After you finish high school, colleges usually calculate your high school GPA, or student’s grade point average. Its name says what it does; it averages out all of your grades. It shows how good a student you were at high school, and gives evaluation of your possible future success at college. Many scholarships will ask for your GPA, too. No wonder many of us are anxious about it.
High school GPA is calculated in a different way from school to school. Since this is the case, it would be best to ask your guidance counselor or the school registrar how they do it so that you can do the right calculation.
Some schools will give you an unweighted GPA, where all the courses are counted the same. In this case, it is easy to calculate your GPA.
First, each letter grade corresponds to a number value, so A = 4.0 , A- = 3.7, B+ = 3.3, B = 3.0, B- = 2.7, C+ = 2.3, C = 2.0, C- = 1.7, D+ = 1.3, D = 1.0, F = 0. Now, add up all the grade points you got in all your high school courses and divide them by the number of courses you took, and you will get the average value. If a course lasted two semesters, use the grade at the end of the first semester as one value, and the grade at the end of the year as another value. Now you have your high school GPA.
Other schools will give you a “weighted” GPA, giving more value to some subjects and less to others. They usually give extra points to more difficult courses, and they count grades from honors classes as higher grades and grades in AP classes even more so. However, the following non-academic courses are not included into this kind of GPA: physical education, performing groups (including theater and all sorts of music), high school sports training, vocational education classes, like shop, auto mechanics, and the like; health classes, including sexual education; and student aide or school helper.
Since these courses don’t measure students’ academic abilities, they are removed in order to get a student’s core GPA, which is a real measure of your high school academic success. The following courses really matter: Math, English or Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Foreign Language.
So, for an example, let’s say that you have a B- in English, a B+ in Spanish, a C+ in Science, an A in Math, and a B in Social studies, you add the following values: 2.7 + 3.3 + 2.3 + 4.0 + 3.0, for a total of 15.3. Divide by 5 courses, and your GPA is 3.06.
If your school gives the weighted GPA and you are taking an honors class, if you get an A in it, you have 4 points plus an extra point, which gives you a total of 5 points. This can greatly help your GPA.
When colleges look at your high school GPA, they will probably change it a little bit and remove all they find unnecessary in order to be able to compare student better. So, the core, or real GPA is what matters the most, and not the points you get from the non-academic courses. This is understandable, since they are interested in how good you are in your academic work, and not health classes or physical education.
Also, they focus more on your sophomore and junior years, and they like to see improvement in your studies, so an upward trend in your grades is a good sign.