Weighted GPA and College Admissions: Everything You Need to Know
A weighted GPA is determined through points received in tougher classes. Students can receive bonus points through Advanced Placement, Honors, and college preparatory classes. It’s important to know, however, that some colleges will recalculate your GPA. This is quite common, however.
Every university or college is different and has different rules, regulations, and methods of operation. Some will keep a student’s original GPA, while others recalculate and form a new GPA. So, what do you need to know about weighted GPA and college admissions?
The Importance of a Weighted GPA
It’s necessary to understand why a GPA is often recalculated by universities. In high school, students can take challenging classes; however, some are tougher and deserve more credit. So, it’s about rewarding the hard efforts of the student, not demeriting them. For example, a student takes AP Calculus and remedial algebra and secures A-grades in both classes. An A-grade for AP Calculus would be a greater achievement than in remedial algebra in the eyes of the university.
Of course, a high school record makes an enormous difference in a college application and schools will use weighted GPAs to show the best qualities in the student. Elite colleges take weighted GPAs with thoughtful consideration too. They are more likely to reach out to students with excellent grades in challenging classes. Those grades matter as much as their overall performance or grade.
A Different Outlook
When universities review weighted grades, they look at the difficulty of the subject and adjust the GPA accordingly. It could mean the student has a lower or unweighted GPA. For instance, the performance ratings change because of the merit of the challenging class. Of course, it’s often a complex procedure as some schools don’t use weighted grades in any form. So, the outcome can look very different from the original score.
How Are GPAs Calculated?
A four-point grading scale is used for weighting a student’s grades.
- Regular Classes: F-0, D-1, C-2, B-3, A-4
- AP, Honors, and Advanced Classes: F-0, D-1, C-3, B-4, A-5
Students could receive a 5.0 GPA if they received an A in their AP classes. Of course, it all depends on the subjects and coursework carried out.
How Are Weighted GPAs Used?
Weighted GPAs often decide class rank in a high school; in a selective or elite school, however, they are barely used. Elite schools look for the best, which means those who have excelled in challenging classes. Often, they compare applicants down to the finest detail.
Unweighted grades are also calculated, and it is those numbers that schools use rather than the weighted GPAs. It’s a strange concept but elite schools are looking for the best students and will avoid inflated weighted GPAs.
The Reality of Weighted GPAs
Let’s say a student had a weighted GPA of 4.2. It might not be good enough for selective schools because the unweighted GPA is likely to be around 3.0. That isn’t the most impressive GPA score and admission into the elite schools would be tougher. So, while your high school has awarded you with a weighted GPA of 4 or more, universities might recalculate it to be lower.
Admission officers want to see secured unweighted high grades because those are the real value points for a student. Unweighted grades give universities a clearer picture of the student. It does seem unfair, but the elite schools have exceptionally high standards. On a plus note, less selective colleges are more likely to use weighted GPAs. So, weighted GPAs have their advantages and disadvantages; it all depends on which school a student wants to attend.
A GPA gives points for tougher classes in high school, such as AP, Honors, and IB. Most high schools look to this grading method so that a student gets a high-ranking status if they take on the more challenging classes. High schools don’t want students to receive extra merit for the so-called ‘easy’ classes. Elite schools, however, are unlikely to look to weighted grades; they look to the unweighted grades.