Learn how to calculate your grade point average (GPA) and why it can make or break your college application.
A grade point average (GPA) is a calculated average of the letter grades you earn in school following a 0 to 4.0 or 5.0 scale. Every semester, you’ll receive a GPA based on the grades you earned in all of your classes during that semester. Throughout high school, you’ll also maintain a cumulative GPA, which is an ongoing average of all your semester one and two grades beginning with freshman year.
When you apply to colleges, they’ll receive a copy of your transcript featuring your current cumulative GPA. Colleges use this number to measure your overall performance in school and compare you to other prospective students.
Your GPA is important for your future because:
- Even before college, your GPA can determine whether or not you’re eligible to take advanced placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses during your junior and senior years of high school.
- For admission, prospective colleges consider both your GPA and your class rank, which is determined by your GPA. So the higher your GPA, the better your chances are of getting into the college of your choice.
- Your GPA is a major consideration for both academic and athletic college scholarships as well as financial aid.
Find out how your high school calculates your GPA.
High schools can calculate GPAs based on your letter grades in different ways. Following a standard 4.0 scale for example, an A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0. However, some high schools count pluses and minuses differently. For example, a B+=3.3, B=3.0, B-=2.7. Each class grade is multiplied by the credit for each class and added together to determine an unweighted GPA. Alternatively, some schools will calculate weighted GPAs, which give more importance to honors, accelerated, AP and IB classes. In this scenario, a 5.0 would be a perfect score instead of a 4.0. For example: AP biology A=5,B=4,C=3,D=2,F=0
Understand how colleges may recalculate your GPA.
Many colleges want to evaluate your GPA using their own methods. Often, they’ll disregard “easy A’s” you earned in gym or art class and focus on the fundamentals of your education, calculating your GPA from the grades you earned in science, English, social studies and math. So even if you’re acing several classes, it’s most important to do well in the core academic classes. Some colleges also look at both your unweighted and weighted GPA’s, which means you can’t rely on your AP, IB and honors courses to raise your GPA.the original article from Campus Explorer, written by