3 years ago
Admissions Advice

GPA: Weighted vs. Unweighted

Hello Collegevine! I have a feeling that a question similar to this has been asked already, but I looked far and wide and haven't really gotten a definitive answer on it, so I thought I'd ask myself :)

I'm a Junior and have a 3.56 UW but a 3.9 W, which feels like a relatively large gap. This has me wondering, does it potentially look better or worse on an application having attempted a lot of higher-level classes (8 AP's, 2 honors, 2 dual-enrollment by the time I graduate) but at the sake of my unweighted GPA, or do colleges look at it from the perspective that I'm trying to push myself as much as I can in my schedule? I'm just trying to figure out, am I prioritizing the right things? If not, what adjustments should I be making, other than to just push for the highest GPA possible?

Thank you very much in advance!

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2 answers

Accepted Answer
3 years ago

Taking the most challenging courses available to you always is best. It is even better if you can get As in them. From the spread between UWGPA and WGPA, it appears that you have succeeded in getting some As in hard classes but not all of them.

For senior year trying to continue to do your best and improve your UWGPA. There isn't too much improvement you can make because of a lack of time but go for the theoretical max. UWGPA you can get which is something like 3.65 or something like that with a 3.95 WGPA.

If you are not confident about certain subjects like Calculus or Chemistry or Physics. I would refrain from taking them as AP classes your last year of HS. I would recommend you take 1 or 2 hard classes this summer either through your community college or online instead. When you focus on a really hard subject intensely with no distractions you'll be more successful than trying to juggle and fit it in when you are going to be super busy in the fall.

Good luck.

3 years ago

Hi, thank you for asking your question! I agree 100% with @CameronBameron's response because they discuss how important the distinction between UWGPA and WGPA are. Additionally, because you are a junior you may not have as much time to make a huge difference in your GPA. For this reason, it will be important to improve other parts of your application (which in fact account for the other 75% of your application weight in general!)

Here are some additional points I would like to mention:

I will include statistics that we have arrived at through our data analysis over the years. In particular I will give you information for selective school admissions (Top 40 schools in the US) to give you targets to aim for.

Firstly, schools look at weighted GPAs; each school will weight your classes differently based on rigor so I wouldn't get too caught up in this at the moment. By the end of junior year, aim to have at least a 3.75+ overall weighted GPA (meaning 3.75+ in AP/IB HL classes, 3.85+ in Honors/Dual Enrollment/IB SL classes and 4.0 in CP level courses). Now this is minimums and definitely would look better if you can exceed these for the AP and Honors level courses.

Secondly, universities will look for students who have an upwards trend in their grades. This mean that over the four year of high school, you are increasing your GPA and course rigor steadily overtime. Getting one B in math class will not be the end of the world, but if you are aiming for a STEM major, then potentially it can impact your STEM GPA which can have a tiny impact that still can be overcome by other elements of your application.

Third, I will add that there are many parts of your application. In fact, grades and standardized test scores are only 25% of the weight to your application. Please refer to this livestream below to learn more about how to become a holistically competitive applicant to the schools that you are interested in!

Here it is:


Hope this helps!

What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
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Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

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