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# do colleges look at weighted or unweighted gpa

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## Do Colleges Count Unweighted or Weighted GPAs?

Know if your weighted or unweighted GPA matter more so that you can make an informed decision in your college application.

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## Do Colleges Count Unweighted or Weighted GPAs?

Grades are often considered the single most important factor in college admissions decisions. But how do colleges compare students who come from such different high schools? You probably know your grade point average (GPA); it’s usually printed on your transcript. But what will that number mean to colleges? And what does it mean for a GPA to be weighted or unweighted?

While there are many ways to calculate a GPA, there are two major camps that are crucial to understand in the college admissions process. One is an unweighted GPA, which calculates your overall average grade out of 4.0, without regard to the difficulty of your coursework. The other is a weighted GPA, which reflects both grades and course levels.

## Unweighted GPA

An unweighted GPA is simple to calculate. Each final course grade that you receive (from F to A) corresponds to a grade point out of 4.0, as shown in the table below:

A+ 97-100 4.0 A 93-96 4.0 A- 90-92 3.7 B+ 87-89 3.3 B 83-86 3.0 B- 80-82 2.7 C+ 77-79 2.3 C 73-76 2.0 C- 70-72 1.7 D+ 67-69 1.3 D 65-66 1.0 E/F Below 65 0.0

Note first that an unweighted GPA cannot average to more than 4.0, which means that there is no mathematical difference between an A and an A+ in unweighted GPAs. Furthermore, not all schools offer the A+, so colleges treat it as identical to an A in unweighted GPAs. Similarly, most colleges consider anything below a D to be a failing grade, so if your school does offer the D- grade, know that it will probably be the same as an F.

Second, notice that an unweighted GPA does not take into account the level of the class. Under this system, an A- in honors or advanced placement course is the same 3.7 as an A- in a lower level class. This erasure is a frequent source of criticism toward the unweighted GPA, and the reasons that many high schools use a weighted GPA instead. Students and parents want their GPAs to reflect the difficulty of their course load in addition to their grades.

## What is a Good Unweighted GPA?

A high school transcript that contains an even mix of As and A-s will produce a GPA of 3.85, exactly halfway between the 3.7/A- and the 4.0/A. More As than A-s will come out to a GPA of 3.9 and above, which is generally considered a very high GPA. These are the kinds of numbers that Ivy League schools are looking for. More A-s than As will result in a GPA near or below 3.8, which is still a real accomplishment that colleges will appreciate.

A transcript with a mix of A-s and B+s will produce a grade point average in the range of 3.5, which is an important cutoff for many colleges. In general, admissions officers want to see more As than Bs, so having an unweighted GPA of above 3.5 can make a big difference. A GPA below 3.5 indicates to colleges that you have more Bs than As, and anything below 3.2 suggests that you may have some Cs in the mix, too, which will be a red flag for very selective schools.

That said, even if your high school uses an unweighted GPA, colleges absolutely pay attention to how many honors and AP classes you are taking. Thus, even if your GPA is a lower than a peer who is taking all regular classes, you will still be the more competitive applicant if you’re taking more honors classes. The key is balance: take challenging courses, but don’t tank your grades. No number of difficult classes can make up for a poor unweighted GPA.

## Weighted GPA

A weighted GPA, on the other hand, is a figure that purports to represent both how well you did in each class as well as their overall course difficulty. The trouble with weighted GPAs is that every high school calculates them differently. The most common GPA scale is one in which any grade in an advanced class is increased by a full grade point, as shown in the table below. However, while the 5.0 scale is common, high schools are also known to employ a GPA scale out of 4.5, 6.0, 9.0, or 10.0, among other grading scales.

A+ 97-100 5.3 4.0 A 93-96 5.0 4.0 A- 90-92 4.7 3.7 B+ 87-89 4.3 3.3 B 83-86 4.0 3.0 B- 80-82 3.7 2.7 C+ 77-79 3.3 2.3 C 73-76 3.0 2.0 C- 70-72 2.7 1.7 D+ 67-69 2.3 1.3 D 65-66 2.0 1.0

E/F Below 65 0.0 0.0

With a weighted GPA scale, regardless of the upper limit, an A student will have a higher GPA than 4.0. Any grade point average above 4.0 will indicate to colleges that the high school uses a weighted GPA scale, as such a number is impossible in an unweighted system.

## Do Colleges Look at Weighted GPAs vs Unweighted GPAs?

Weighted GPA vs unweighted GPA: what's the difference and which do colleges look at? Find the answers to all your GPA weighting guestions.

Many students have questions about weighted GPAs vs unweighted GPAs. Once they learn colleges only look at unweighted GPA’s, a common follow-up question is how big the difference between, say, a 3.85 GPA and a 3.9 GPA actually is.

While there’s certainly a difference between an unweighted GPA of 3.85 compared to a 3.9 GPA the better question is, how significant is a 0.05 grade point to Ivy League admissions?

But let’s start with the easier part of that question first: what is a weighted GPA?

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Weighted GPA vs Unweighted GPA – What’s The Difference?

What is GPA Weighting?

How To Calculate Your Unweighted GPA

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Do Colleges Look at Weighted GPAs vs Unweighted GPAs?

Will colleges take a weighted GPA under certain circumstances?

How A Small Difference in an Unweighted GPA Looks To Colleges

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Your Unweighted vs Weighted GPA Isn’t All There Is To Consider

Your High School GPA (Weighted or Unweighted) Matters Less & Less

Your Unweighted GPA is Almost Unmovable as a Senior

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What Does This Mean For Your Unweighted GPA in High School?

## Weighted GPA vs Unweighted GPA – What’s The Difference?

### What is GPA Weighting?

An “unweighted” GPA means an A is worth 4 points (a B is worth 3, a C is worth 2, a D is worth 1, and an F is worth 0). In a weighted GPA, certain classes considered college level are given an extra point, per grade—an A becomes worth 5 points, a B is worth 4, and so on.

AP and IB courses are usually weighted this way such that if a student took all AP courses and got all As, his weighted GPA would be 5.0. Conversely, that same student would have an unweighted GPA of a 4.0. So, when it comes to weighted vs unweighted GPA, a weighted GPA has the potential to be much higher.

## How To Calculate Your Unweighted GPA

You can use the following formula to manually calculate your unweighted GPA:

A = 4 points B = 3 points C = 2 points D= 1 point F = 0 point

Simply add together the point value for each of your class grades, then divide the sum by the number of classes you took. The answer is your GPA.

For example, let’s say Jayden took 6 classes and earned five “A’s” and one “B”, giving him a total of 23 points. He can then divide his point total by 6 (his total number of classes) to determine his GPA is 3.83. Alternatively, you can use a simple online tool to calculate your GPA.

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## Do Colleges Look at Weighted GPAs vs Unweighted GPAs?

Now, to answer the real questions: do colleges look at weighted or unweighted GPA?

For the sake of equality in comparison, colleges look at unweighted GPAs.

They separately consider how rigorous the coursework was. If you took all AP/IB curricula and achieved a 4.0, you would be seen as far stronger than a candidate who took less challenging or fewer courses and achieved the same 4.0, even though the GPAs were the same.

### Will colleges take a weighted GPA under certain circumstances?

No, universities do not take weighted GPAs because not all schools offer the same amount of AP courses, not all schools allow students to take them at the same years, and not all schools even offer AP/IB curriculum. That would make comparing an unweighted vs weighted GPA, unfair to some students.

Schools don’t want to unfairly penalize someone who graduated from a high school that only offered one AP course. And they don’t want to unfairly promote someone who went to a school that offered 20 AP courses.

## How A Small Difference in an Unweighted GPA Looks To Colleges

Now, that we know colleges do not look at weighted GPA, let’s look back to the example unweighted GPA at the beginning of this article…

More specifically, how significant that 0.05 point gap between 3.85 and 3.90 actually is.

On one hand you might say, “3.85 rounds to 3.9—why would anyone care?”

And that’s valid.

But when you consider what goes into a 3.85 GPA versus a 3.90 GPA, then the difference becomes more pronounced:

A 3.9 GPA can be composed of three years of two semesters, each semester containing 5 classes, and all grades equal to As except 3, which are Bs.

A 3.85 GPA is the same but 1 or 2 more Bs.

And while an unweighted GPA of 3.85 does indeed round to 3.9, one B does not round to one A, so there is a difference in mastery of concept of whatever subject.

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## Do Colleges Use Weighted or Unweighted GPA?

Between unweighted and weighted GPAs, which ones do colleges use more? Do you benefit from a higher GPA or harder classes? Learn here.

## Do Colleges Use Weighted or Unweighted GPA?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jan 7, 2020 9:00:00 AM

COURSEWORK/GPA

High schools may record students' GPAs as weighted or unweighted. But which type of GPA is taken more seriously in the college admissions process?

In this article, I'll provide an overview of the differences between weighted and unweighted GPAs and tell you which type is more important.

## What's the Difference Between Weighted and Unweighted GPA?

First off, you should know what constitutes weighted and unweighted GPA in high school.

Traditional GPAs are unweighted, which means they're measured on a scale from 0 to 4.0. A 4.0 is an A average, a 3.0 is a B average, a 2.0 is a C average, a 1.0 is a D average, and anything below that represents a failing grade.Unweighted GPAs do not take the levels of your classes into account. An A in an AP or honors class will translate into a 4.0 GPA, and so will an A in a low-level class. Basically, an unweighted GPA won't change based on the types of classes you're taking; it represents your grades in isolation.

Weighted GPAs are a bit more complicated. Many high schools now record weighted GPAs instead of standard unweighted GPAs. Weighted GPAs are measured on a scale that goes up higher than 4.0 to account for more difficult classes. For many schools, this means a 0-5.0 scale, but some scales go up higher (like to 6.0).

In the lowest-level classes, grades will still stand for the same numbers as they would on an unweighted GPA scale (i.e., an A is a 4.0, a B is a 3.0, etc.). However, in honors or AP classes, an A will translate into a 5.0 GPA, a B will be a 4.0, and so on. If your school has mid-level classes, an A might translate into a 4.5 GPA.

Keep in mind that these are general estimates. If your school records weighted GPAs, check its specific policies. Weighted GPAs are used in an effort to present a more accurate picture of academic abilities based on the rigor of a student's coursework.

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## Which GPA Do Colleges Care About?

Of course, every college is different, but in general colleges care more about your record of coursework than your GPA out of context. For this reason, I can't say that colleges necessarily care "more" about unweighted or weighted GPA. Between the two, weighted GPA provides more useful information, but they will still look closely at your transcript instead of just taking your GPA at face value.

Your GPA is an overview of how you did in high school, but every admissions department will dig deeper (unless your GPA is exceptionally low—think below 2.0) before making a blanket judgment based solely on that number, whether it's weighted or unweighted.

This is because the GPA scales of different high schools can't be compared directly. Some schools might count honors and AP classes as "high level" for weighted GPAs, and some might only count APs. Some AP classes are also easier than others. It wouldn't be fair for colleges to give a student who earned an A in a notoriously difficult class like AP Physics the same credit as a student who earned an A in AP Psychology, even if they have the same weighted GPA.

Colleges want to see that you have pushed yourself to take on academic challenges and managed to grow over time. If your academic record demonstrates increasing difficulty of coursework, this will look impressive to colleges, even if your GPA isn't stellar. If you have a 4.0 but remained in all the least challenging classes in high school, colleges will be less impressed since you didn't push yourself further academically. even though you were clearly capable of doing so.

If you're getting all As in low-level classes, don't stay complacent just because you have a good GPA. It's absolutely worth it to move up a level and challenge yourself, even if it leads to a slight drop in your GPA. Colleges look at the whole picture, and they will make note of the fact that you forced yourself to leave your comfort zone and grow intellectually.

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Just to make sure we're on the right track, let's check the official policies of a range of schools. Here are some quotes about GPA taken from the admissions websites for Harvard, Ithaca College, Stanford, Claremont McKenna College, and the University of Texas at Austin.