What Is a Weighted GPA?What Is an Unweighted GPA?Weighted GPA vs. Unweighted GPADo Colleges Look at Weighted or Unweighted GPA?How to Calculate Your Unweighted GPAHow to Calculate Your Weighted GPAFAQs: Weighted GPA

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

*Reviewed: 5/5/22*

*Do colleges look at a weighted GPA? We’ll cover the difference between a weighted and unweighted GPA, what colleges look for in terms of GPA, and how to calculate each type.*

According to a report published by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the five most important factors considered during the college application process are:

- Grades in all courses
- Grades in college prep courses
- SAT and ACT scores
- Strength of your high school curriculum
- Application essay or writing sample

Although your grades, known as grade point average (GPA), are important, there's confusion surrounding what GPAs colleges look at: weighted or unweighted, or both. We’ll answer this question, explore the difference between a weighted and unweighted GPA, examine what GPA colleges look at, and explain how to calculate your final grades.

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## What Is a Weighted GPA?

Let’s talk about what a weighted GPA means. A GPA illustrates the average value of your final grades. A weighted GPA represents the average value of your final grades earned in classes considering their difficulty.

Several more difficult classes include:

- International Baccalaureate (IB) classes
- Advanced Placement (AP) classes
- Honors classes

Weighted GPAs are measured on a 0 to 5.0 scale to account for the increased difficulty of some classes, though some schools use a 12.0 scale. But what is a good GPA? It often comes down to your individual institution's expectations.

While some schools may be happy with a weighted GPA of 3.7 or above, top colleges often admit students with a weighted GPA above 4.0.

## What Is an Unweighted GPA?

Unlike a weighted GPA, an unweighted GPA doesn’t consider course difficulty and is measured on a 0 to 4.0 scale. This can be problematic for some students, as an unweighted GPA doesn’t reflect the extra time, effort, and skills advanced-level courses take to complete.

## Weighted GPA vs. Unweighted GPA

So, what is the difference between a weighted versus unweighted GPA? Consider the table below, which outlines how numeric and letter grades are converted into overall grades on a 4.0 scale. While a 4.0 GPA scale is common, it isn’t universal, so double-check how your high school calculates your overall GPA.

So, with an unweighted GPA, an A grade earned in a regular English course is the same grade as an A in an AP English course. As such, a student who earns straight B’s in regular-level courses may have a higher overall GPA than another who achieved similar grades in more advanced classes.

## Do Colleges Look at Weighted or Unweighted GPA?

So, do universities look at weighted GPA? Colleges consider your unweighted or weighted high school GPA alongside other grades, including your semester GPA and cumulative GPA. Admissions officers look at your official transcripts to contextualize your GPA and understand which classes you thrived.

Your high school transcript will usually display your:

- High school classes, arranged in chronological order
- Grades achieved in each class
- Overall weighted or unweighted GPA (depending on what your high school uses)
- Class rank (if applicable)
- SAT or ACT scores and any other standardized or proficiency test scores
- Graduation date

Although most high schools provide colleges with your unweighted or weighted GPA, universities often recalculate it. Colleges do this to create an even playing field for all applicants since there’s no universal high school grading scale.

For example, Student A has an unweighted GPA of 3.5, and Student B has a weighted GPA of 4.0. At first glance, Student B seems like the more impressive candidate. However, colleges often look at students’ class placements.

In this example, Student A is one of the top students in their class, and Student B is 13th. Thus, Student A may have more impressive credentials and more potential to cope with the difficulty of college-level education.

When universities recalculate your GPA, they typically use their own scales and ignore certain classes. For example, MIT calculates GPAs on a 5.0 scale and ignores the following things in its calculation:

- Subjects graded with a P, S, URN, SA, T
- Non-completed subjects with a grade of I, OX, J, U
- Grades earned from Advanced Standing Exams
- Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) subjects

Filling your transcript with “easier” electives to get a 4.0 GPA isn’t a great idea; many programs don’t factor them into their decision.

## How to Calculate Your Unweighted GPA

Now that we understand the difference between an unweighted and weighted GPA, we can learn how they’re calculated. For an unweighted GPA, “all classes are worth the same weight and each letter grade corresponds to a number from 0-4.” As noted in the table above:

- A = 4.0
- B = 3.0
- C = 2.0
- D = 1.0
- F = 0

Some colleges will consider or ignore plusses and minuses, so research what factors your preferred school considers when calculating your GPA. To account for plusses and minuses, you can use a table like the one below:

To calculate your unweighted GPA, use these lists and assign your grades a corresponding number. Then, add the numbers to create a total, and your final GPA is this total divided by the number of classes where you earned a grade.

### Calculating Your Unweighted GPA Example 1

If you received two A’s and three B’s, you would have:

(A = 4.0) x 2 = 8.0

(B = 3.0) x 3 = 9.0

Then, add the assigned numbers together to create a total. In this example, the total is:

8.0 + 9.0 = 17

Once you have a total, divide the total by the number of classes you took. In this case, the total number of classes was five, so your unweighted GPA is:

17 (total points for grades received)/ 5 (number of classes) = **3.40**

### Calculating Your Unweighted GPA Example 2

Let’s look at another example where a candidate received three A+’s, two A-’s, and a B-. Our assigned numbers are:

(A+ = 4.0) x 3 = 12.0

(A- = 3.7) x 2 = 7.4

(B- = 2.7) x 1 = 2.7

Our total is then:

12.0 + 7.4 + 2.7 = 22.1

Finally, our GPA is our total divided by the number of classes:

22.1 (total points for grades received)/ 6 (number of classes) = **3.68**

## How to Calculate Your Weighted GPA

Let’s talk about how to calculate a weighted GPA. Calculating a weighted GPA is slightly harder since certain classes are worth more than others; AP, IB, and honors classes are worth more than their standard-level equivalents.

These tables outline how numeric and letter grades in AP, Honors, and standard-level classes are converted into overall grades on a 5.0 GPA scale:

Honors classes may be graded based on a 4.5 scale:

Similar to calculating an unweighted GPA, use the tables provided to assign numbers to your grades in AP and Honors classes and add them together to create a total. Then, divide the total by the number of grades you have for the courses you took, and you have your weighted GPA.

### Calculating Your Weighted GPA Example 1

Let’s look at an example of how to calculate a weighted GPA. Evan received the following grades in his high school classes:

- AP Math (A)
- AP Language Arts (B)
- Standard-level German (B)
- Science Honors (A)
- History Honors (B)

First, let’s assign a numeric value to each lettered grade:

- AP Math (C) = 3.0
- AP Language Arts (B) = 4.0
- Standard-level German (B) = 3.7
- Science Honors (A) = 4.5
- History Honors (B) = 3.5

Adding these numbers together creates the total of:

3.0 + 4.0 + 3.7 + 4.5 + 3.5 = 18.7

Finally, dividing Evan’s total by the number of classes taken gives us his weighted GPA of:

18.7 (total points for grades received)/ 5 (number of classes) = **3.74**

### Calculating Your Weighted GPA Example 2

Emily received the following grades in her high school classes:

- Math Honors (A-)
- Standard-level Language Arts (B+)
- AP German (B)
- AP Science (A-)
- Standard-level History Honors (B-)
- Art History Honors (C+)

First, let’s assign a numeric value to each lettered grade:

- Math Honors (A-) = 4.2
- Standard-level Language Arts (B+) = 4.0
- AP German (B) = 4.0
- AP Science (A-) = 4.7
- Standard-level History (B-) = 3.3
- Art History Honors (C+) = 2.8

Adding these numbers together creates the total of:

4.2 + 4.0 + 4.0 + 4.7 + 3.3 + 2.8 = 23.0

Finally, dividing Emily’s total by the number of classes taken gives us her weighted GPA of:

23.0 (total points for grades received)/ 6 (number of classes) = **3.83**

## FAQs: Weighted GPA

If you still have questions about weighted GPAs, check out these FAQs!

### 1. What Is a Good Weighted GPA?

It depends, but evaluating the class profile data of the schools you want to apply to is a good start. You can use this data to compare your stats to admitted students and determine what is a good weighted GPA.

### 2. Do Colleges Recalculate My Weighted GPA?

Most colleges recalculate your GPA using their methods to standardize the admissions process. However, the methods used by programs vary considerably.

### 3. How Can I Improve My Weighted GPA?

There are several ways you can improve your weighted GPA. The most obvious choice is to take more challenging courses and excel in them; however, there is a fine balance between pushing yourself and getting in over your head.

Colleges don’t want to see you take too many AP classes and achieve low grades, and they also don’t want to see you achieve a 4.00 GPA in standard-level courses.

### 4. Do Colleges Look at Weighted GPA?

Colleges look at your GPA, whether it’s weighted or unweighted. The GPA they consider is according to what is provided to them by your high school.

### 5. Do Weighted GPA Requirements Differ for In-State and Out-of-State Applicants?

The weighted GPA requirements of in-state and out-of-state applicants can vary considerably between colleges. For example, the University of New Orleans has the same GPA requirements for in-state and out-of-state applicants.

The University of California, on the other hand, has different GPA requirements for in-state and out-of-state applicants.

### 6. What Is the Average Weighted GPA for Ivy League Schools?

Since Ivy League schools are highly competitive, the average weighted GPA of incoming classes tends to be approximately 4.0 or 4.1.

### 7. How Can I Calculate My High School Weighted GPA?

Use the above tables to assign numbers to your grades in AP, Honors, and standard-level classes and add them together to create a total. Then, divide the total by the number of courses you took, and you will have your weighted GPA.

If you’re still struggling to calculate your weighted GPA, consider using a free online GPA calculator such as Iowa State University’s or Texas A&M’s.

## Do Colleges Look At Weighted GPA? Yes, and No

So, do colleges look at your weighted GPA? The answer is yes, and no. Colleges review whatever GPAs your high school provides them with, but they typically recalculate them to ensure students are evaluated on a level playing field.

Universities may also consider your class rank, the difficulty of your high school’s curriculum, and the classes you completed. When calculating your weighted GPA, remember to account for the difficulty of your classes. Good luck with your application!

## FAQs

### Do Colleges Look at Weighted GPA? ›

**Colleges will look at either weighted or unweighted GPAs in your application**. They do tend to prefer weighted, because it gives more information about the difficulty of your classes, but don't worry if your school uses an unweighted scale.

**Is a weighted GPA of 3.7 good? ›**

A 3.7 GPA stands for a Grade Point Average of 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. It indicates that you've earned a predominantly A- average in your courses. **A 3.7 GPA is considered to be a very good GPA** and is often an indicator of strong academic performance.

**Is it better to use weighted or unweighted GPA? ›**

A high unweighted GPA indicates an academically successful student, and a high weighted GPA demonstrates they can maintain that level of success when faced with rigorous coursework. Institutions value both of those indicators when they consider students for admission.

**Is 4.2 weighted GPA good? ›**

A 4.2 indicates that you are earning Bs and B+s in high level classes or As and A+s in mid level classes. **This is a very good GPA**, and it should give you a strong chance of admission at most colleges. 99.36% of schools have an average GPA below a 4.2.

**Is a weighted GPA of 4.7 good? ›**

So, is a 4.7 GPA good? The national average GPA is around 3.0, so a 4.7 GPA is **well above the national average**. However, keep in mind that the 3.0 national average represents the average GPA of all students, not just those applying to universities.

**Can I get into Harvard with a 3.7 GPA unweighted? ›**

Can I get into Harvard with a 3.7 GPA? Harvard does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, Harvard is highly competitive, so **it may be challenging to get in with a 3.7 GPA**. The average GPA for entering Harvard students is 3.9.

**Is a 3.92 weighted GPA good? ›**

But in most cases, a weighted grade of 3.5 is considered good, and will at least allow you to apply to most major universities. **A weighted grade of 4.0 or higher is very good and will be an impressive part of any application.**

**Why don t colleges look at weighted GPA? ›**

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.

**Which GPA matters the most? ›**

As such, a **weighted GPA** tends to be more important in the admissions process for the simple reason that they can help communicate how challenging a student's course load is. A Weighted GPA demonstrate how many advanced classes you've taken, and your performance in them.

**Does Harvard look at weighted or unweighted GPA? ›**

...

Average GPA (weighted) of Accepted Students at Top Schools.

University | Average GPA (weighted) of Accepted Student |
---|---|

Harvard University | 4.15 |

Columbia University | 4.14 |

### Can I get into UCLA with a 4.2 GPA? ›

**California applicants must earn at least a 3.0 GPA** and nonresidents must earn a minimum 3.4 GPA in all A-G or college-preparatory courses to meet this requirement.

**Do colleges look at your senior year GPA? ›**

The important thing to know is that **colleges do look at your senior year grades**. So, a weaker performance in senior year than in previous grades can impact your application and college admissions decisions.

**What GPA does Harvard accept? ›**

You should also have a **4.18 GPA or higher**. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.

**Is it possible to have a 6.0 GPA? ›**

Not All GPAs are Created Equal

There is wide variability in the scale used to calculate GPA. **GPAs can be based on a 4.0, 5.0 or 6.0 scale**.

**Which grade GPA do colleges look at? ›**

Your sophomore, junior, and senior years foretell your academic ability to succeed in college. Colleges will look at your **sophomore grades**, whether it's to see if you maintained an acceptable GPA or improved from the year before.

**Do colleges look at freshman year? ›**

Talking point: **The vast majority of colleges care about your freshman year grades**. (The one big exception are the public University of California and California State schools, which calculate your GPA starting in tenth grade.) By doing your best now, you'll keep the doors to your dream colleges open.

**What is the lowest GPA Yale will accept? ›**

Visiting campus or attending an information session can be an excellent way to learn more about Yale, but it will not affect your chances of admission. What is the minimum GPA required for admission? **We do not set a minimum GPA**, nor do we attempt to re-weight GPA's to any standard other than what a school provides.

**What is the lowest GPA to get into the Ivy League? ›**

**None of the Ivy League schools have a minimum GPA requirement for applications**, which means anyone can apply regardless of their GPA.

**What is the easiest Ivy League to get into? ›**

The Easiest Ivy League schools to get into

**Cornell** is the easiest and youngest Ivy League school. It was established in 1865 and is situated in Ithaca, New York. Out of 49,114 candidates, Cornell accepted 5,330, for an admission percentage of around 10.9%.

**Will one B ruin a 4.0 GPA high school? ›**

If you you only got one B in a standard 8 semesters, your GPA would be (4x39+3)/40, which is 3.98, which **many places would round to 4.0 anyway**. In the U.S., it is assumed that a perfect GPA reflects a soulless person who won't be a good employee. Major companies prefer a 3.8 to a 4.0.

### Can I get into UCLA with a 3.85 GPA? ›

Therefore, to answer the question “What GPA is required for UCLA?” Note that to be considered for admission to UCLA, you must be at the top of your class. You will require approximately straight As in all of your classes to meet the UCLA GPA requirement, as the average unweighted GPA of UCLA-approved students is 3.9.

**What is an impressive weighted GPA? ›**

Since the difficulty of courses plays a role in weighted GPAs, **a 5.0** would be impressive. As mentioned previously, too, some schools use different weighted GPA scales.

**How do I unweight my GPA? ›**

Once you have the grade point for every course, the unweighted GPA is calculated by **adding all of the grade points together, then dividing the sum by the number of courses that were added**.

**What is the average GPA in America? ›**

The average high school GPA in the US is 3.0, which also accounts for roughly 35% of students who don't end up applying for college. However, for college applicants, the average GPA is more likely **between 3.5 and 4.0**.

**Do colleges ignore weighted GPA? ›**

First, know that **admissions committees are not fooled by weighted GPAs**! Based on school reports, conversations with guidance counselors, and previous knowledge of the applicant's high school, admissions officers know whether they're looking at a weighted or unweighted GPA, and will only compare like with like.

**What is the lowest GPA accepted? ›**

Unofficially, **2.0** is the lowest GPA accepted into a standard college, so while there's a chance that college admission is possible, it's not likely at more than a few institutions.

**What GPA do most successful people have? ›**

According to the book “The Millionaire Mind,” **the average college GPA of a millionaire was 2.9**. They found no statistical correlation between economic productivity and academic performance. “Smarter” people tend to take less risk.

**What is the best GPA to worst GPA? ›**

Essentially, **the highest GPA you can earn is a 4.0**, which indicates an A average in all of your classes. A 3.0 would indicate a B average, a 2.0 a C average, a 1.0 a D, and a 0.0 an F.

**What is the lowest GPA to get into Stanford? ›**

There is **no minimum GPA or test score**, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.

**What is the lowest weighted GPA for Harvard? ›**

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. **With a GPA of 4.18**, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.

### What GPA is required for Yale? ›

In truth, you need **close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA** to get into Yale. That means nearly straight As in every class.

**What is the lowest GPA that got into UCLA? ›**

You must have a **3.0 GPA (3.4 for non-residents)** or higher and no grades lower than a C in required high school courses.

**What is the lowest weighted GPA accepted to UCLA? ›**

UCLA requires a minimum **3.0 GPA**

It is not enough to simply fill out a UCLA application. Because UCLA is part of the rigorous UC system, the UCLA GPA requirements are dictated by the whole UC system. In order to get into any UC school, students must earn at least a 3.0 GPA and may not have any grades below a “C”.

**What is the average weighted GPA for UC Berkeley? ›**

Average GPA: 3.89

The average GPA at UC Berkeley is 3.89. This makes UC Berkeley Extremely Competitive for GPAs. (**Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0**, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 3.89, UC Berkeley requires you to be near the top of your class, and well above average.

**What grade is a 3.7 weighted GPA? ›**

Letter Grade | Percent Grade | 4.0 Scale |
---|---|---|

A | 93-96 | 4.0 |

A- | 90-92 | 3.7 |

B+ | 87-89 | 3.3 |

B | 83-86 | 3.0 |

**What percentage is a 3.7 weighted GPA? ›**

3.7 GPA is equivalent to **93%** or A letter grade.

**What letter grade is a 3.7 weighted GPA? ›**

A 3.7 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a A- letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale, and a percentage grade of 90–92.

**Can I get into UCLA with a 3.7 GPA? ›**

UC has a specific way to calculate the grade point average (GPA) it requires for admission. **California applicants must earn at least a 3.0 GPA** and nonresidents must earn a minimum 3.4 GPA in all A-G or college-preparatory courses to meet this requirement.

**Can I get into an Ivy League with a 3.7 GPA? ›**

**Yes, you can get into an Ivy League with a 3.7 GPA**. Though, the lower your grade, the less your chances of getting into an Ivy League, but with a strong personal statement and a properly packaged application, you can get in with a grade even less than 3.7 GPA.

**Can I get into Yale with a 3.7 GPA? ›**

What GPA do I need to get into Yale? What GPA do I need to get into Yale college admission? There is not much of a way to get around the fact that **you need an unweighted grade point average of nearly 4.0** in order to pass Yale's admissions process and as part of Yale GPA and SAT requirements.

### Can I get into Stanford with a 3.7 GPA? ›

**There is no minimum GPA or test score**, nor is there any specific number of AP or honors courses you must have on your transcript in order to have your application reviewed or be admitted to Stanford.

**What is a good weighted GPA for Ivy League? ›**

...

Average GPA (weighted) of Accepted Students at Top Schools.

University | Average GPA (weighted) of Accepted Student |
---|---|

Yale University | 4.10 |

Stanford University | 4.13 |

Cornell University | 4.05 |

University of Pennsylvania | 4.10 |

**Is a 3.9 weighted GPA OK? ›**

It indicates that you've earned a predominantly A average in your courses. **A 3.9 GPA is considered a very good GPA** and is often an indicator of strong academic performance.