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What is the difference between weighted and unweighted gpa and how to calculate them?


I am an international student and I don't know much about gpa on the scale of 4.


2 answers

answered on

Hey! The 4.0 scale is the American grading system which is used in high school and college. I think it goes 4.0 is an A, 3.0 is a B, 2.0 is a C and 1.0 is a D/Fail (F). There is an unweighted GPA, which is based solely off of how well you do in your classes. Let’s say you have a 3.7/4 GPA which means you have mostly low As/A-s and a couple of Bs, B+s, etc. The Weighted GPA is supposed to reward students who take harder classes under the assumption that they will do worse in the classes since they are harder. It gives a boost to more difficult classes to offset the chance that you do worse in them (since they’re harder). It’s usually 1.0 for an AP/IB H class and 0.5 for an Honors/IB S class. At my school it’s only half of that, and we dont use a 4.0 scale (4.33) so it really depends on the school you go to. Colleges are using weighted GPA less and less now since there are kids who will have (for example) an UW of 3.5 but a W of 4.3. the weighted GPA isn’t indicative necessarily of how good of a student you are since the weight can inflate and distort your GPA so much that it doesn’t even count for anything anymore.

If you’re an international student (which I’m assuming you are) don’t worry about your GPA conversion since the admission officers who’ll be reading your application will be familiar with the grading system of your country. They take into account 1) how difficult your classes are 2) what classes you were able to take and which ones you did 3) how well you did in those classes. Just try to take as many difficult classes as you can and do well in them if you’re aiming for top colleges.

Hope this helps!

I agree with this
Everything is correct. I would add that the American 4.0 scale is much more granular than described. At my school an A+ is 98-100, 4.0, A is 93-97, 4.0, A-,92 (3.9), A- 91 (3.8) and so forth down. So you can end up with a long GPA like 3.965 and we weight APs and Honors equally up 1.0 even though they are not equal in practice. Therefore weighted GPA at our school would have grade inflation for someone that took a lot of honors classes versus AP classes.
Cameron’s example holds true at his but my school is 93-100 = 4 85-93 = 3 and in 7% increments so it really depends on the school.
American Private Boarding schools have more diversity in grades scales. Exeter has an 11 pt scale, Andover a 6 pt scale, Trinity Episcopal a 10pt scale, Western Reserve uses 7 pt scale. It gets complicated for Admissions officers.
at my school it’s 97-100 A+ (4.33), 93-96 A (4.0) 90-92 A- (3.67) etc etc… so it really varies a lot
don’t worry about how to calculate your GPA since as an international student you usually don’t need to do that. colleges will look holistically at your country’s grading system to evaluate where you stand academically :)
answered on

So most colleges use your unweighted GPA which is on a 4.0 scale. They will then take into account the difficulty of your classes and essentially recalculate your weighted GPA. Basically your weighted GPA takes into account the rigor of your classes and unweighted GPA does not. There are plenty of online calculators that can calculate your unweighted GPA based on the grades you received in your classes.