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How College Admissions Calculate your High School GPA

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An “A” (90 to 100) at Central High in Maryland doesn’t always mean the same thing as an “A” (93-100) at Memorial High School in Eureka, CA. And, maybe Memorial offers “A+s” and “A-s,” and Central doesn’t. In addition, it may be harder to earn an “A” with the teachers in Maryland than in CA. On top of all this, some high schools have weighted grades for certain courses. So how do grades get considered equally in colleges across the country?

Because one high school GPA does not equal another’s, colleges often use a general formula to make the playing field for applicants level. Whether your high school gives letter grades or numerical grades, a college will convert your grades to a 4.0 scale. Below is a tough conversion scale.


•A+ (97-100) = 4.0
•A (93-100) = 4.0
•A-(90-92) = 3.7
•B+ (87-89) = 3.3
•B (83-86) = 3.0
•B-(80-82) = 2.7
•C+ (77-79) = 2.3
•C (73-76) = 2.0
•C-(70-72) = 1.7
•D+ (67-69) = 1.3
•D (65-66 = 1.0
•F (<65) = 0.0

This modified GPA, based on the 4.0 scale, may be further recalculated to a HPA (Honor Point Average). This additional calculation gives extra weight to students who are taking more challenging classes: AP, honors classes, or college courses. This recalculation is usually only considered for students earning at least a “C” in these classes. Here is a general estimate.

•AP class = +1.0
•College class (entry level) = +0.5
•College class (higher level) = +1.0
•Honors class = +0.5

Students applying to college should know their grades do count equally no matter the high school they attend. Also, they should know that taking easier courses to boost their GPA does not always work. Taking more challenging courses pays off, too.