It's an exciting time! You're in your last year of high school and getting ready to start applying to colleges.

You want to make sure your grade point average (GPA) puts you in a good spot for the schools on your wish list.

But wait...there's more than one way to calculate it?

Gif with text,

Don't panic yet! Once you know the difference between unweighted and weighted GPA, calculating it will be a breeze!

Unweighted GPA

Most schools will use an unweighted GPA.

An unweighted GPA only takes into account your actual course grades and refers to the average of your grades on a scale, which usually goes from 0 to 4.0.

The chart below shows an example of how your grades convert to an unweighted GPA on a 4.0 scale. This may be different depending on your school's grading system.

Example of GPA conversion chart on a 4.0 scale. See the link below for a text version.

👉 Click here to see a text version of the chart above

Quiz

Sam is taking 5 courses and has two As and three Bs. Based on the chart above, what is their unweighted GPA?

Weighted GPA

A weighted GPA doesn't just look at your actual grade but takes into account the difficulty or level of your courses. For example, an honors or AP course may be weighted higher.

Weighted GPA is commonly on a scale of 0 to 5.0. When calculating a weighted GPA, an A in an AP class may be a 5.0 on the GPA scale, while an A in a regular-level class may be a 4.0.

Photo of a balance scale. Photo by Piret Ilver on Unsplash

Try it out!

Student

Mel is getting ready to start applying for colleges and wants to make sure that their GPA meet the requirements for their dream school. Mel wants to calculate their weighted GPA.

Mel's current grades are:

  • 2 As in regular level classes

  • 2 Bs in honors level classes

  • 1 A in an AP level class

At Mel's school, an AP level class adds 1.0 to the GPA scale and an honors level class adds 0.5.

Quiz

What is Mel's weighted GPA?

Take Action

Colleges may look at both unweighted and weighted GPAs for admissions, so while a good grade is important, it's also a good idea to challenge yourself when choosing classes.

Even if your school only reports an unweighted GPA, colleges will look at the big picture and consider your course load as well.

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Follow the steps below to work towards improving your GPA for college applications!

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This Byte has been authored by

NG

Nithusha Gobal

Digital Learning Specialist