Differences : Weighted vs Unweighted GPA For International Students

In high school, most students give their GPA a lot of thought. GPA is undeniably one of the most crucial pieces of information that colleges will evaluate while reviewing your application. GPA, on the other hand, can be determined in a variety of ways at different schools. Unweighted GPAs are used in some high schools, whereas weighted GPAs are used in others. I’ll go over the differences between the two and what each type of GPA can indicate in terms of your own personal experiences.

So, what is the difference between a weighted and an unweighted GPA? The following are the primary distinctions between the two.

Unweighted GPA

GPA is traditionally determined using an unweighted scale. On a scale of 0 to 4.0, unweighted GPA is calculated. It does not take into account the difficulty of a student’s curriculum. An A in an honors class, AP class, or lower-level class is represented by an unweighted GPA of 4.0.

Weighted GPA

High schools frequently employ a weighted GPA to better represent students’ academic achievements. Instead of delivering the identical letter grade to GPA conversion for every student, a weighted GPA takes into account course difficulty. Weighted GPA is typically calculated on a scale of 0 to 5.0, though some scales go higher. An A in an AP class may result in a weighted GPA of 5.0, whereas an A in a regular-level class will result in a weighted GPA of 4.0. Many schools also have mid-level subjects (such as honors classes) where you can get a 4.5 weighted GPA..

Differences in Calculation

Unweighted GPA

The calculation of unweighted GPA is more easier than that of weighted GPA. This is due to the fact that the calculations do not take into account the levels of your classes. Assume you’re taking five classes, two of which you’ve gotten As in and three of which you’ve gotten Bs. The two As will be converted to 4.0s, while the three Bs will be converted to 3.0s. When you multiply 4.0 + 4.0 + 3.0 + 3.0 + 3.0 by five, you get an unweighted GPA of 3.4.

If your grades aren’t as straightforward, here’s a quick letter grade and percentile to GPA conversion chart to help you out.

Letter Grade Percentile GPA
A+ 97-100 4.0
A 93-96 4.0
A- 90-92 3.7
B+ 87-89 3.3
B 83-86 3.0
B- 80-82 2.7
C+ 77-79 2.3
C 73-76 2.0
C- 70-72 1.7
D+ 67-69 1.3
D 65-66 1.0
F Below 65 0.0

Weighted GPA

Because you may be taking a range of courses at different academic levels, calculating your weighted GPA can be a little more difficult. Let’s use the same example we used for unweighted GPA and assume you’re in five classes and receiving As in two of them and Bs in the other three. Let’s assume one A is in a regular-level class, one A is in an honors class, two Bs are in AP classes, and one B is in an honors class this time.

What is the formula for calculating your weighted GPA? Each grade, on the other hand, must be considered in connection with the class level. This implies converting marks in regular-level classes using the unweighted GPA conversion scale, then adding 0.5 to the scale for mid-level/ho classes.

  • The A in a regular-level class would still be a 4.0
  • The A in an honors class would be a 4.5
  • The two Bs in AP classes would each be 4.0s
  • The B in the honors class would be a 3.5

A 4.0 weighted GPA is obtained by multiplying 4.0 + 4.5 + 4.0 + 4.0 + 3.5 by 5 and dividing by 5. Remember that not all institutions will utilize this identical weighted GPA scale, but as you can see, the figures you get for unweighted GPA and weighted GPA might vary significantly depending on the types of classes you’re taking.

Even if two students have the same grades, one may have a whole point greater weighted GPA than the other.

Consider the following scenario: you have a 3.2 unweighted GPA and are enrolled in five classes. On a weighted measure, your GPA would increase to 3.6 if two of the five classes are honors or AP and the rest are regular-level. A small adjustment in your classes’ levels can make a big effect.

Whether your school uses weighted or unweighted GPA can impact your class rank and experiences in the college admissions process.


If Your School Uses Unweighted GPAs…

Admissions committees consider your courses as well as your GPA when determining your academic aptitude. They are aware that certain colleges do not regard the difficulty of a student’s classes when determining GPA. If you push yourself in class but don’t have a perfect GPA, you’ll stand out in the college admissions process more than someone with a 4.0 in regular-level coursework.

When class difficulty is not factored into the calculation, it may be more difficult to stand out from your peers with your GPA because more people will have GPAs that are at the same level.

If your class position is only determined by your unweighted GPA, it may not accurately reflect your academic performance.

classes despite being more academically driven.

Don’t worry too much though. College admissions officers are aware of the limits of the unweighted system, and they will look closely at your course record to determine whether your GPA is an accurate reflection of your academic potential.


If Your School Uses Weighted GPAs…

To begin, you should understand that earning a 4.0 weighted GPA does not guarantee admission to any college. Although a 4.0 is the widely regarded gold standard, everything swings upward when GPAs are weighted. Under the weighted method, a truly great GPA will be close to 5.0, therefore you’ll need to adjust your notion of what defines a high GPA to meet this model.

Because your GPA is a reflection of both your grades and the levels of the classes in which you earned them, your class rank is more likely to represent your academic drive and aptitude when you have a weighted GPA. You’ll be ranked higher than someone who gets the same grades in lower-level classes as you.


Weighted GPAs mean that you need to be careful because they can be deceptive. A lot of the advice that’s out there is targeted towards unweighted GPAs, so you’ll need to adjust your thinking to account for the size of the GPA scale at your school.

The bottom line is that colleges will look deeper than the raw numbers when evaluating your high school academic record regardless of whether your GPA is weighted or unweighted. Admissions officers will be able to tell which classes you took and how much you pushed yourself, so your GPA by itself becomes only one part of a much larger picture.

Do Colleges Look at Weighted or Unweighted GPAs?

So, which is more important to colleges: your weighted or unweighted GPA? The quick answer is that weighted GPAs are more important to most institutions since they better reflect the difficulty of the classes you took.

Colleges, on the other hand, value your overall academic record rather than just your GPA in isolation. They’ll look at whatever classes you took, how challenging those classes are on average, and how well you did in them. All of these characteristics will help them better comprehend your grade point average. So, if you’re asking which GPA is more essential, the true answer is that colleges will look at all of the information you offer them to get the most accurate picture of your academic abilities.

If your transcript shows the increasing difficulty in your coursework, this will look impressive to colleges, even if your GPA isn’t perfect. If you have a 4.0 GPA but took all the least challenging classes in high school, colleges will be less impressed since you didn’t push yourself academically. This means you should continue working on taking difficult classes and getting high grades in them in order to be as impressive as possible.



Your GPA in high school might be calculated on a weighted or unweighted basis. The key distinction is that weighted GPAs account for the difficulty of your curriculum, whereas unweighted GPAs do not. The majority of unweighted GPAs are on a scale of 0 to 4.0, whereas the majority of weighted GPAs are on a scale of 0 to 5.0.

Whether your high school employs an unweighted or weighted GPA should, for the most part, have no bearing on your college application. Colleges will take your GPA into account, but they will also look at the big picture. Their main concern is that you’ve managed to cognitively push yourself through your coursework. GPA is crucial, but so is evidence of your determination.


source : blog.prepscholar,

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