How to Calculate College GPA

When a new period of life starts and students face a college environment, new subjects, and thousands of unknown words and terms, the last thing they are thinking of is how to calculate college GPA. But believe it or not, it is one of the most important things you should be familiar with. Understanding how to calculate college GPA is a great skill to add to your academic toolbox. Once you have completed some courses, it is a good idea to assess if you are achieving the grades that you set out to achieve and calculate them all.

Calculate college GPA

So, get a pen and paper to write down some useful tips on how to calculate college GPA. Let’s get rid of the biggest students’ pet peeve and clarify whether 3.2 is something to be proud of.

The Difference Between High School and College Grading System

There is a huge difference between the grading system in high school and in college. Take your high school syllabus of any class and read carefully. Pay attention to the tests which form the basis of your grade, about 40% to be exact. Projects, labs, homework assignments, etc. make up the majority and take about 60%. So, basically, a half of your mark are things you can prepare at home or together with your classmates, which is not so hard.

It means if you get a C on the test but did good on all the assignments and projects, you will be able to end up with a B just because there is so much emphasis on things aside from test.

Now, the college system is the sharp contrast. First of all, the final exam takes 50% of your grade and the assignments take only 18%. So, if you calculate, the value of each mark in college costs twice as much as in high school. Make sure to check your syllabus one more time. Some colleges offer bonuses for passing specific classes which will add weight to your college GPA. That is why it is really helpful to calculate the grades sometimes.

Once you have understood the principles of the grading system, it is time to get back to the key question – how to calculate your GPA in a few minutes and why it is so important for your future employer.

Calculating Your College GPA: Step by Step

How to calculate

So, the easiest way to calculate college GPA is with a wonderful little thing called quality points.

GPA is a number that is important for a lot of things associated with the college life starting from the determination of the academic standing, the ability to renew scholarship, and ending up with eligibility to take certain courses. The more credit hours the course is worth, the more it affects your college GPA positively or negatively depending on how well you did. The whole purpose behind it is to weight classes that have more credit hours.

It is also a great thing for any HR manager or recruiter. Imagine you have got 20 people who apply and they all have the same degree, GPA is a quick way to compare the achievements of two people instead of looking at every course they have taken. But let’s try to start from the beginning.

Calculate your GPA: this can easily be done in three easy steps. To calculate it, you need to know only one thing – how many completed credit hours have you taken, not attempted. If you have withdrawn from a class, it has no effect on the Grade Point Average.

Step 1: Convert the Grades into Their Number Equivalents

Each letter grade from F to A+ is given a numerical value. So, assign grade points to each letter grade. Usually, most colleges work on a 4.0 scale. For example, if you receive an A in a course, you will receive 4.0 grade points. Below you can see an example of the numerical value for all of the marks.

 Grade

 Numerical Value

 A

 4

 B

 3

 C

 2

 D

 1

 F

 0

 

Step 2: Calculate Quality Points

Every course has its own number of credit hours. You can find the information about your specific course in the undergraduate calendar or in the syllabus which the professor provides to you at the beginning of the course.

All you need to do is to take the credit hours and the grade. So, a four-hour class with an A gives you 16 quality points (4x4), a three-hour class with an A gives you only 12 quality points (4x3). The student gets more points for a four-hour class with an A than a three-hour class with the same grade.

Multiply the equivalent of your mark by the credit value of the course to get quality points.

Number Equivalent x Credit Value = Quality points.

Add up all the quality points and credit hours to get a sum.

 Number Value (Step 1)

 Credit Hours

 Quality Points (Step 2)

3

1

3 x 1 = 3

2

3

2 x 3 =6

4

3

4 x 3 = 12

4

4

4 x 4 = 16

3

2

3 x 2 = 6

 

Total = 13

Total = 43

 

Step 3: Calculate College GPA

The GPA is equal to the sum of the quality points divided by the total number of credits.

43/13 = 3.3 GPA

Congratulations! You did it! It is not so hard to calculate, is not it? But is it really so important for your future?

Does College GPA Really Matter?

The most common reason to have a good GPA is getting a further education beyond just a bachelor’s one. Whether you want to get a master’s degree, go on to medical, nursing or law school, you will want to have a good GPA because it will help you stand out. If you have a bad one, it is not the end of the world but you will make up for it with a strong resume or a high scoring MCAT if you are going to medical school and LSAT if it is a law school.

Actually, any school you want to apply to will require you to have higher than a 3.0 GPA, and many of them have a cut-off of 3.5. Obviously, it depends on which one you have the desire to attend. There are places where 2.5 is a cut-off for master’s degree and places where people get in with less than 3.0 even though it says that is a cut-off. So, just do the research on where you want to go.

What about the job? Does your GPA affect it? Some companies do look at this line in your diploma, especially if you are applying out of college for the first job or an internship. For example, if you want to work at Google, I have good news for you. Google concluded that GPA was a poor indicator of career success and they stop using it to pick applicants. Such a relief, is not it? To be honest, most companies throw out resumes with GPA below 3.0.

Can you get a job with a bad GPA? Absolutely. I do not think that Steve Jobs even knew what it is but I highly recommend you to learn to calculate college GPA, simply because you will be able to do at least one thing Steve Jobs couldn’t.

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