Do Colleges have Weighted GPA?

To know do colleges have weighted GPA….Read on this article….!

One’s grades are considered to be of utmost importance with regard to the college admission process, and while that may be a crucial contributing factor, they remain a mere part of the entire ordeal which takes so much more into account.

Do Colleges have Weighted GPA?

Your GPA or Grade Point Average is a number that indicates how high or low you scored in your course and is calculated based on your overall scores.

Do Colleges have Weighted GPA?

Although the selection processes vary between individual colleges and even between two different regions, most colleges do not set specific GPA requirements officially, whether they are weighted or unweighted. This is because grades usually vary drastically from student to high school. The GPA is barely a starting point college administrators use to begin evaluating a student’s potential. 

Between weighted and unweighted GPAs, however, weighted ones are usually given precedence because they take into account the difficulty level of the course, as well as extend the grading scales to meet the requirements. 

Keep also in mind, that in some cases, colleges may even refuse to consider an unweighted GPA, because not all schools/ colleges offer AP/Honors level classes. This is discussed further below.

Weighted GPAs:

So, a weighted GPA is one that actually takes the difficulty level of your classes into account, along with your grades. On a typical GPA scale, such as the unweighted one, grades are recorded on a simple 0 to 4.0 range and thus emerges the idea of an ideal 4.0 GPA score.

On the other hand, weighted GPAs sometimes go up to a scale of 5.0 or even 6.0, depending on your high school, where it is located, the difficulty of the class etc. This system is usually applied to Advanced Placement (AP) classes or honors classes that are way above an average difficulty level.

Why should you focus on your weighted GPA?

This means that a student who takes up higher-level classes will end up having a higher weighted GPA than someone who takes average level classes, even if their grades are practically the same. Since weighted GPAs in high school indicate your ability to take on academic challenges and push yourself one notch higher, they form an impression upon college administrators and are, therefore, given more precedence during the college admission process. 

So go the extra mile and take an AP, Honors or International Baccalaureate (IB) course that your school or college offers. Make the extra effort, because in a competitive environment, standing out among your competitors matters the most. 

How are Weighted GPAs Calculated?

Weighted GPAs are calculated differently according to the level of difficulty. To calculate your weighted GPA, your first step should be to find out about the grading scale your school uses for advanced courses and compare it with the scale for standard courses. The most common system of scales, however, is to increase the extent of the scale by one full grade point for every AP, Honors or IB course. The comparison can be seen as follows: 

GradePercentageHonors/AP/IB LevelStandard Level
E/FBelow 650.00.0

How are they different from Unweighted GPAs?

Unweighted GPAs, unfortunately, do not take the difficulty of the course or class into account. They are fairly simple to calculate and are often frowned upon, because they may not always reflect the student’s true abilities. A 3.0 GPA in an AP class would be considered to be the same as a 3.0 in a standard class, which often makes scores look worse than they actually are. Unweighted GPAs usually correspond with grades as follows: 

GradePercentageUnweighted GPA
E/FBelow 650.0

Some other factors colleges look for:

  • Standardized tests: First, and most important of all, colleges begin by looking at your standardized test scores. Figure out the best option for you- SAT, ACT, CLT or the tests that fulfill your university requirements and make you stand out. 
  • Extracurricular and Character building: Along with “How capable is the student”, colleges also ask “What kind of a person is the student”. Campaigning, sports, volunteering for community service etc. are all indicators that the student is willing to understand the world around them better, and expand their skill set. 
  • Work Experience: It is beneficial if you undertake jobs/internships related to your subject matter and gain as much experience as possible. This shows a certain dedication toward the subject and a willingness to take up responsibilities. 
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters of recommendation from fellow teachers, professors and coaches can be extremely helpful and are often overlooked among other factors. College administrators take these letters into careful consideration as they provide evidence of additional and honest information about your skills and positive traits. 
  • College Application: Don’t forget to work exceptionally hard on the quality of your college application and college application essay! A well-written application provides a deep insight into one’s way of thinking, perception of the world, and important personality traits. Be yourself, and present it in the most refined way possible. 


Colleges do look at and have weighted and unweighted GPAs. Although your grades are a crucial factor to consider, and you must work towards improving them to the best of your ability, they are not the only thing that matters. The college admission process is like an interconnected web of different factors that play a significant role in each other’s development. For example, if you have an impressive record of extracurricular and social activities, but low grades in school, it creates the impression that you are not academically bright and therefore, not the most capable student for a seat in their college. It is extremely important to create and maintain the balance, be yourself and stand out from the crowd! 

Frequently asked questions: 
  1. What are some colleges in the USA that look at weighted GPAs?

All colleges in the Ivy League and other top universities like Stanford University, CalTech and MIT give importance to the weighted GPA and have exceptionally high academic expectations. 

  1. What is considered a good GPA for the top universities in the USA?

Some important examples can be found below:

UniversityAverage Weighted GPA of accepted student
Princeton University4.14
Harvard University4.15
Massachusetts Institute of Technology4.15
Yale University4.10
Stanford University4.13
  1. How can I improve my GPA? 

Taking extra help, organizing and using study guides may prove helpful.