GPA calculation varies by school, electives and advanced classes most often affected

Lukas Zywicki, Writer

Thousands of students apply annually to colleges, and to them, grade point average may appear to be simple. However, once they begin the process they will discover that it is more complex. Larger schools such as Michigan State will take only core classes into account.

“Most colleges will look at the GPA that the high school sends them,” counselor Elizabeth Elsesser said, “but some schools like MSU take out all of the electives and then recalculate the GPA.”

When it comes to GPA, there are many things that can be looked at such as weighted or unweighted classes. Although a weighted GPA can help some students seem more appealing to colleges, not all schools will look at the weighted version.

According to PrepScholar, weighted GPA takes into account course difficulty rather than providing the same letter grade to GPA conversion for every student.Usually, weighted GPA is measured on a scale of 0 to 5.0, although some scales go higher.

“I think it helps because colleges like to see someone in advanced classes,” senior Keegan Pombier said. “Because it is on the 5.0 scale, it looks better than a normal GPA.”

In the IB program, students have the option to take only a couple of IB classes instead off all IB to receive the full IB scholarship.

“The actual diploma is the only difference,” Pombier said. “So it is not really worth the struggle to be in all IB classes for the full diploma.”

For some students, one problem with the GPA whether it is weighted or unweighted is that they had poor grades one year that is pulling their GPA down.

“In the college application,” Elsesser said. “Students have the chance to point out how they have been on an upward trend.”

One way students can make sure they have the necessary GPA to get into the school of their choice is by checking out the colleges they are interested in, then conduct their research to find out the GPA requirements and set that as a personal goal.