What Is Term GPA? Term GPA vs. Cumulative GPA

Term GPA
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Term (or semester GPA) and cumulative GPA are the most common types of GPA.

Let’s look at term GPA vs. cumulative GPA—what they are, how they are calculated, which is more important, and what is a good term or cumulative GPA.

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What is cumulative GPA vs. term GPA?

The difference between cumulative GPA and term GPA is the time frame. Cumulative GPA is the student’s GPA from their entire time in college, and term GPA is the student’s GPA from that specific term (semester or quarter).

Term GPA shows a short-term evaluation, and cumulative GPA shows a long-term evaluation.

Since term GPA has a much smaller number of classes calculated into the GPA, it can fluctuate much more than cumulative GPA.

Both high schools and colleges measure GPA in both term GPA and cumulative GPA.

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What is cumulative GPA?

Cumulative GPA is a student’s GPA from all semesters and courses. It is the average of the grades earned in all terms. It is the singular number that represents the student’s overall academic performance.

Cumulative GPA is used for graduation requirements, honors, scholarships, and graduate school admissions.

Cumulative GPA is on a student’s transcript.

What is a term GPA?

Term GPA means the GPA for only that term or semester. It is the average of the final grades for a specific term (such as semester or quarter). It can also be called semester GPA or quarterly GPA.

Term GPA is on report cards. It is a snapshot of academic performance for that time period and resets at the beginning of each term.

Calculating GPA

Students follow the same process for calculating term and cumulative GPA, but with term GPA, they only include the courses from that term, and with cumulative GPA, they include all courses.

Term GPA example

Semester taken Class Letter GradeGrade Point ValueCredit HoursGrade Point x Credit Hours
Spring 2021MathC2.032 x 3= 6
Spring 2021SociologyA4.034 x 3= 12
Spring 2021EnglishA4.034 x 3= 12
Spring 2021BiologyB3.043 x 4= 12
Spring 2021HistoryB3.033 x 3= 9
Total grade points/ total credit hours = Term GPA
51/ 16 = 3.19

Cumulative GPA example

Class Letter GradeGrade Point ValueCredit HoursGrade Point x Credit Hours
Math from Spring 2020C2.032 x 3= 6
Sociology from Spring 2020A4.034 x 3= 12
English from Fall 2020A4.034 x 3= 12
Biology from Fall 2020B3.043 x 4= 12
History from Spring 2021B3.033 x 3= 9
Total grade points/ total credit hours = cumulative GPA
51/ 16 = 3.19

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Does the term GPA matter?

Term GPA matters because it is used for academic monitoring and honors, such as Dean’s List. It also impacts the student’s cumulative GPA.

Does term GPA matter in high school?

Term GPA matters in high school because it is used for academic progress monitoring, honors, course placement for more advanced courses, and personal goal setting and motivation.

Is term GPA or cumulative GPA more important?

Both term GPA and cumulative GPA are important, but cumulative GPA is generally more important since it is more permanent, is used for graduation requirements, and is reported for grad schools, scholarships, and jobs.

However, a problem with a student’s academic performance has a more immediate impact on term GPA and can influence registration.

Additionally, students must maintain both a minimum term and cumulative GPA, often at least 2.0, or the college puts them on academic probation.

Do colleges look at term GPA or cumulative GPA?

Colleges look at both term and cumulative GPAs. However, cumulative GPA is what colleges use to evaluate overall academic performance and determine admissions. Term GPA is less important to colleges, but they still want to see trends and how students handle different courseloads.

What is a good cumulative GPA?

What is considered a good cumulative GPA is subjective, but a 3.5 or above GPA is a good GPA and is considered honors. For people with less strict standards, anything above a 3.0 may be considered a good GPA.

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What is a good term GPA?

A good term GPA varies for each person and can be decided by the context of what classes the student is taking, what their cumulative GPA is, and what they need their term GPA to be (either for scholarships, registration, or to raise their cumulative GPA).

In general, anything above a 3.0 is considered a good term GPA, especially a 3.5 or higher, since this is considered honors.

Is a 4.0 term GPA good?

A 4.0 term GPA is excellent—it means that the student is getting straight A’s.

Now that you know about term GPA, learn about the other types of GPAOpens in a new tab..

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