is often seen on the web. Everyone has a different answer. Here is one from the internet, “A 3.0 GPA and above is considered good. That is a B average.” Now what is wrong with this answer? First of all, this person feels that average is acceptable. Consider this: many companies require a 3.5 to receive an interview and most professional schools recommend a 3.7 or higher to be considered. The correct answer should be – Aim for a 4.0 and you will have a good GPA.

We have heard over and over again, “I am making straight A’s now but my GPA is low because of my freshmen year.” It is true that most freshmen do not realize the importance of their GPA untill they are a junior or senior. Freshmen year is one of the most important years. It takes years to build a high GPA but only one semester to ruin it.

Retention Rates in College:

Staying in college is becoming tougher every year. High tuition rates, problems at home, low GPA, are just some of the tribulations that cause students to drop out. Take a look at the national college retention rates according to

Figure 2: Loss Rate per 100 Ninth Graders at Each Transition Point (2002)
Nationally, only 18% of students graduate from college. This is a serious problem.

Test Taking: Why are students not ready?

Maintaining a good GPA and staying in college are determined by two things:
1. How well do you organize your studies?
2. How well do you take tests?

In an article published by Education Week (, fewer than one-quarter of last school year’s graduating high school seniors who took the ACT scored at the “college-ready” level in all four subject areas, a finding that prompted the nation’s highest education official to renew his demand that schools do a far better job preparing students for college.

Take a look at the results published by the ACT Testing department.

Figure 3: ACT Score Performance

The proportion of tested graduating seniors who are “college ready” as defined by the ACT grew from 22 percent in the class of 2008 to 23 percent in the class of 2009. College-readiness levels remained within two-tenths of a percentage point of where they’ve been since 2005.

“We need to increase the number of high school graduates who are prepared to succeed in college,”U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement released through ACT Inc. But how can this be achieved?

The truth about our national educational system is that we do not emphasize enough on education and more importance is given to other activities such as sports, music, etc. Even though these activities are important, education should be a top priority.

The key to a successful educational career is ‘Knowing How to Learn.’

FreshmenSuccess realizes that and is determined to teach students proper learning techniques, making them better test takers and better students.