2 years ago
Admissions Advice

5.0 GPA scale instead of 4.0 GPA scale?

I'm a junior in high school, and I just moved from a school which used the 4.0 GPA scale to a school that uses a 5.0 GPA scale. What is the benefits in a bunch of schools using different GPA scales and is there any reason for this? Do the scales vary based on regions, or does a school just pick whatever GPA system it uses off of a whim?

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Accepted Answer
2 years ago

There is absolutely no intrinsic benefit to some schools using 4.0 scales vs. 5.0 scales or 6.0 scales or higher.

College admissions readers evaluate your academics based on your counselor submitting a school profile. On the profile report is the scale, the number of AP or IB courses offered, how the school applies the scale, the average SAT or ACT test score for the school, the graduation rate, and the kinds of colleges students from the schools matriculate into. There is usually a section that covers how students many were National Merit Scholars or Semi-finalists and whether they do Dual Enrollment.

Therefore, when you apply from a high school in zip code 12345 you are evaluated by the standards of excellence for zip code 12345. And that has nothing to do with someone who lives in zip code 54321.

So it's very possible that an excellent school that does not weight hard classes and quotes GPAs on a flat 4.0 scale or a 100 pt scale will still have amazing results for placing graduates into Ivys and Elites because reputationally the colleges have worked with this school for hundreds of years (in some cases). And a progressive public school that uses a generous 6.0 scale where 90% of the students have super impressive GPAs between 4.5 and 5.5 weighted GPA gets hardly any admits into the same caliber of schools.

You can compare and contrast your new school with your old school if you still have a valid Naviance account from your old school. You should be able to search on admissions histories for the past 5-6 years and see the number of everyone that applied to which school, how many got accepted, and how many matriculated. Sometimes changing schools to one with a great reputation does wonders for your chances even if you do not graduate at the top of your class. These days, 90% of American HSs suffer from severe grade inflation so GPA alone without context doesn't mean very much to admissions officers.

What are your chances of acceptance?
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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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