Importance of Weighted GPA in Getting College Admissions
A weighted grade point average or GPA is arrived at by giving extra points for taking challenging classes. While doing weighted grading in a school, bonus weight is given to Honors, Advanced Placement, and other college preparatory classes while calculating the GPA. Colleges may recalculate the GPA of students differently.
Significance of Weighted GPA
The underlying idea for calculating the GPA is that some courses are more challenging than others in high school, so they should receive more weightage. The hard work put in by the students who take more challenging classes should be acknowledged and rewarded. For instance, if students secure A-grades in two courses, such as remedial algebra and AP Calculus, the latter A grade is a better accomplishment than the former.
The academic record of students in high school occupies an important place in college applications. Selective colleges look for students who have secured high grades in challenging classes.
When the grades in challenging classes are weighted, it can give a different picture of the performance. Weighting grades is quite complicated because several schools weight the grades while others do not do so. Sometimes colleges may arrive at a grade point average that is not the same as the student’s unweighted or weighted GPA. Usually, this happens in selective colleges where most applicants would have taken IB, AP, and Honors.
Method of Calculation
Usually, the weighting is on a four-point grading scale where the grades and points are as follows:
Advanced Courses, AP, Honors: A-5, B-4, C-3, D-1, F-0
Regular Courses: A-4, B-3, C-2, D-1, F-0
So if a student took only AP classes and got an A in all of them, they may get a 5 GPA.
Using Weighted GPAs
High schools use weighted GPAs to determine class rank. But selective schools usually do not use these inflated grades. They prefer students who have taken challenging classes, but they also compare the applicants on the same four-point grading scale.
The schools that calculate the weighted GPAs include the unweighted grades of the students in their transcripts. Selective colleges use those unweighted numbers.
So if a student has a weighted GPA that is more than 4, they should not have high hopes of getting admission in selective colleges because their unweighted GPA would be 3.2, which is not very competitive. Most of the applicants to schools like Harvard and Stanford have taken several Honors and AP courses. There the admission officers look for applicants who have secured unweighted high grades.
But colleges that are less selective and find it difficult to get a sufficient number of students enrolled in the school use weighted GPAs.
A weighted grade point average gives additional points for challenging classes such as Honors, IB, and AP. High schools use this grading method to ensure that the pupils do not secure a high rank in class just by doing well in easy courses. Often selective colleges do not consider weighted grades. They give preference to unweighted grades.
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