Your weighted high school GPA tells colleges a lot about your ability to meet academic challenges.In this article, I'll provide a basic overview of what a weighted GPA is, why it's important to you, and how you can calculate your own weighted GPA if your school uses this type of scale.
What is a Weighted GPA?
A weighted GPA isa GPA that takes into account the difficulty of your classes along with your grades.On a typical unweighted scale (based solely on grades and not the difficulty of your classes), GPAs are recorded as numbers ranging from 0 to 4.0. Because of this scale, there is the ideal of the perfect 4.0 GPA.
However, if your school uses weighted GPAs, the scale goes higher.Typically, a weighted GPA scale ranges from 0 to 5.0.This is to record AP scores or honors courses whereAn A on the weighted scale equals a 5.0 based on the difficulty of the class.Regular level classes retain the typical unweighted scale, where an A equals a 4.0. Many schools also offer intermediate classes between regular classes and special classes, with an A standing for 4.5.
This means that someone who takes more difficult courses during high school will end up with a more weighted GPA than someone who takes less difficult courses, even if their actual grades are identical.Why should you care about your weighted GPA?
You should pay attention to your weighted GPA becauseThis affects the college application process and how you interpret GPA advice.If you're trying to figure out if your GPA is "good," most advice is based on the unweighted scale. This is because the unweighted scale is more widely used, and weighted scales often differ between high schools.
This tip can be misleading for students who only know their weighted GPAs.If you have a weighted GPA of 4.0, you are not necessarily a good candidate for admission to any university.A student with a weighted GPA of 4.0 may be in the lowest grade classes and earn all A's or the highest grade with Bs. Even if the GPA is weighted equally, these two cases are not evaluated equally. Colleges will favor the student with Bs in higher grades because that student was willing to take on more academic challenges.
Weighted GPAs encourage you to take more difficult classes without fear that slightly lower grades will hurt your GPA.Getting good grades in more difficult classes has a significant positive impact on your weighted grade point average. Imagine a student getting all Bs in regular classes and giving them a 3.0 weighted GPA. So let's say the student decides to move up to more difficult grades in two of the five departments and earns B-s in those grades. Even with slightly worse grades, this would increase the student's weighted grade point average for the semester from 3.0 to 3.3.
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How to Calculate Weighted GPA
So with that in mind, how do you calculate your weighted GPA?It is very easy if you know your previous high school grades and the grades you attended.The easiest way to convert grades to weighted GPA is to follow the unweighted scale for regular classes, 0.5 to the unweighted scale for intermediate classes (eg, honors classes), and 1.0 to the unweighted scale for higher classes, add classes (such as AP).
Here is the unweighted scale for reference:
To use | califications average |
A+ | 4.0 |
A | 4.0 |
A- | 3.7 |
B+ | 3.3 |
B | 3.0 |
B- | 2.7 |
do+ | 2.3 |
C | 2.0 |
C- | 1.7 |
D+ | 1.3 |
D | 1,0 |
F | 0,0 |
One way to calculate your weighted GPA is to take your unweighted average GPA and multiply it by the number of courses you've taken. So,Add 0.5 for each intermediate course you took and 1.0 for each advanced courseyou got it. Divide the result by the total number of classes to find your weighted grade point average to date.
I'll use a hypothetical example to provide a more detailed description of how weighted GPA is calculated. Let's say you're in the middle of your sophomore year, which means you've completed three semesters of high school so far.Here are some sample charts of the courses you may have taken, their levels, and your grades for each semester:
First semester of the first year
classroom | eben | letter note | unweighted grade point average | weighted grade point average |
1 | honors biology | B+ | 3.3 | 3.8 |
2 | Algebra 1 Honors. | B | 3.0 | 3.5 |
3 | Honors Human Geography | B | 3.0 | 3.5 |
4 | freshman english | A | 4.0 | 4.0 |
5 | Español 1 | A- | 3.7 | 3.7 |
The weighted GPA for that semester is the average of all the numbers in the last column.Your weighted GPA for the first semester would be 3.7.
Let's say you continued to take courses at the same level in the second semester, but your grades improved:
Second semester of the first year
classroom | eben | letter note | unweighted grade point average | weighted grade point average |
1 | honors biology | A | 4.0 | 4.5 |
2 | Algebra 1 Honors. | B+ | 3.3 | 3.8 |
3 | Honors Human Geography | B+ | 3.3 | 3.8 |
4 | freshman english | A | 4.0 | 4.0 |
5 | Español 1 | A | 4.0 | 4.0 |
This time, when we average all the numbers in the last column,his second half weighted GPA is 4.0.
Suppose you decided to take mid-level classes with an upper-level class for the first semester of your sophomore year (you were ready to move on to mid-level and regular classes, where you got an A!).
First semester Second year
classroom | eben | letter note | unweighted grade point average | weighted grade point average |
1 | AP world history | B+ | 3.3 | 4.3 |
2 | Volunteer Chemistry | B+ | 3.3 | 3.8 |
3 | Algebra II | B+ | 3.3 | 3.8 |
4 | english with distinction | A- | 3.7 | 4.2 |
5 | spanish honors II | A- | 3.7 | 4.2 |
If we average all the numbers in the last column,his sophomore weighted GPA is 4.1.
Now all we have to do is figure out your cumulative GPAAverage of weighted averages of each semester(Note that this only works if you take the same number of classes each semester; otherwise, I recommend using the formula I outlined earlier in this section, rather than going semester by semester.)
Semester | weighted grade point average |
First - first year | 3.7 |
Second - first year | 4.0 |
First - second year | 4.1 |
cumulative | 3.9 |
So far,his cumulative weighted average grade is 3.9.I hope this example helps you understand how to calculate your weighted GPA. If your school is more specific about which grade corresponds to which GPA (i.e. mapping different GPAs within each letter grade to a different GPA, so that 90 A- would result in a lower GPA than 92 A-) ,Take a look at this more detailed table.to make your calculations more accurate.
Diploma
The Weighted GPA is a way for high schools to create a measure of academic performance.takes into account the difficulty of the student's workloadand not just your grades. On a weighted GPA scale,GPAs generally range from 0 to 5.0, with 5.0 representing all A's in higher level classes.The weighted GPA provides a way to assess your progress in high school based on grades AND a willingness to take on intellectual challenges.
You shouldn't judge your weighted GPA by its position on the unweighted scale.Even weighted GPAs above 4.0 do not guarantee that you will get into the most selective schools. Based on the example in this article, you should be able to calculate your weighted GPA and determine if you need to take more difficult courses to improve your college stats.
Whats Next
Now that you know the weighted GPA,You may be wondering if colleges consider you more or less than your baseline unweighted GPA.Learnwhich GPA is most important for college admission.
You only wonder if your weighted or unweighted GPA is considered good.in the college admissions process? look at this articleWhat makes a GPA good or bad for college?
I'm not sure what subjects to take in high schoolso that you have good opportunities in the selected universities?Read this article for some tips!
Would you like to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points?For each test, we have written a guide with the top 5 strategies to improve your score. Download now for free:
samantha lindsay
About the Author
Samantha is a blog content writer for PrepScholar. Her goal is to help students, through her articles, see standardized tests and other academic challenges as less stressful. Samantha is also passionate about art and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College in 2014 as a Studio Art Major. In high school, she scored a 2400 on the SAT, a 5 on all seven AP tests, and was named a National Merit Scholar.
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