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What is weighted gpa mean?

postmanpostman Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
edited January 2009 in College Search & Selection
I am new to this website. I am puzzled by the term "weighted" or unweighted gpa.

At my kids high school there is a 4.0 scale. An A is worth 4.0. They don't give A+ (or if they do it too is only worth 4.0)

My daughter has a 4.0. All A's (no A minuses) She can't get higher than this. Many of the grades are in AP classes.

Why or how is that some students get above a 4.0? Do those schools actually use a 5.0 or 4.3 scale.

What am I missing?

Is my daughter's 4.0 weighted or unweighted?
Post edited by postman on

Replies to: What is weighted gpa mean?

  • raelahraelah Registered User Posts: 806 Member
    If every grade at your D's school is worth 4.0, including AP and honors classes, that means that her school runs on a completely UNWEIGHTED system. In some schools, AP and honors classes are "weighted" -- adjusted to account for class difficulty. In weighted systems, AP and honors classes are worth 5.0 credits; A = 5, B = 4, C = 3, D = 2, etc. So, if you were to have all APs and all Bs, your weighted GPA would be 4.0.

    Weighted GPAs are pretty pointless though, colleges mainly care about unweighted GPAs.
  • nk9230nk9230 Registered User Posts: 776 Member
    Well, at my school, we run on an weighted system, Only for IB and AP Classes.
    everything is basically worth .5 more.

    basically, its a grading scale adjusted to class difficulty.
    Some colleges like it- as long as its not ridiculously inflated.
  • postmanpostman Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    It still doesn't make much sense unless colleges actually have their internal weighting system.

    If you have a 4.0 system, and then for AP classes grade on a 5.0 system and combine the grades it may be difficult for colleges to compare. I assume colleges have a pretty sophisticated way then to compare. I would be curious if colleges scale everything back to a 4.0 scale internally to compare and contrast candidates.

    When students give their gpa on this post, they don't often point out what sort of grading system it is.

    I have heard of some schools using a 4.3 school with A+ being the highest etc. But I don't consider this a 4.0 scale then, it would be a 4.3 scale.

    Do college applications actually request weighted or unweighted calculations?

    The difference makes it hard to predict somethings. For example, my daughter received a brouchure from University of Miami. It says average weighted GPA for admitted students is 4.2. What does this mean?

    Is is giving AP classes a 5.0 scale, as suggested above. If so, this isn't a very high gpa.

    If it is on a 4.3 scale, with AP classes given a one/third step increase (for example an A- gets a 4.0 instead of a 3.66 and an A gets a 4.3), then it is pretty good.

    If so, how does a school like Miami calculate from a school that does not have a weighted system. Do they actually go through a transcript and assign a high score to some grades and recalculate.

    It seems easier to simply use an unweighted 4.0 system and then judge the difficulty of the courses in evaluating an applicant.
  • ConsolationConsolation Registered User Posts: 21,890 Senior Member
    A weighted GPA system makes sense only when the school ranks, and when the weighted GPA is used to determine rank.

    At our local HS, there is no weighting. They officially don't rank either, but according to local custom they declare a "Top 10" and a val/sal. Many of the kids in the "Top 10" will be among those who have taken a moderate course load, at most. One year the Val had never taken a single honors or AP class. The school profile makes it possible for colleges to estimate class rank, by decile at least, to the detriment of kids who choose to challenge themselves with difficult classes in which they might receive a B+.

    IMHO, unless you are going to use a weighted GPA, you shouldn't declare a val/sal or rank at all.

    BTW, the weighting system raelah describes in only one of many. Each school can determine their own.
  • postmanpostman Registered User Posts: 17 New Member
    While I don't agree with weighting in general, your answer makes sense.

    However, the weighting of a full point as described above seems excessive. (Therefore, a B in an AP course would count the same as an A in a regular course.) Even a .5 adjustment seems high. The 1/3 of a grade makes some sense to me although I am a traditionalist and don't believe in A+ or adding onto an A (such as raising it to a 4.33 etc.)

    The example I gave of UMiami what are they likely doing?

    Thanks for the enlightenment.
  • strykermomstrykermom Registered User Posts: 164 Junior Member
    Most colleges take the unweighted grades and then weight them according to their own method. For example, they may take only sophomore and junior grades, they may take only academic grades and not PE and Art, Usually they would give use a 4.0 scale with an extra point (5.0) for AP classes. Some honors courses might also get the extra point, some not. Some colleges might use the unweighted grades but take note of how rigorous the currculum was for the student in comparison to what was available to that student at his/her particuar high school.
This discussion has been closed.