Monday, November 18, 2013

Calculating a UGA GPA

During every admissions cycle, the question of how UGA calculates a high school GPA arises. I have seen so many GPA's thrown out on college "discussion forums" that I start to cringe when I see these three letters. Because there are so many school systems using such a wide variety of grading scales, my best answer is always that we try to start everyone out on as level a playing field as possible. To give you an idea of the range of grading/GPA scales, here is a small sample; 10 point grading scales, 7 point grading scales, E/S/U grades, narrative grade reports, 6 point GPA scales (to include AP weighting), 4 point GPA scales, plus/minus grades, numerical only grades, 16 point GPA scales adding all four years together, etc. As you can see, the GPA on one student's HS transcript could vary greatly from another's.

So step one is to look at the GPA(s) on your transcript, and then completely ignore it. Scratch it out, mark it out with a Sharpie, rip that section off the transcript, but do whatever you need to do to get it out of your mind.

Step two, understand that UGA re-calculates all high school GPA's, and it is based upon the individual grades (be it semester, trimester, full year, etc.) in all the academic classes using the grading scale at that school. In addition, we add 1.0 weight to every individual AP or IB grade (unless a weight has already been added to the individual grade), and calculate a GPA based upon a 4.00 scale. Every A is worth 4 points, every B is 3 points, etc. As I said before, our goal is to try to review everyone on as level a playing field as possible.

Here is a quick example: Johnny Smith applies to UGA with the following grades in his core classes, and his school does not add any weight to the grades.

  • 10 A grades (10 X 4 = 40 quality points)
  • 4 B grades (4 X 3 = 12 quality points)
  • 1 C grade (1 X 2 = 2 quality points)
  • 3 of these grades are AP grades (3 X 1.0 = 3 quality points)
Add up all the quality points (57) and divide by the number of grades (15), and you will get your GPA (57 / 15 = 3.80).

That is it. It is not that difficult, and it gives us a good, consistent GPA for all our applicants. Imagine if we had to try and compare a 3.76 GPA to an 11.40 GPA to a "mostly E/S grades" GPA. The idea of comparing apples to apples is much better.

I hope this helps, and Go Dawgs!

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