How Is High School GPA Calculated? Types of GPAs

High school GPA is one of the first fields to fill out on a college application (GPA). Understanding this number’s formula will help you know what it is and how your grades affect it. The way that the GPA is calculated varies.

This page discusses the many sorts of GPAs, explains why calculating a high school GPA is significant, and offers instructions for doing so.

Why Is High School GPA Important?

There are more applications than available slots at most institutions and certain technical institutes. When this occurs, they utilize a differentiator to determine which applicants to accept.

The applicant’s GPA is often considered by admissions officers when deciding which applicants are most likely to succeed in their program.

Even though there may be other factors that admission committees take into account, such as SAT scores, academic coursework, extracurricular activities, work history, letters of recommendation, or volunteerism, they frequently base their decisions on GPA because it is a variable that applies to every applicant and is simple to compare.

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Since most recent high school graduates have little relevant work experience, GPA can be a significant determining factor for hiring employers. How seriously an applicant takes their education can be judged by their GPA.

Many sports programs will only take into consideration applicants with high GPAs, and GPA is also used to determine entrance to specific clubs like the National Honors Society.

Types of GPAs

You should be aware of various types of GPAs, even though a GPA is always the average of scores stated in decimal notation. A college or employer might request your GPA, and understanding which one is being asked might impact the result.

Before the introduction of AP and honors courses, there was only one type of GPA. The grade received and the number of studies taken—each carrying the same weight—were considered. Even if it may become less popular in the future, the unweighted calculation is still the most popular.

With the abundance of advanced courses accessible today, “weighted” GPAs are becoming more and more common. More difficult classes (like AP or honors) are valued higher in calculating a weighted GPA.

For instance, if all As in regular classes results in a 4.0 GPA, all As in AP classes would result in a 5.0 GPA, while all As in honors classes would result in a 4.5 GPA.

Also, this implies that, in a weighted GPA system, a B in an AP class is equivalent to a 4.0 or an A in a regular class. So, earning a higher grade in an AP course will make your GPA appear more significant than that of students who earned the same degree in a regular class.

You have cumulative and semester (or trimester) GPAs and weighted and unweighted GPAs. Your cumulative GPA takes into account all of your high school grades. The cumulative GPA and your high school transcript detailing the courses you took and the steps you earned are what colleges will see.

They are less worried about specific semesters. Their understanding of your total high school academic performance is expanded thanks to your cumulative GPA. The majority of employers do not request copies of your high school records.

Although the cumulative GPA offers more insight into overall performance, if you graduated with a significantly higher GPA than you have cumulatively, you could provide the GPA for your graduating semester instead of the overall score and explain the effort you put into improving your grades that may not be apparent in the cumulative GPA.

How Is High School GPA Calculated?

How Is High School GPA Calculated? Types of GPAs

Your high school GPA can be determined in several ways. To select each GPA type, follow these steps:


The fundamental GPA calculation assumes that all classes have equal weight and that each letter grade is equivalent to a number between 0 and 4.

A: 4.0
B: 3.0
C: 2.0
D: 1.0
F: 0

Some schools may assign a pluses and minuses rating. The matching letter and number grade in certain circumstances is more like this (with an F earning no credit and a 0 for the course):

A+: 4.0
A: 4.0
A-: 3.7
B+: 3.3
B: 3.0
B-: 2.7
C+: 2.3
C: 2.0
C-: 1.7
D+: 1.3
D: 1.0
D-: .7

The steps for determining unweighted high school GPAs are as follows:

1. Assign Each Grade A Number

Use the table to convert each grade into a numerical value (A = 4.0).

2. Add The Numbers

To get a total, add the numbers from each grade together.

3. Divide The Numbers

By the number of lessons you attended, divide the sum. Divide the sum by six; for instance, if you took six classes and obtained letter grades in each.

4. Make A Note of The Number

Your unweighted GPA is the average from the calculations above.

Weighted GPA

AP, advanced, or honors classes receive a higher matching number in a weighted GPA. The associated figures are then slightly higher than the unweighted numbers.

For AP classes:

A: 5.0
B: 4.0
C: 3.0
D: 2.0
F: 0

For advanced or honors classes:

A: 4.5
B: 3.5
C: 2.5
D: 1.5
F: 0

The steps for calculating weighted GPAs are as follows:

1. Assign Each Grade A Number

For honors and AP classes, use the appropriately weighted chart. Assign a comparable number to each grade (A=5.0 for AP courses).

2. Add Numbers Together

Sum up all your numbers, then divide the total by how many grades you received for the courses you took (if you took five classes, divide the total by five).

3. Note Your Weighted GPA

The weighted GPA is the result of dividing that sum by the total number of classes taken.

These point tables can determine your GPA for the current semester or your whole high school career.

Semester calculations

A semester’s worth of grades is considered when calculating your GPA. Previous academic achievements or difficulties would not be considered in this number.

The steps to calculate your semester GPA are as follows:

1. Calculate Your GPA For Each Quarter

Use the weighted or unweighted formulas above to determine your GPA for each quarter.

2. Add Your GPA For Both Quarters

Add the GPAs for your first and second quarters that you calculated before.

3. Divide The Sum

Your GPA for the first and second quarters combined should be divided by two, the number of quarters in the first semester.

4. Note Your Number

Your first-semester grade point average, weighted or unweighted, results from the formula above. The first and second quarters would be included in the computation for the first and second semester GPA, while the third and fourth quarters would be used for the second semester GPA.

Cumulative GPA

Your cumulative GPA is the entire semester average of all your high school grades up to the computation point. For instance, if you were a senior, your cumulative GPA would be the average of the four years’ worth of fall and spring semesters.

How Is High School GPA Calculated? Types of GPAs

Here is how you figure out your overall GPA:

1. Obtain Semester GPAs

Get the semester GPA for each academic semester. You probably have a fall and spring semester GPA for each full academic year.

2. Add The Numbers

Make a note of the total after adding each semester.

3. Divide By Semesters

Divide the total number of semesters you have left in school by the sum of all your semesters. If you’re a senior, you might split that amount by eight, as you have two semesters per year for four years of school.

In contrast, if you are a freshman, you would divide the amount by two, accounting for the autumn and spring semesters of your first year of high school.

4. Get The Result

Universities will consider your total GPA, which was determined using the formula above.


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