Do Colleges Look at Unweighted GPA or Weighted GPA?

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When thinking about your GPA for college applications, a common question is if colleges look at unweighted or weighted GPA.

Colleges will look at unweighted or weighted GPA, whichever type the student’s high school used to calculate their official GPA. Admissions look at what classes the student took and what classes were available to them. Many colleges recalculate GPA based on their criteria.

Let’s look at the difference between unweighted and weighted GPA, which is more important, if colleges look at unweighted or weighted GPA during admissions, and which they care about more.

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Difference between unweighted and weighted GPA

First, let’s review the difference between unweighted and weighted GPAs.

Both unweighted and weighted GPA are the average of the student’s grades in all their classes. The difference is that an unweighted GPA counts all classes the same, and a weighted GPA gives more value to advanced classes, such as honors or AP classes.

A weighted GPA takes into account the difficulty of the class, so an A in history would be worth a 4.0, and an A in AP History would be worth a 5.0.

Learn more about the meaning of Weighted or Unweighted GPA and FAQsOpens in a new tab..

Is weighted or unweighted GPA more important?

In general, weighted GPA is more important than unweighted GPA. Weighted GPA generally determines class rank and who is valedictorian. Some scholarships prioritize weighted GPA, and college admissions may consider weighted GPA to give a better overall picture of a student’s academic performance.

Scholarships may view weighted GPA as more important because they recognize the effort of students taking more difficult classes. Some scholarships specifically look for high-achieving students who took honors and AP courses.

Unweighted GPA shows your overall academic success, but weighted GPA shows your success during more challenging courses.

Weighted GPA rewards students who challenge themselves, which is good since colleges want students to challenge themselves academically.

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Weighted GPA vs. unweighted GPA college admissions

College admissions do not have a preference for unweighted or weighted GPA. They will look at either unweighted or weighted GPA—whichever system your high school uses for your official GPA. Many colleges recalculate GPAs based on their own criteria, so the GPAs are more uniform and easier to compare.

Colleges look at students’ high school cumulative GPA (their GPA from all their classes in high school), which can be unweighted or weighted. Learn more about Is Cumulative GPA Weighted or Unweighted?Opens in a new tab.

Admissions know if they are looking at an unweighted or weighted GPA and compare like with like. They consider a student’s GPA in the context of their transcripts, so they will be able to see what courses you took and if you challenged yourself regardless of what GPA is reported.

Colleges will also look at what classes were available to students. They understand that not all schools offer honors or AP courses, and they take this into account. Colleges consider the opportunities that the student had available to them.

It is important to remember that GPA is not what admissions is entirely based on. Admissions consider the student’s overall profile, including their ACT/SAT score, extracurriculars, essay, and recommendations.

Do colleges care more about weighted or unweighted GPA?

Colleges do not care more about weighted or unweighted GPA—they will accept and consider either. College admissions understand that different high schools use different GPA types. Regardless of GPA, colleges want to see students challenging themselves..

There are pluses and minuses to both unweighted and weighted GPA. Unweighted is more straightforward and standardized across schools. Your GPA in college will be unweighted. Weighted GPA gives colleges more information and rewards taking challenging classes since they can prepare you for college.

Many colleges recalculate GPAs based on their criteria to standardize the students’ GPAs.

To find how colleges you are interested in calculate GPA, you can check their websites, look at their admissions material, or reach out to them.

Do colleges accept weighted GPA?

Colleges will accept weighted or unweighted GPA. Report your official GPA from your high school—whatever type they use.

Some colleges may prefer weighted GPA since it can give a better overall picture of both how well a student did in their classes and how much they challenged themselves.

However, don’t worry—colleges will accept both weighted and unweighted GPAs.

Do colleges look at unweighted GPA?

As discussed, colleges will look at unweighted or weighted GPA. List your GPA as your high school reports it, and colleges will be able to determine if the GPA is weighted or unweighted.

Some colleges consider unweighted GPA more standardized.

Colleges take into account that some high schools do not provide the same opportunity for more challenging courses and will not hold that against students.

Report your official GPA from your high school—don’t change the scale your school uses.

The type of GPA reported does not matter—just try to succeed in your courses.

Now that you know college admissions take both types of GPA, learn How to Find Unweighted GPA and Weighted GPA (& Convert Them)Opens in a new tab..

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