What is GPA?

  • Grade Point Average (GPA) is one, academic data point that colleges use to compare applicants.  While they most closely look class-by-class at what courses you took and how you performed (your final grade for each class) each year, overall GPA can be a helpful measuring stick of how competitive you are for a school, based on how you compare overall to prior accepted students.

    To calculate your GPA, each class’s 0-100 final grade is converted to a 0.0-4.0 "quality point" scale, with added “weights” for Honors (+.5) & AP/CCP/PLTW (+1.0).  See the chart below.


    On a 10-pt. scale, 0-59 is worth 0.0; 60-69 is worth 1.0; 70-79 is worth 2.0; 80-89 is worth 3.0; and 90-100 is worth 4.0.


    To calculate your GPA for a year or overall, you add up your total quality points and divide by Potential High School Credits to calculate your overall GPA. Middle school credits count for graduation, but are not calculated into GPA (no quality points and no potential high school credit calculated). The document that colleges see is your high school transcript, which records your final grades for a class and whether or not a credit was earned. See a sample transcript below.


    This sample transcript shows each high school credit earned, your final grade, Weighted and Unweighted Quality Points for GPA

What is a "Good" GPA?

  • Remember, colleges do a good job at looking at each year’s individual classes on your transcript, so the overall GPA isn’t as black-and-white as you may think.  And, “average” GPAs of admitted students are the average, with students that have higher or lower GPAs.  This is where extracurriculars and recommendations have a huge role.

    That said, the most competitive schools’ accepted students could have an average GPA over 4.0, students who were very successful in Honors and AP classes.  Other schools’ average GPAs will range from around 3.0 and up, depending on the school. Look up a school in Naviance, or search for a school's Class Profile, to find the average GPA of admitted students.