University of California GPA calculation question


Can someone confirm how the UC’s calculate grades for freshman undergraduate admission for OOS?

It looks like they:

  • Only count Sophomore and Junior year
  • Ignore +/- on grades
  • Don’t count physical ed and limit art and performance to one class counted (so if you take music or theater every year it would only count once)
  • Limit you to 8 semesters or 4 years worth of honors/AP/IB ex extra points for weighted GPA.

Is all of the above correct?

So if someone has all A’s and A-'s Sophomore and Junior year and more than 4 AP’s, does that mean they have a perfect unweighted GPA and the highest capped weighted GPA the UC’s would consider?

Seems like UCLA and Berkeley could end up with far more perfect GPA’s than slots, and with no test scores to further differentiate now?

Not correct. While the a-g subject requirements require only 1 year of visual or performing arts, any course in 10th-11th grade that counts as visual or performing arts is included in the GPA recalculation.

The same can apply to any other subject area where the student takes more than the minimum listed in the a-g subject requirements.

For the Capped Weighted UC GPA, the honors point limit is 8 semesters or 4 year long qualified AP/IB or DE courses. OOS HS designated Honors courses are not UC approved and will not garner the extra honors points in the GPA calculation. For the Fully weighted UC GPA, unlimited Honors points for the qualified courses taken 10-11th are considered in the GPA calculation.

Unweighted UC GPA maximum = 4.0
Capped Weighted UC GPA maximum= 4.4
Fully Weighted UC GPA maximum = 5.0

The UC’s will look at 3 UC GPA’s for a-g courses taken the Summer after 9th grade to the Summer prior to 12th grade. Here is the calculator for all 3 UC GPA’s: GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

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What is the purpose of the capped weighted GPA if they also use an uncapped one? How are each used separately in admissions decisions?

For unweighted capped, what is the standard for what getting weighting for OOS applicants? I assume AP/IB counts, but beyond that some schools have course they call honors or accelerated or advanced that they weight but this standard would be arbitrary from school to school. Some schools would treat every subject as weighted and others only AP’s, etc.

I noticed the capped weighted GPA is impacted by how many courses the person took overall. So a school with more courses will hurt the applicants capped weighted GPA even if they get all A’s versus someone who has few overall courses. The fewer the courses, the better the overall capped GPA, as long as it equals or exceeds four. That seems odd – like it biases toward fewer classes overall unless the capped weighted isn’t really evaluative.

Yes, that is a quirk or defect in the weighted capped GPA, similar to how fully weighted GPA can go down if the student earning all A grades adds an extra non-weighted course (e.g. an additional art or music course) to a schedule of weighted courses.

Weighted capped may have been a compromise to give some incentive to take weighted courses while also noting some UC research from a few decades ago that found that unweighted GPA was more predictive of college performance. Fully weighted GPA may also reflect how many weighted courses the high school offers when it comes to students capable of taking them (those at schools with fewer weighted courses will have lower fully weighted GPAs because they are limited by their schools’ offerings).

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As explained by @ucbalumnus the Capped weighted UC GPA “levels the playing field” so to speak since there are applicants where Honors/AP/IB or DE courses are not readily available. The Capped Weighted UC GPA is a screening GPA for UC eligibility. An in-state CA applicant requires a 3.0 Capped Weighted UC GPA while an OOS or International applicant requires a 3.4.

All 3 UC GPA’s are evaluated in the context of what is offered at an applicant’s HS so all contribute to the overall picture of the applicants HS course rigor. The Capped weighted is also the GPA that is most often quoted in the UC statistical data information available on the UC application website and on the UCOP website. Only UCLA and UCB actually publish their Fully weighted UC GPA data for their Freshman profile however, other campuses will list their Fully weighted UC GPA information on some of their communications.

UCLA GPA information:

Types of GPAs

All GPAs are calculated from courses completed in grades 10 and 11.

  • The fully weighted GPA includes an extra grade point for all UC-approved honors courses (which include AP, IB, school-based honors and transferable college courses) in which a grade of C or higher is earned. The maximum value possible is 5.00.
  • The unweighted GPA does not include any extra grade points for honors courses. The maximum value possible is 4.00.

Academic Performance 2021

GPA statistics for admitted freshman students
GPA Median Middle 25% - 75%
Weighted UC GPA: 4.54 4.35-4.72
Unweighted GPA: 4.00 3.94-4.00

UCB GPA Information:

Freshman Student Profile 2021

Unweighted UC GPA: 3.86-4.00
Fully Weighted UC GPA: 4.25-4.61

GPA is only one factor when it comes to the UC application review although it is Very Important.

Thanks. It’s the “school based honors” where it seems like there would be a lot of subjectivity. School A treats every course like honors, including music, theater, programming, etc., and School B treats only AP as honors. With CA residents there was a clear definition. Less so for OOS I guess.

EDIT: Actually, I just found this:

“Nonresidents: UC will grant honors weight for AP or IB courses and transferable college courses only, but not for school-designated honors courses. The weight is given to letter grades of A, B, or C.”


So it looks like for OOS they only count AP, IB and college transfer but not for school-designated honors." That seems like a clear standard.

For California (and some online) high schools, UC maintains a list of which courses are allowed to count as honors for UC purposes.

Yes, OOS HS Honors classes are not weighted in the UC GPA calculation which is what I stated in my original post #3

OOS HS designated Honors courses are not UC approved and will not garner the extra honors points in the GPA calculation.

As a CA resident and high school student, if you take a dual enrollment class in a 4-year university outside CA like say edX courses from harvard. Is it weighted?

EdX is not an approved UC on-line course provider so I would email UC apply support for confirmation but based on the following information on the EdX website, I would say No since it looks like these courses are not considered a-g courses, get no academic credit thus no extra weighting.

Most edX courses do not directly award academic credit** . Each educational institution makes its own decision regarding credit. Check with your university for its policy

For the EdX course, if there is no credit, it should be listed in the UC Activities section for Education Prep. Program.

Thanks. They are very responsive to queries on the above email. Unfortunately the replies are generic and they will not address specific cases.

This is what i got.

If a course is UC-transferable, then it is honors/weighted.

My comments:
For dual-enrollment courses in 4-year colleges that are not CC, it is not easy to check.

If there is a grade and a transcript for the course, you might want email one of UC’s directly and ask. I would contact the UC Campus Registrar.

Thanks. One of the courses was from UCLA and the other ASU.
In the grand scheme of things, it probably does not matter whether these courses are weighted/honors or (A-G).

Just wanted to make a note, so that when the time comes to fill the UC app we don’t make a mistake.

A regular UCLA course (but not necessarily an extension course) should be UC transferable. For an ASU or other college course, it depends on what it is. You may be able to guess by whether it is similar to a known UC transferable or not UC transferable course.

Per UCSB admissions officer (they are the best), edX courses go in the Activities section.

Sure i was trying not to guess. Is such guessing ok when i fill the UC app? If it is not an (A-G) course and i wrongly call them honors, they will just fix the mistake and recalculate the GPA?

What are the courses? CC posters might be able to help with the categorization. If mistakes are made, then the UC’s will recalculate the GPA’s.

Thanks. There is nothing to worry then.

Just so you ask, it was a philosophy course on critical reasoning. My guess would be, it is an elective(G) or in the worst case not (A-G). My concern was more about entering something incorrect in the app, rather than whether it is counted for GPA/(A-G).

A course like this?