What is a Weighted GPA and How To Calculate It?

Weighted GPA is the ‘way old’ traditional method used in secondary schools to calculate the overall performance of the students -in a particular academic year. Learn More about How to calculate and need for it.

Updated by Viswathika on 1st October 2020

Weighted GPA is a rating given by considering both the difficulty level of that course and also your grades in that course. It is calculated by summing the extra points for honors or AP courses.

GPA is short for ‘Grade Point Average,’ typically calculated on your High school marks, considering your scores. Higher grade points and above-average SAT scores can fetch you top 50 colleges in the US. The following table represents the grades vs. points and gives you an idea about the GPA scale.

Also, Read - What is an Unweighted GPA? How to calculate it?

Grades

Points

A

4

B

3

C

2

D

1

F

0

So, if you score 4 A’s and 2 D’s, then your total score is 4+4+4+4+1+1=18, dividing this by entire courses gives your GPA. That is 18/6 gives 3.0 as your grade point.

It is a general grading pattern followed in most of the high-schools. In this article,  we will get to know more about what is a good weighted GPA, weighted and unweighted GPA, How to calculate a weighted GPA, why does it matter, the difference between weighted and unweighted GPA, How they affect your college admission, and many more.

Difference Between Weighted and Unweighted GPA?

An unweighted GPA is the ‘way old’ traditional method used in secondary schools to calculate the overall performance of the students -in a particular academic year. But as time changes, colleges prefer weighted GPA more than the former one.

An unweighted GPA is an average grade point that runs down the scale from 0 to 4.0, without considering the difficulty of the course. It means a student who scores ‘A’ in AP and ‘A’ in regular class are the same.

On the other hand, a weighted GPA takes the difficulty of the course in account to calculate the final grade and is scaled down in the range 0 to 5.0. The student who secured 'A' in AP class and 'A' in a regular class are not the same as the former one gets 5 points and the latter with just 4 points.

In simple terms, in a weighted GPA, more significant the difficulty, of course, higher the chance to fetch more grades.

Also, Read - Weighted Vs. Unweighted GPA

Need For a Weighted GPA?

Weighted GPA is one of the 'cold shoulder' topic which comes to picture when students enroll themselves for a more advanced course like Advanced Placement(AP), International Baccalaureate(IB), Honors to name a few, in their High-school.

Suppose a student X takes an AP class, which is difficult and demands more effort than a student Y who chooses a regular course. In that case, student X gets a higher average grade, even when his academic performance is lower than student Y. It is where a weighted GPA comes into the frame.

How to calculate your Weighted GPA?

Calculating your Weighted GPA is not a huge task and Here are a few simple steps show to calculate it with examples,

Step 1 - List out the course you attended and the grade point you bagged in it.

If you take 3 AP courses and secured ‘B’ in it, three regular classes and achieved ‘A,’ and one ordinary course and ‘F’ in it, note them down.

Step 2 - Write several points against the Grade using the above table.

3 ‘B’ in AP class gives (3*4) 12 points, 3’B’ in regular class gives you (3*3) 9points, and ‘F’ in the ordinary course 0 points. 

Step 3 - Take the sum of the total points.

In the above-mentioned case, the total point is 12 + 9 +0 = 21 points 

Step 4 - Divide the sum by the total course you attended.

In the above case, the total point was 21, and the total number of courses was 7, so now 21/7, we get 3.0 as the final weighted GPA.

Role of Weighted GPA in College Admission

In most of the cases, Colleges prefer a weighted GPA over an unweighted one.GPA is the one, which the evaluator considers initially in your application. So basically, it is the first impression you give about you to them. The higher the score is, the more excellent the probability to get shortlisted.

More than grades, a weighted GPA shows your ability to try something different and hard. It shows your expertise in handling situations under more pressure and the balance you took between your academics and extra-curricular. It gives a better opinion on you and a reason for them to select you for the course or the college you opted to.

Conclusion

Yes, most of the colleges prefer a candidate’s weighted GPA more than his/her unweighted one. As it shows, you have a higher potential and the ability to take up a 'more challenging' and a difficult course rather than a regular one. 

But, if your school does not provide a weighted score, do not panic! It is just one of the processes to select your college application. For further grouping down, they look at other aspects of your form, such as core courses, extra-curricular and overall performance.

So, if you have a low GPA, it is not the end of the world. Keep improving your profile from other aspects as well to increase the probability of getting your 'dream college'.