The Facts About Your GPA
Every year, we hear stories of students with seemingly high GPAs who were denied admission to colleges where they applied. While SAT/ACT scores and extra-curriculars may tell part of the story, one of the biggest reasons is GPA. The reality is that high schools can calculate GPAs in a multitude of ways, and many of them end up being deceiving. Some schools use a 4.0 scale; others use a 5.0 or even 6.0 scale. The result is that students end up having a very unrealistic view of their GPA. So, before you decide where you are applying to college and what your chances are, you need to calculate your true GPA and look at it the way a college will.
Many top colleges look at a raw, unweighted GPA along with “course rigor” (how may Honors, AP or IB courses you took, number of lab sciences, years of language, etc.). Very few competitive colleges will take your high school GPA without recalculating it. The reason is that there is too much disparity in how high schools calculate GPA, and colleges need to make it a level playing field.
How to Accurately Calculate Your GPA
In order to have a realistic view of your GPA, you need to first isolate your five core courses for each year of high school (English, Math, History, Science, and Language). Then assign a numeric equivalent to each grade you received each year (A or A plus = 4.0, A minus = 3.67, B plus = 3.33, B = 3.0, B minus = 2.67, C plus = 2.33, C = 2.0, C minus = 1.67, D plus = 1.33, D = 1.0). Add the numbers and divide by 5. This is your GPA for the year. If you are in the 12th grade add your GPA from 9th – 11th together and divide by 3. This is your cumulative GPA.
Remember, GPA is only one part of the picture when it comes to college admissions, but it is usually the most important part because studies have proven that the best predictor of success in college are your grades from high school.