What Is an Unweighted GPA?

Weighted GPA is the average GPA calculated without considering the difficulty of the course. Learn how to calculate unweighted GPA and more about weighted vs unweighted GPA.

TCM Staff

22nd September 2021

Your grades describe your overall academic success in high school. An F usually means you flunked a certain class, while an A+ means you passed with flying colors. Although different High schools have different ways to calculate the overall performance of their students, the GPA remains constant. Your GPA is your overall measure of academic success for all your classes. 

But weighted GPA and unweighted GPA aren’t the same, and you might want to learn how to calculate unweighted GPA and, “do colleges look at weighted or unweighted GPA.  

 

What Is Unweighted GPA? 

An unweighted GPA is one of the most used GPA scales across U.S. high schools. Unweighted GPAs fall on a scale between 0.0 to 4.0. What makes this GPA unweighted is that course difficulty isn’t weighted into the score. That means if a student scores A in a regular or easy class, and an A in an AP or a more difficult class, both courses still have the same grade. considered to be the same. 

But what happens if a student took all easy courses in high school, and did slightly better than the student who took a high number of AP classes? Are both students the same in academic standing? The student who took the easier classes might have a higher unweighted GPA—don’t worry, colleges are smarter than you think. They do their own investigations into applicants’ grades to assess their academic prowess. 

 

What Is a GPA? 

Grade Point Average, or GPA, is the average of all your letter grades, converted into number points, or grade points. Generally, your GPA falls on a scale between 0.0 and 4.0. 

A 4.0 GPA is seen as impressive, while a 0.0 or 1.0, or 1.5, is seen as less than satisfactory. The higher the GPA, the better your performance. 

First, your percentage grades are converted to letter grades. Then, those letter grades are converted into grade points. The average of these grade points makes up your GPA. 

The following table shows the percentages, and corresponding letters, grades, and grade points. 

Percentage

Grade

GPA

97-100

A+

4.0

93-96

A

4.0

90-92

A-

3.7

87-89

B+

3.3

83-86

B

3.0

80-82

B-

2.7

77-79

C+

2.3

73-76

C

2.0

70-72

C-

1.7

67-69

D+

1.3

65-66

D

1.0

Below 65

F

0.0

If you know your percentage grades or letter grades, you can easily find your grade points by using the above table. 

you can also read, how to convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale?

GPA plays a vital role when you are applying to your dream college. It is the first eligibility criteria in the college admission process. Having a Higher GPA makes you stand on the edge during your admission over other students. Merit-based scholarships are also provided by the GPA you secured. You need a minimum of a 3.0 GPA to get scholarships. Ask you, scholarship provider for more details on your minimum required GPA. Try keeping your GPA high and make yourself eligible. 

There are two types of GPA scale:

  • Weighted GPA 
  • Unweighted GPA

 

How to Calculate Unweighted GPA

Once you have all of your grade points, add them up and divide the sum by the number of courses. That final number is your GPA. Some websites have an unweighted GPA calculator to help you calculate your GPA; but, you don’t need one. Below you’ll see some examples to learn how to calculate unweighted GPA. 

You can look first at your first semester grades to calculate your first semester unweighted GPA, then separately at your second-semester grades for your second-semester unweighted GPA. Once you make those calculations, you’re left with your unweighted GPA for your first semester, and unweighted GPA for your second semester. 

Take the average of those two GPAs to find your overall cumulative GPA.

 

Unweighted GPA Examples: First Semester

Let us assume you have secured the following grades against each subject.

S.no

Subject

Grade

Unweighted  GPA 

1

English

C+

2.3

2

Gym

A

4.0

3

Mathematics

A

4.0

4

Science

C

2.0

By adding each subject's GPA together and dividing that sum by the number of courses, you’ll find your unweighted GPA for the first semester—3.075 to be exact, or 3.08, to round to the nearest hundredth.  

 

Unweighted GPA Examples: Second Semester

Let’s continue the above examples by moving on to second-semester grades. Perhaps your second-semester grades dipped slightly. 

S.no

Subject

Grade

Unweighted  GPA 

1

English

D+

1.3

2

Gym

B

3.0

3

Mathematics

B

3.0

4

Science

D

1.0

Using the same calculation method as we used for the first semester GPA, you’ll find your second semester unweighted GPA is lower. The total unweighted GPA for this second- semester example is 2.075, or 2.08

 

Cumulative GPA

The cumulative GPA is the average of the first semester and second-semester GPAs. For the current example, the cumulative GPA is 2.58. If this tells us anything, it’s this: don’t slack in your second semester! Your GPA will certainly catch up with you. 

First Semester 

3.08

Second Semester

2.08

Cumulative GPA

2.58

 

Girl holding books on college campus

 

Disadvantages of an Unweighted GPA 

The main disadvantage of an unweighted GPA is that it doesn’t consider the difficulty of the courses you took. You could take the hardest AP class known in your school and score incredibly well, and score the same in a random bird course—both courses will yield the same mark, even though you put much more effort into the AP class. 

 

Do Colleges Look at Weighted or Unweighted GPA? 

Specific colleges might have different requirements for GPA submissions during application time. Check your school of choice for information about their GPA requirements. Sometimes the college will specify which GPA they’d like applicants to submit. You might find this information on a college’s admissions webpage or the application form. If a college requests an unweighted GPA, don’t fret. The admissions team will certainly look deeper into your GPA and the courses you took. So, don’t be tempted to take bird courses in your final year of high school—colleges will notice!

 

Conclusion

If you’re thinking about taking AP courses but worry that your GPA will suffer, don’t stress! Colleges look at unweighted GPA, but they also consider your course difficulties and even create their own GPA calculations to account for them. 

Weighted vs unweighted GPA — it doesn’t matter. Take the courses you want and celebrate your ambition by taking harder courses. Colleges will notice, and your application will stand out. 

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