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    It’s important to know what your high school GPA is and how to calculate it. The reason why it’s important to know is that you will have to record it on your college application. Your current high school grades affect your GPA and are ultimately part of the reason whether you get accepted into a college or not. Learn in this article how to calculate your GPA and the different types of GPA there are.

    When is your high school GPA important?

    You may be wondering why your GPA matters and the easy answer is for college admission. There are thousands of applications going from college to college; therefore, the college has to determine who is the best fit for their programs. 

    Unfortunately, they’re not able to admit everyone, so the college admission officers will use your GPA as an initial judgment of your grades against the school standards. Of course, there are other things to take into consideration, such as your SAT score, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. However, your GPA is a common determining factor between you and all the other students.  

    There are other reasons to have a high GPA than just to get into college. Since you will be a fresh high school graduate that means you will likely not have a lot of work experience. Employers will look into your high school GPA to see how important your studies were to you. If you weren’t always responsible they may not think you can take on a job. 

    The same rule applies to clubs and sports, for example, the national honors society or a sports program. They will only accept serious applicants with high GPAs. So do your best to keep your studies consistent and try to your best ability.  

    Different types of GPA

    Grade point averages will always serve the same purpose and calculate the average of your grades put together. However, a college or job might ask for a specific GPA and the number can. This is why it is important to know the difference between each. 

    Before advanced placement or honors courses were available, there was only one type of GPA. The regularly used GPA only contained the grade you received in a class and how many classes you took. Typically the unweighted calculation is used the most; however, that might change in the future.  

    Now GPAs are calculated differently with the addition of advanced placement classes. There are weighted and non-weighted GPAs. The difference between the two is just how a class is graded. Originally an A was classified as a 4.0, but now if it is an advanced class, then it is classified as a 5.0 for an A. 

    Not only do we have weighted and non-weighted GPAs, but we also have cumulative GPAs. This means you will calculate all of your semesters throughout high school and see your total GPA. So if you did better one year and worse a different year, it would all balance out. 

    How to calculate your High School GPA

    There are multiple ways to calculate your GPA. We will explain how to calculate a weighted, unweighted, and cumulative GPA.

    Weighted GPA

    A weighted GPA factors in your advanced placement or honors classes. There is a corresponding number assigned to each class and in this case, some of those numbers will be elevated. 

    Assign each grade a number
    Use the appropriate weighted table for AP or advanced and honors classes. Assign each of the grades to a corresponding number (A=5.0 for AP classes).
    Add numbers together
    Add your list of numbers and divide them by the number of grades you have for the courses you took (if you took five classes, divide the total by five).
    Note your weighted GPA
    The quotient when you divide that number by the number of classes taken is the weighted GPA.

    Unweighted GPA

    The unweighted GPA calculation assumes all classes are worth the same weight and each letter grade corresponds to a number from 0 to 4.

    Assign each grade a number
    Use a table and assign each of your grades to a corresponding number (A = 4.0).
    Add the numbers
    Add the numbers of all of the grades together to come up with a total.
    Divide the numbers
    Divide the total by the number of classes you took. For example, if you took six classes that you received letter grades in, you'd divide that total by six.
    Make note of the number
    The average from the calculation above is your unweighted GPA.

    Cumulative GPA

    Your cumulative GPA, on the other hand, is the total semester average for all of your grades in high school up until the calculation point. If you were a senior, for instance, your cumulative GPA would be the average for the fall and spring semesters for all four years.

    Obtain semester GPAs
    Obtain the semester GPA for all semesters in school. For every complete year in school, you likely have a fall and spring semester GPA.
    Add the numbers
    Add all semesters and make note of the total.
    Divide the numbers
    Take the sum of all of your semesters and divide it by the number of semesters in school. For instance, if you're a senior, you would divide that number by eight, which is comprised of two semesters a year for four years. If you are a freshman, on the other hand, you would divide the number by two, the fall and spring semesters of your one year of high school.
    Get the result
    The result of the above is your cumulative GPA, which is the one colleges will look at.

    Key takeaways about calculating GPA

    Now that you know how to properly calculate your high school GPA you will be prepared if your preferred college or employer asks for your number of you. It is important to study hard and have a high GPA for the benefit of securing a good college or job. It is even more impressive if a student can keep consistently high grades and complete extracurricular activities. This demonstrates that you are able to perform multiple tasks efficiently and delegate your time accordingly. 

    GPA FAQs

    In college, the minimum grade point average is 2.0. This is typically considered a C average. If this grade point average is not maintained then you could potentially lose benefits or your position at that college. 

    Typically colleges look at the cumulative GPA because it shows your success over the entirety of your college career. 

    The most effective way to raise your GPA is to consistently attend classes and turn in all your schoolwork. Another way to excel in your classes is to get good grades on your tests or quizzes. They are traditionally worth more points than homework. 

    The only real reason that a job would look at your GPA is if you are fresh out of high school and have no prior work experience, that is when an employer will look at your GPA. They're looking for the effort that you put into receiving good grades in high school.

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