How are weighted GPA computer fractions weighted
What is a Weighted GPA? College admissions advice.
A weighted GPA is calculated by awarding additional points to classes that are considered to be more challenging than the basic curriculum. If a high school has a weighted grading system, advanced placement, honors, and other types of college prep classes receive bonus weight when calculating a student's GPA. However, colleges can calculate a student's GPA differently.
Why is weighted GPA important?
A weighted GPA is based on the simple idea that some high school classes are much more difficult than others, and those hard classes should have more weight. In other words, an 'A' in AP Calculus represents a much greater accomplishment than an 'A' in healing algebra. Therefore, students who take the most challenging courses should be rewarded for their efforts.
A ... having a good academic record is probably the most important part of your college application. Selected colleges will look for good grades in the most challenging classes you can take. When a high school weights grades in these challenging classes, it can confuse the picture of actual student achievement. Obviously, a true "A" in an Advanced Placement class is more impressive than a weighted "A".
The problem of weighting grades becomes even more complicated because many high schools have weight classes but others don't. And colleges can calculate a GPA that is different from a student's weighted or unweighted GPA. This is especially true for highly selective colleges and universities, as the vast majority of applicants have taken challenging AP, IB and Honors courses.
How are the school grades weighted?
In order to recognize the effort for demanding courses, many high schools weight the grades for AP, IB, honors and accelerated courses. The weighting is not always the same from school to school, but a typical model on a 4-point scale might look like this:
- AP, honors, advanced courses: 'A' (5 points); 'B' (4 points); 'C' (3 points); 'D' (1 point); 'F' (0 points)
- Regular courses: 'A' (4 points); 'B' (3 points); 'C' (2 points); 'D' (1 point); 'F' (0 points)
So a student who just got an 'A' and took nothing but AP classes could have a 5.0 GPA on a 4 point scale. High schools often use these weighted GPAs to determine class rank. You don't want students to rank high just for taking easy classes.
How do colleges use weighted GPAs?
However, selective colleges will typically not use these artificially inflated grades. Yes, they want to see that a student has taken challenging courses, but they need to compare all applicants using the same 4-point scale. Most high schools that use weighted GPAs also include unweighted grades on a student's report card, and select colleges usually use the unweighted number. I had confused students that they would be rejected by the top universities if they have GPAs above 4.0. However, the reality is that a 4.1 weighted GPA can only be a 3.4 weighted GPA and a B + average won't be very competitive at schools like Stanford and Harvard. Most applicants at these top schools have taken a large number of AP and Honors courses, and the Admissions Members will look for students who have an unweighted "A" grade.
The opposite may be true for less selective colleges that are struggling to meet their enrollment goals. Such schools often look for reasons to accept students rather than reasons to reject them. Therefore, they often use weighted grades to encourage more applicants to meet the minimum enrollment qualifications.
The GPA confusion doesn't stop there. The colleges also want to make sure that a student's GPA reflects grades in core academic courses, not a lot of padding. As a result, many colleges calculate a GPA that is different from both a student's weighted and unweighted GPA. Many colleges will only look at English, math, social science, foreign language, and science grades. Grades in fitness, woodworking, cooking, music, health, theater, and other fields are nowhere near as well given for consideration in the admissions process (this doesn't mean the colleges don't want students to take the arts courses - they do) .
When trying to determine if college is an attain, game, or safety for your combination of grades and standardized test scores, it is safest to use unweighted grades, especially when applying to highly selective schools.
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