Average GPA Calculation: What Is the Algorithm?

If you’re looking for ways to use the final grade points that you’ve got as a high school student to check your average GPA, we’ve got something for you. In this article, we will discuss what a GPA is, why it is important to calculate, and how exactly to make this calculation.

What Is a GPA?

GPA (grade point average) is a calculated average of all the letter scores that you earn as a high school student on the basis of a 0 to 4.0/5.0 scale. Every semester, students receive a GPA following their grades in all subjects. At the same time, students also maintain the so-called cumulative grade point average. The latter is an ongoing average of all your semester one and two scores starting from the first year.

When it’s time to apply to college, you will have to provide a copy of your transcript that includes information on your cumulative GPA. The latter enables college admission board reps to measure your academic performance in high school and see if it is as good as one of the other potential candidates. Taking into account the fact that your GPA is made of 100% number of credits, it is one of the key aspects that college admission considers. Your overall GPA serves as some kind of indicator that proves you’re intelligent, willing to study hard, and push yourself.

Why is that?

Just imagine that you’re a member of the college admissions committee, and you have to check dozens of college applications. Do you like the idea of checking every transcript individually, adding up all the letters, and doing a lifetime comparison of one candidate to the next person? Or, perhaps, you prefer dealing with an easy summary number that enables you to quickly compare the candidate throughout the board?

Why Is GPA Important?

Your high school GPA is important for your academic future for several reasons:

  1. Even before your college enrollment, your grade point average can identify your eligibility needed to take either IB (International Baccalaureate) or AP (Advanced Placement) courses during high school junior/senior years.
  2. When it comes to the college admission board, the reps of it take into account both your class rank and your average GPA. In other words, if your high school GPA is high enough, your chances of enrolling in the college of your dreams are sufficiently high
  3. Your GPA is one of the fundamental issues to consider when it comes to getting athletic and academic college scholarships and financial support.

Weighted and Unweighted GPA: What’s the Difference?

Today, two types of GPAs exist – weighted GPA and unweighted GPA.
When it comes to a weighted GPA, the term is used when a high school uses the 0.0 – 5.0/6.0 scale and considers class difficulty. In this case, higher numerical values are given to the grades that were earned in AP, honors, or/and IB classes.

As for an unweighted GPA, it is used when a high school uses the 0.0 – 4.0 scale and doesn’t consider class difficulty.

To help you get a better idea of what a weighted/unweighted GPA is, let’s check a simple example. Say Alice gets an A in a typical English Literature class, while Tom gets an A in AP English Literature. If we use the unweighted GPA model, their grades will be treated the same way. Each grade will be translated to a 4.0. However, in the case of the weighted GPA model, Alice’s A would convert to a 4.0 while Tom’s A would turn into a 5.0. Thus, you can see that Tom’s class required much more effort to excel.

The Basic Algorithm to Calculate Your Average GPA

In order to calculate your GPA, make sure you know the following details:

  • Final grades that you earned. In this case, you have to use your unofficial transcript, where you can find your grades from all the classes of your academic program.
  • Attempted credits. When it comes to the credits attempted, it is the total number of all credits for the courses that you have taken.
  • Point values for your grades. Every grade has its point value. In order to determine the point values of your grades, check the information given below.
Letter Grade Point Value for Grade
A 4.00
B 3.00
C 2.00
D 1.00
E 0.00

The basic formula for calculating your average GPA requires you to divide the total amount of your grades by the total amount of attempted credit hours. The figure that you get as a result is the GPA for this or that program.

If you’re not sure you can cope with the task to calculate your average GPA on your own, feel free to use an online calculator that will do the math part for you. What is more, you can also find online calculators that can even help you project what grades you have to earn in order to raise your GPA to a better goal.

Check How School Can Recalculate Your GPA

A lot of colleges and universities want to recalculate your grade point average using their own techniques. As a rule, you tend to disregard the so-called “easy A” that you managed to get in your art or theater class. Instead, they give preference to the key disciplines, calculating your GPA from the grades that you earned in math, English, physics, and social studies. In other words, even if you’re doing great in a range of classes, it is better to focus on the fundamentals of your academic routine. Some colleges and universities also take into account both your weighted and unweighted GPA levels. It means that there’s no chance to rely on your IB, AP, and honors courses to improve your grade point average.

Keep in mind that if you fail a class that is an integral part of your college program, you will have to retake the class, as well as pass it to progress in your program. If you pass the class when you retake it, your original grade will remain on your transcript. However, it won’t be included in the GPA calculation. Instead, the calculation of the GPA will include only the grades that you got when you retook the class successfully.

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