GPA is the first and foremost part of a college application that admissions offices examine.
Your GPA summarizes, in one number, the average of all the grades you received over the course of your time earning a diploma. GPA scale allows you to associate that number with an average letter grade. Read on to learn more about weighted and unweighted GPA scales, what constitutes a good GPA, and download our free GPA scale cheat sheet.
Use this scale to translate your GPA to a percentage or letter grade. Keep in mind that letter grades may vary by school, but percentages and GPA are consistent.
GPA (on a 4.0 scale)
On the GPA scale, in general, an A is worth four points, a B is worth three points, a C is worth two points, and a D is worth one point. Any grade lower than that is worth 0 points.
Weighted vs. unweighted GPA
Weighted GPA takes the difficulty of courses into account, and unweighted GPA does not. On the weighted GPA scale, certain classes (typically those designated as honors, advanced, or AP courses) are measured on a 5.0 scale as opposed to the traditional unweighted 4.0 GPA scale.
On a weighted GPA scale, depending on the school, an A is worth five points, a B is worth four points, a C is worth three points, and a D is worth two points. Your weighted GPA is a combination of your grades from both weighted and unweighted classes.
For example, you could be getting a B in honors math and an A in gym class, but since the former is a weighted class and the latter is not, you would earn a 4.0 for both classes. An average of all Bs in honors courses and all As in regular courses would be a 4.0 GPA.
What is a good GPA?
A good GPA depends on the difficulty of classes at your school, your academic ability, and whether or not your GPA meets the requirements of a college or program you are applying to. Most top colleges require a weighted GPA of 3.5 or higher, while some very selective schools require even higher GPAs.
While GPA is an important part of a college application, admissions officers look at it in addition to how much you challenged yourself in your coursework, extracurricular activities, your admissions essay, and other factors.
Achieving a high GPA is harder for some students than it is for others, and what is a good GPA for you may not be the same as that of the next student.
How does your GPA measure up?
Make sure you know what kind of GPA your grades are earning you—download this cheat sheet to quickly reference how your grades in both weighted and unweighted classes measure up on the GPA scale.