2 years ago
Admissions Advice

Do I have to use my WAEC to calculate my GPA, can I use my school final results?

American students use their school results for their gpa right? Can African students do the same instead of using the wassce results. Because you school result is a more accurate report of your academic capacity but the wassce results are not always most times

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago[edited]

Hi @SarahSarah,

American students use the grades for the courses they took in high school as recorded on their official High School transcripts to self-report their GPA. These grades are in accordance with how the school reports them according to the specific school profile rules and policies. So some schools use alphabetical grades like A, B, C, D, and F some schools use numerical grades based on a 100 scale like 92.24% or 83.80%, etc. Some schools use half-step grades like A+, A-, B+, and B- as well. For alphabetical or numerical grades, each school also uses its own grade scale. The most common one is a 4.0 scale where an A = 4.0, a B = 3.0 and C = 2.0 and so forth. And the second most common one is a 100 scale where 93-100 equals an A or a 4.0, a 90-92 equals a 3.7 or an A-, 87-89 equals a B+ or 3.3, 83-86 equals a B or 3.0 and an 80-82 equals a B- or 2.7.

Some schools treat an A+ as a 4.3, most do not. Some schools treat a 97-100 as an A+, but most do not.

Many Private US Day schools and Private Boarding schools have even more complicated grading scales. Some use a 6.0 point scale, some a 7.0 point scale, a 9.0 point scale, or even an 11.0 point scale.

Then on top of this, many high schools use a weighting system that gives more numerical points to those taking AP courses, IB courses, Honors or Accelerated Courses, or Dual Enrollment Courses. This is also not consistent from one school to the next. So some schools weigh IBs 2.0 points higher, APs 1.0 points higher, and honors/accelerated classes 0.50 points higher. Other schools give a 1.0-point bump to any of these. And many high schools do not use a weighting so regardless of your coursework, your grades are your grades and your GPA is your GPA.

So what I'm telling you is that if there are 25000 high schools in the US, there are 25000 different grading and weighting systems and scales. Americans make things incredibly complicated. This is why it is mandatory that each high school counselor has to submit a school profile to clearly explain the grading and weighting and scale system for that school.

And it is the job of the applicant to adhere to the school rules and self-report in the most consistent way what their GPA is.

So my advice to you is to ask your high school for a printout of the school profile and how they are going to report your transcript to the common app when you apply to colleges. If they only use WAEC scores for your transcript, then you have to use those. However, if they report your coursework individually with separate grades and then add them all up and give you one GPA for your work, then report that.

What you should not do, however, is make up your own GPA in accordance with how American applicants report their GPA because each of the 3.6 million applicants that apply to colleges has a different GPA and different scale, and different weighting system. Do not do anything that would read as a red flag to the college applications reader.

I hope this helps you understand that we Americans do not have a singular common standard.

Good luck.

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