What Is the Importance of GPA To Students Going to Colleges?

GPA (grade point average) is one of the essential eligibility criteria set by the college admission authorities. Only when a student fulfills the GPA score requirements specified by the college, his application will be considered. So, let us gain an understanding of the significance of high school GPA in detail.

How GPA Is Calculated

The oldest way of calculating GPA is by counting each A as 4.0, B as 3.0, C as 2.0, and D as 1.0. However, this system didn’t allow differentiation between grades, so a more sophisticated one was developed. With it, you will get 3.67 for A -, 3.30 for B +, 2.67 for B -, etc. That is called an unweighted GPA. Under it, a straight-A student will have a 4.0 GPA.

When AP classes were introduced, schools decided to reward the students by giving them extra points. So, an A in an AP class are calculated as 5.0. Honor classes use the same principle. That is a weighted GPA, for the extra weight od added classes.

This system soon started to confuse college admission boards, since there was no way to compare weighted and unweighted GPAs from different schools. It made ranking students difficult, if not almost impossible. The solution was found in standardizing all GPAs across the board by recalculating them. This way, they could account for GPAs from school that give weighted GPA for college preparatory classes.

Is High school GPA related to college admission decisions?

GPA forms only 30% of the acceptance decision of a college. It is similar to that of the SAT/ACT score. Both GPA and SAT scores are taken into consideration by the admission panel. As an average student can perform well on their ACT and SAT, their SAT/ACT scores also have an essential impact on the test scores of a student.

The amount of time you devote to preparing and studying will have a favorable impact on the overall GPA score of a student.

Is GPA score the only criterion for admission in college?

In addition to GPA scores, colleges do consider the SAT and ACT scores along with GPA. A student that has low to average GPA is a sign that a student has failed to put in the desired effort to realize his true academic potential. GPA is a potent indicator of the capabilities and academic performance of a child.

An upward GPA trend is beneficial to those who have got low and want to achieve better GPA scores. School is the best time for students to improve their GPA scores so that they get admission to a better college.

Some colleges, like Swarthmore College, don’t even bother with GPA at all. According to Greg Roberts, admissions dean at the University of Virginia, “It’s meaningless.” For instance, the average GPA for Clemson’s first-year students has risen from 3.59 to 4.10 in just five years. At the same time, the average math SAT score remained the same, ranging from 580 to 680 out of a maximum of 800. That is a clear example of grade inflation, one of the biggest reasons why some colleges disregard GPA. But even taking that into account, GPA is still the best indicator school authorities have to predict how well a student will do in college.

What happens when a student gets above average GPA and average SAT / ACT score?

Colleges generally discard students who get an above-average GPA score and an average ACT / SAT score. There are various opportunities for students to take the ACT and SAT exams that are conducted throughout the year. Colleges can still consider your admission application by giving you an advantage of the doubt.

This advantage depends on your GPA score, that shows your performance and ability. They pay more weight to the GPA score as it is a reflection of long-term performance in academics. To improve your score, you may apply for test-optional.

Several schools provide this facility to students who have poor GPA scores. This option seems to be very attractive. However, there are very few scholarships for such test-optional students.

Advantages of A High GPA Score

A high GPA score can help you even before you start applying for colleges. Students with high GPA have the possibility of taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) classes while still in high school. These will further boost your GPA score, but some will also count towards your college degree, making it that much easier later. Course credit is nothing to sneer at, and that alone is reason enough to do well in these classes. A higher GPA is just a welcomed side effect.

Nonetheless, that side effect can easily make a difference between enrolling at your first or second choice. It is a “two birds with one stone” situation, but to take advantage of it, you have to have a high GPA to start with. It is never too early to start thinking about your GPA and keeping it high even in your freshman year.


Having read the above information, you are probably aware of the importance of GPA score in shaping your career. If you dream of better academics and a job, then you should not wait for long.

Make efforts to improve your GPA scores starting today. It is imperative to succeed in the college admissions game. If you wait till a senior year or late junior to begin making changes, then you will miss out on a big opportunity.

Not only will you have an easier time enrolling in a college of your choice, but you will higher self-esteem and confidence, something that a lot of students struggle with these days. A high GPA may not be a perfect tool to combat this, but it is a powerful tool and should not be discarded.