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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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Understanding GPA—What Makes a Good GPA Score?

Hey everyone, I've been wondering what exactly constitutes a 'good' GPA score? I know it can differ depending on the scale (ie. 4.0, 5.0) and whether it’s weighted or unweighted. What’s an impressive GPA to colleges, especially highly competitive ones?

16 days ago

A GPA's value can indeed fluctuate depending on several factors such as your school's scale (4.0, 5.0, etc.), whether the GPA is weighted or unweighted, the rigor of your course load, and the specific requirements of the colleges you're interested in.

On a 4.0 scale, an unweighted GPA of 3.5 or above is generally considered good. However, for most highly competitive colleges, an average unweighted GPA of admitted students is typically closer to 3.8 or higher. This means that straight A's or nearly straight A's are often expected.

In regards to a weighted GPA (which takes into account the difficulty of the classes you've taken, adding extra points for honors, AP, and IB classes), competitive colleges often see GPAs above 4.0 due to the weighting. A weighted GPA of 4.5 or higher is usually viewed positively by these colleges.

Remember that not all colleges look solely at the GPA number. They also consider the rigor of your high school courses. Taking rigorous classes and earning strong grades in them is more beneficial than taking easier classes just to maintain a high GPA. Colleges will take note of your ambition and perseverance in high-level coursework.

Your school's grading scale may differ from what I’ve described, so make sure to understand the context and how the conversion might happen when you apply to colleges. For instance, if your school uses a different scale (say, out of 100 or out of 7), they'll typically convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale for consistency when comparing against other applications.

Finally, GPA is just one facet of your application. While a high GPA can reflect academic achievement, colleges also weigh other aspects of your profile, such as extracurricular involvement, leadership, essays, and letters of recommendation, to build a holistic understanding of you as an applicant. So while it's beneficial to aim for a high GPA, it's also important to balance it with other areas of development.

16 days ago

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