Goldwater Scholarship low GPA

Hey friends,

Just wanted to provide some quick data, since I was having trouble finding it when I was applying. Although lots of forums say you need a 3.7+ (really a 3.8+) to be competitive for Goldwater, it appears as though that may be more w/ regards to making it past your own college/university’s assessment of your application.

I applied this year with a 3.49 and was SUPER afraid that there was going to be an automatic cut-off at 3.5, since that’s a pretty easy way to filter thousands of applications. But nope, I got the official notification today that I’m a 2018 Scholar.

I feel like my GPA is probably one of the historical lows for the program–I know it’s WELL below the average for Scholars–so I just wanted to put that data out there for anyone applying in the future: it IS possible.


Just to add another detail for future reference – I met the president of the Goldwater Foundation today at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and he made a comment in response to a student question that the lowest Scholar gpa was a 3.5.

…by which I assume he was referring to my 3.493. So my hunch appears to be correct: that GPA is the historical low for the program. Do with that what you will. Hope the data helps!


Thanks :slight_smile:


My D has 3.97 GPA freshman year for her CS premed, but she just started doing research this summer, CS work on medical research. Does she have a shoot? Appreciate your feedback! @CourtneyThurston She has to pass the school selection stage first. She is at Vanderbilt.

Yes, you’re fine. If she wants to target Goldwater, most important thing is to stay involved in research at a level competitive enough to secure one of the 4 slots within her university. That appears to be the fiercest competition, honestly; if you can get nominated, your chance of being honored at some level (HM or Scholar) is about 33%.

It’s also best obviously if GPA is high, as schools use that as part of their competition (Vanderbilt will be competitive). For the foundation’s judging, anywhere > 3.5 appears to be safe.