How Do Colleges Recalculate GPA?

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It is well-known that GPA is one of the most critical metrics colleges need to evaluate new applicants. However, things get a little complicated regarding the evaluation process. As many high schools have GPAs of 4.2, most colleges recalculate the GPA to fit their standards, often changing it to a GPA of 4.0.

That said, numerous distinct factors affect how your GPA is calculated. Colleges might want only to consider relevant courses and provide extra points for standardized tests or other achievements.

This article dwells on how GPA recalculations happen in colleges, their reason, and how it could affect your admission chances.

GPA: What It Is and What Colleges Look For?GPA: What It Is and What Colleges Look For?

GPA stands for Grade Point Average. In a nutshell, it reflects your performance throughout the four years of high school. Colleges often use this as an evaluation tool, but it is not the only factor considered.

That said, many colleges and universities only admit a specific minimum GPA. While they do not often release their admission statistics to the public, one can observe the general trends regarding those who accepted.

For example, if you check the Harvard admission application and the requirements, you will notice there is no mention of a minimum GPA. However, according to CampusReel, the average accepted unweighted GPA is 4.18.

The GPA scale might differ according to whether it is weighted or unweighted. Find out the different types of GPAs below.

Semester GPA vs. Cumulative GPA

You will receive two GPA scores in high school on your report card. One is the semester GPA, the calculation for all the courses and grades from that particular semester. However, a cumulative GPA calculates your point average from the start of your first year of high school to that specific point.

Having an excellent semester GPA is something to be proud of. However, it is not enough for college applications and scholarship consideration. You should be able to maintain a high GPA. That is because colleges consider the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) and check the courses you have enrolled in.

Unweighted GPA vs. Weighted GPA

An unweighted GPA is possibly the most common evaluation used in high schools as a general notion. The examples above, semester and cumulative GPAs are examples of unweighted GPAs. However, colleges often reflect on weighted GPA, as many schools offer more advanced courses that change the GPA calculation.

Schools offer accelerated programs, such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Dual Credit, and honor classes, to further expand on that. As these are more advanced classes and courses, a tweak to the GPA is essential to reflect the student’s performance and proficiency.

The semester grade from each course will be added to the course weight. All those weighted courses are summed up and divided by the number of studies taken, providing the weighted GPA. For example, on an advanced AP physics course, scoring an A is equivalent to 5.0 points instead of 4.0. Hence, the overall total GPA is entirely different.

Refer to the table below for a general idea. It portrays what each letter grade equates to on a weighted and unweighted GPA:

Percent Grade

Letter Grade

4.0 Scale “Unweighted”

5.0 Scale “Weighted”

















































What Does Recalculated GPA Mean?

What Does Recalculated GPA Mean?

Recalculated GPA is simply a way for colleges to compare different students. It provides a much easier method for them to do so, as many high schools grade their students on different weighted GPA scales. Moreover, GPA recalculations by colleges give prospective students a general idea of what to aim for.

Also, colleges often disregard unrelated courses. For example, if you’re applying for a physics undergraduate degree, there is no need for additional electives, PE courses, or music classes. These are often eliminated to provide an appropriate methodology for comparing students.

So, how do colleges calculate GPA? They often convert your weighted GPA to one on a scale of 4.0. They will most likely remove any unnecessary courses before they perform their calculations. The general guideline used is as follows:

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

Reflecting on the above, you can understand how to calculate your GPA out of 4.0. But keep in mind that colleges provide additional points for more advanced courses, such as AP and IB. Below is a general idea to help you with your calculation:

  • Advanced Placement: +1.0
  • Dual College Enrollment (Higher): +1.0
  • International Baccalaureate: +1.0
  • Advanced International Certificate of Education from Cambridge: +1.0
  • Dual College Enrollment (Lower): +0.5
  • Honors: +0.5

Do All Colleges Recalculate GPA?

Not all universities recalculate GPA. Some immediately extract it from your report and the documents you provided. In contrast, others convert it to a weighted scale, correct it to an unweighted one, or change it altogether. For example, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign does not alter your GPA.

However, something to keep in mind is that your GPA is used by colleges as a filter criterion. For example, if your GPA is lower than 2.7, you might be automatically put on a different list without anyone reviewing your report. These are often automatic; the higher your GPA, the more likely your application will be reviewed.

Is Recalculated GPA Weighted?

How do colleges recalculate GPA? More often than not, the new scale will be based on 4.0. Moreover, additional points are given for honors and advanced classes. This means that the GPA would be a weighted GPA. Any weighted GPA insinuates the fact that different criteria have been taken into consideration.

Why Do Colleges Recalculate GPAs?

Why Do Colleges Recalculate GPAs?

There are multiple reasons why recalculating GPA is essential for students and colleges. But many students wonder, do colleges convert GPA? Not all of them do. However, the ones who do so provide a fair chance for everyone, as it allows them to compare scores and performance on the same scale.

Below are the main reasons why colleges recalculate your GPA from high school:

Not all high schools use the same scale.

The classes in each high school tend to differ. Hence, the scale on which the grades are measured will also vary. Some would be weighted, and others are unweighted. Many high schools might not even use a scale of 4.0 or 5.0 but utilize one out of 100.

Colleges use different courses for recalculations.

There are generally three types of colleges. The first one only reflects on your academic core subjects. The second looks at all primary and elective courses. The third will consider all the classes, including theatre, health, and PE. This varies according to individual policies.

Indicator for success.

After converting your GPA, colleges look at it as the best indicator of how well you will perform. This will differ, as not all colleges put such a significant importance on your GPA.

Which Colleges Recalculate GPA?

Which Colleges Recalculate GPA?

What colleges recalculate GPA? There is both a positive and a negative answer to this question. First, not all universities will work on recalculating your GPA, as they will reflect on your performance, other aspects of your application, and report.

However, the downside is that most top colleges will change your GPA to efficiently compare you to other students. This might be good news for you if you did well on core academic courses, advanced classes, and electives. However, if you have an excellent cumulative GPA but lack in performance in fundamental studies, then it will be more challenging to measure up to others.

For instance, does NYU recalculate GPA? There are mixed answers, and no official has confirmed or denied it. However, according to their admission requirements, they require their students to be above average among their classmates in high school. That often means you should aim for at least As and Bs to have a fighting chance at this university.

But does Harvard recalculate GPA? Again, those top and Ivy League universities do not release much information about their admission criteria to the public. However, they definitely do compare your GPA and scores to those who have applied to the same university from your high school. They will also reflect on the data shown on your high school’s profile, an example offered by College Board.

College admissions want to witness your exceptional skills, including determination, hard work, and motivation. Research shows that some qualities are signs of extraordinary students.

Believe it or not, Harvard, amongst many other Ivy Leagues, will be looking for impressive individuals to enroll in their university. Hence, regardless of whether your GPA is recalculated, they will reflect on your transcript to find out if you have challenged yourself academically or not.

How Does GPA Recalculation Affect You?

How Does GPA Recalculation Affect You?

The admission criteria for each university are incredibly diverse. Some do not recalculate it, while others will. Many will drop elective courses while other universities include them. Your class rank is often a factor in your application, but some institutes do not really care about it.

But what does GPA recalculation mean for you? This depends on the criteria of recalculation. If you did great in science, mathematics, and economics but not well in PE, health, and theatre, then you’re in good hands. Recalculation often drops those additional courses that make no difference in your academic life.

However, let’s assume you have mostly Bs in core subjects but a few As in electives. If the college you’re choosing drops those A’s then you will be stuck with a weighted GPA made entirely of B’s. For a great recalculated GPA calculator, check out the basic yet helpful one offered by Scholaro.

Keep in mind that you won’t find specific recalculations online. Each college has different policies and criteria, which are not often accessible to the public. Aim to do great in high school, and you will be good to go!

Wrapping Things Up: How Do Colleges Recalculate GPA?

In a nutshell, most, but not all, colleges recalculate your GPA. They do that because they want to compare your performance to others, especially those who graduated from the same high school as you. It provides a general platform for evaluation.

While it is incredibly tempting to try to find out how colleges recalculate your GPA, it is impossible to find out. Each has its own methods, criteria, and points. You will not be able to access it, as the process is often an automatic one that is done through a computer program.

Hope you found this post useful! If so, check out our other college study tips here.

> Is Your GPA Good Enough?

> How High Should My GPA Be to Get Into an Ivy League School?

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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