Will my GPA look different to colleges?
My school is a “college prep” school, and our grading scale is quite different from other schools in the area. For example, the lowest score to get an A- is a 93. Even the weighting is different, as an A/A+ only counts as a 4.33 if it’s for a weighted class.
I’m worried that my 3.80 GPA is going to look worse than what I’ve actually been getting (>90%) in my classes. Do colleges look at the numbers, letters, or do their own calculating?
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First, yes many colleges will do their own calculation of your overall academic score based on course rigor, individual letter grades in core classes, and difficulty of your school.
In addition to your transcript, your high school will also be sending colleges information about your school's academic environment, including how they calculate GPA and how the college should think about the rigor of your course load. Especially as the world moves to test-optional, colleges are increasingly trying to understand the dynamics of individual high schools and that would definitely apply in your case. If your school is well-known or has a history of sending students to a lot of your top choice colleges, that will also help because the college will have some history in assessing transcripts at your school.
If you're doing well academically relative to your peers, I wouldn't worry about a college misunderstanding that. If you're still concerned about this, I recommend chatting with your school counselor to see what information they provide to colleges to help them assess your academic situation.
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