How to Convert Your GPA to a 4.0 Scale
In a previous post we showed you how to calculate your GPA. Now, let’s take it a step further and convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale. Keep reading to find out how.
What is a 4.0 GPA Scale?
You know your GPA is an important factor for college admissions. But how do you know where yours falls? Most colleges use a 4.0 scale to measure your academic performance, so in order to estimate how you stack up against other admissions candidates, you’ll need to convert the average of your grades numerically. Let’s go over the basics first.
Your grade point average (GPA) is a measurement of your academic performance throughout high school. Your unweighted GPA is an average of the grades you earned without accounting for the rigor of their associated course, while your weighted GPA accounts for honors and AP designations, granting you more credit for more challenging courses.
The 4.0 GPA Scale
The 4.0 scale is the most commonly used GPA scale. A 4.0 represents an A or A+, with each full grade being a full point lower: 3.0=B, 2.0=C, and 1.0=D.
Pluses are an additional one-third of a point, while minuses are the subtraction of one-third of a point. For example, an A- is a 3.7, and a B+ is a 3.3.
How to Convert Your GPA to a 4.0 Scale
Converting your GPA to a 4.0 scale is not necessarily as simple as saying a 95 on a 100-point scale is a 4.0. You also need to take into account the credits each course is worth and the rigor of the courses. Follow these steps to convert your GPA:
1. Compare your individual grades to a 4.0 scale.
Use this chart to determine what your grade is on a 4.0 scale:
2. Weight your grades.
Add a full point to any honors or AP course. For example, an A, normally a 4.0, would be a 5.0.
3. Calculate your full GPA on a 4.0 scale.
First, multiply each weighted or unweighted grade by the number of credits associated with the course. Add these values together.
5.0 x 3 credits + 4.7 x 3 credits + 4.0 x 2 credits + 3.3 x 1 credit + 4.3 x 3 credits =
15 + 14.1 + 8 + 3.3 + 12.9 =
Second, divide the total by the number of total credits you earned.
53.3 / (3 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 3) =
This is your GPA.
How to Use Your 4.0-scale GPA
Your weighted 4.0-scale GPA is the number you should report on applications. Remember that many colleges will recalculate them according to their own measures. If your high school ranks, this provides another measure for colleges to understand your academic performance.
Your GPA informs you about how you performed against other admissions candidates since this metric is universally used. You can also see how you stack up against a college’s accepted student body because most report average GPAs or the middle 50% of the freshman class’s GPAs on a 4.0 scale.
How NOT to Use Your 4.0-scale GPA
Don’t compare yourself to candidates from other high schools, because you’re dealing with different circumstances and curricula. In other words, a 3.5 from one school could mean something entirely different at another.
You should also avoid using your GPA to inform a definitive conclusion about whether or not you will be admitted into a college. Selective colleges perform a holistic review of your candidacy, meaning your GPA is just one part of your profile. Colleges will also take into account factors such as your extracurriculars, essay, recommendations, and other aspects of your application.
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