What You Didn't Know About GPA + College Admissions

You might be surprised!

4 min read

GPA stands for Grade Point Average and it travels with you from year to year. One's GPA determines their class rank. It is essential you know your GPA. At the end of each completed high school year, your GPA is recalculated. It rolls over with you from year to year. Therefore, when you are applying to college and your GPA is requested, you will have a good sense of where you stand in relation to what that university requires academically. This will allow you to make an accurate list of colleges as far as knowing which schools will be considered safety, ballpark or reach during the application process in senior year.

This Is Confusing...

Yes. Your GPA can be confusing because every school calculates it differently and on top of that, so do all the colleges. Many schools weigh the GPA. Other schools weigh particular classes. There are other secondary schools that weigh both the classes and the GPA. And finally, there are schools out there that don't weigh any grades at all. In order to find out what your school does you will need to speak to an academic dean or guidance counselor. Classes that are given more weight are usually AP or College Courses. If you are not offered those courses, perhaps your Honors Classes are weighted. The general education classes do not likely carry weight.   If your school has a school profile online, the breakdown of how grades and/or GPA are weighted can likely be found there. If it is not online, again, ask your academic dean or guidance counselor for this information. It is essential that you know what you GPA is during your high school years.

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In addition to weighting, schools calculate GPA's in a variety of ways. Many high schools average only the five core classes. These include: History, English, Foreign Language, Math and Science. If your school is religiously affiliated, your Religion grade may also be thrown into the mix. This too, is important to know. Why? Many colleges use this system when calculating a student's GPA. College admissions will go through your transcript and recalculate your GPA using their own system. Many times they are only averaging (and sometimes taking away the weight too) the five core classes from each semester. If your school gets your GPA from all the classes you have taken (for ex: including music, religion, physical education, computers, etc.), your GPA will certainly be different from what the college estimates. Having such dissimilar numbers can change (either for better or worse) your likelihood of gaining admission to the university and on a greater scale, merit based scholarships. In order to find out how the colleges you are interested in determine the GPA, you need to ask the admissions officer of each school.

You Got This

The task of finding out your GPA, how it is calculated and how it is assessed by the colleges can be daunting. Nevertheless, it is vital when you are a senior and in the midst of the college application process. The sooner you learn about how your GPA is calculated and the authenticity of the number (in the eyes of the colleges), the better off you will be. Knowing this life-changing figure will enable you to have more control of your academic future.

Tips

  • 9th grade – inquire how your GPA is calculated
  • 10th and 11th grade – at the start of the year, find out your GPA and do your best to improve it
  • 12th grade – recognize this is the GPA you are applying to colleges with (if you apply in the fall). Learn how the colleges of your choice calculate GPA

Good Luck!

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