This Is How To Calculate High School And College GPAs (With Minimal Brain Pain)

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Mother and teen daughter — GPA calculator.
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If you’re keeping an eye on your grades or your child’s grades, you might find a GPA calculator quite handy — especially if you want to know what grades lead to a good GPA for entry to college, earning scholarships, or maintaining financial aid. Calculating GPA is admittedly not super simple, especially if you’re looking at high schools that use a weighted grading system. The 4.0 system from yesteryear is dead, y’all. But don’t worry, we have some tips to help you figure out these GPAs.

Before you start, the important numbers you need to know are how many credits each class is worth (especially for college courses), what weighted grades are measured at (for schools that have this system), and what value each grade carries. Once you have these, you can start plugging everything in to get that magic number before report cards even come home. Alright, let’s get to work!

How do I calculate my GPA?

We’ll start with the simple formula for calculating GPA in an average high school that uses a standard simple system. Each class is worth four points on a 4.0 scale, and each class is most likely the same number of credit hours. If you earn an A, it’s worth four points. B is worth three points, C is worth two points, D is worth one point, and F is worth zero points. This is the info you need to start. Here’s a high school GPA calculator step-by-step you can use with an example course load.

  • Say you have five classes worth five credits each and earn three A’s and two B’s.
  • The A’s are worth four points, and the B’s are worth three points.
  • To calculate the A’s, multiply four by the number of credits — in this case, five. Each of those classes earned you 20 points.
  • To calculate the B’s, multiply three by the number of credits — in this case, five. The classes where you earned B’s earned you 15 points per class.
  • All together, you’ve earned 90 points.
  • Take the points earned (90) divided by credits attempted (25) to get your GPA. In this case, your GPA is a 3.6.

Now, in high school, all your classes most likely carry the same number of credits, so you can put in whatever number there makes the math easiest. The math may also differ if you have a (+) or (-) grade (like a B+ or a C-), but not all schools do that. This is something you’ll have to find out from the school in question so you can adjust your math.

Another metric to keep in mind is the percentage out of 100 that corresponds with each grade. Typically anything in the 90-100 range is an A, 80-89 is a B, 70-79 is a C, 60-69 is a D, and 59 and below is an F. However, some schools may rank grades differently. The cutoff for an A might be at 93 percent instead of 90 percent. Again, this is something to find out from the school.

You can mostly assume a college GPA calculator is much the same as high school, but college courses often have different credit numbers. You might have a chemistry lecture that’s three credit hours and a corresponding lab that’s only one credit. You can calculate your GPA using the provided formula by plugging in those credit hours.

What is a weighted GPA?

If you’re in a school where grades are weighted, you might be able to earn more than a 4.0 if you’re taking advanced courses like honors, AP, or IB classes, because these sometimes carry more weight in a GPA. The math will still follow the same pattern; the numbers will just differ based on your school’s grading system. An honors class may be measured on a 5.0 scale rather than a 4.0 scale, so even if you get A’s and B’s in advanced classes, you may still rank over a student who earns the same grades in standard classes.

Weighted GPAs, much like regular GPAs, can differ from school to school and state to state. If you want to keep track of your child’s or your own GPA at home, the best thing you can do is find out from the school how they calculate the grades. This will make it easier to do the math on your own.

Does your GPA affect FAFSA?

Yes, your GPA will affect whether or not you qualify for financial aid. Though financial aid is based mainly on just that — aiding your financial need — you have to maintain a certain predetermined GPA to qualify. This means you need to continue maintaining that GPA throughout university since you’re getting new financial aid each semester or each year, depending on your school and your education plan.

This number varies based on the aid you’re getting, but students and parents will be informed upfront what GPA is necessary to continue to receive financial assistance. If a student’s GPA falls below the threshold, they risk losing their financial aid for the time being. Once the GPA comes back up, though, it’s possible to get financial assistance again for a new semester or year.

It’s important to be aware of what GPA is needed for financial aid and for any other college qualifications (sports, clubs, etc.). Any extracurricular activities may require a certain GPA to participate, and you’ll want to have that in mind while in school.

What GPA is required for Harvard University?

To get admitted into Harvard University, applicants usually need a grade point average close to an unweighted 4.0. Remember, each college accepts students based on several factors, (yes, even Harvard) from extracurriculars to personal statements, so don’t let a slightly lower score keep you from applying to their dream school!

What is the hardest college to get into?

Grade point averages hold a lot of weight, especially when applying to really competitive colleges and universities. According to BestColleges, Columbia University and Stanford University have an acceptance rate of 3.9 percent, while Harvard University is at 4 percent, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is at 4.1 percent.

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