How to Calculate Your GPA: Use This Step by Step Guide
Your grade point average (GPA) is a metric colleges use to evaluate the rigor of your curriculum and compare you to your peers in the admissions process. Many schools calculate GPAs differently, so it can be difficult to understand where you fall in comparison to other candidates. How do you calculate your GPA? We’ll break down the steps below.
What is a GPA?
Your GPA is a summary and quantifiable average of your academic performance. You will need to report it on your applications, although your high school has probably recorded it for you. Keep in mind that it is not an objective figure, since different high schools calculate it differently.
Weighted vs. Unweighted GPA
Your unweighted GPA is an average of all your grades without taking into account the rigor of the associated courses. For example, a B in AP U.S. History is the same as a B in regular History according to this scale. A weighted GPA adds credit for more rigorous courses. Different high schools do this do this differently. Some add a full point for an AP or honors course, so an A in an AP course would be a 5.0, while others add a fraction.
Colleges will receive information on how your school weights grades, so don’t worry about yours appearing lower because your high school weights differently from others. Most colleges recalculate GPAs or consider candidates’ academic progression holistically according to their own rules.
How to Calculate Your GPA: Step By Step
Step 1: Convert your letter grade to its corresponding numerical value according to this table:
Step 2: If you want to know your weighted GPA, add one point to every honors or AP course.
Step 3: Multiply each value by the number of credits the course was worth. (For example, English might be four, while Art might be one or two.) If your high school doesn’t assign different credit values to courses, you can skip this step and simply add all the GPA values together.
Step 4: Divide the total by the total number of credits you earned. This is your GPA.
Your GPA is an average of your entire academic record, so it’s important to know where you stand. You can calculate your GPA for each year, but don’t simply add them together and divide by four for your cumulative GPA, because you’ve probably taken different numbers of classes each year.
Remember that this is a tool for you to understand how you’ll measure up in the admissions process. Colleges will review your academic transcript in a more holistic way that accounts for your curriculum rigor, the difficulty of your high school, how you performed against your classmates, and other factors.
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