Why do people say you need a 3.5 GPA or above in order to qualify for admissions to NYU?
When 30 percent of their incoming freshman class from last year had a GPA below 3.5?
There will always be exceptions, but it’s easier if you don’t need to justify a low GPA. For example if you’re an immigrant who struggled with English or someone who showed a lot of improvement through high school, colleges will lower the weight of GPA as an admission criterion. Colleges also cut students some slack when they are the first in their family to go to college. There are many extenuating circumstances, and you can mention them in your college application essay.
Also, some students have high test scores that compensate for a lower GPA, or extra-curricular activities or academic achievements that make them appealing beyond their GPA.
Whatever your GPA, if you think you’d be a good fit at that school, you should apply. The worst thing that can happen is you’ll get rejected, but I think that a lot of people with great chances of admission don’t even try because they hear about these so-called cut-offs.