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The Difference Between Weighted and Unweighted GPA

Weighted and Unweighted GPA

We all have heard about GPA, but what is the main difference between weighted and unweighted GPA?

Whether you’re a parent or a student, you will know what a GPA is, and if you don’t, for some reason, then let us tell you.

GPA is an acronym for Grade Point Average. In simpler words, it’s a measuring system for academic achievements in the US.

There are two types, weighted and unweighted GPA scales. The question is what the difference and if one is better than what about the other, it that any better or not?

One school might give a student a weighted GPA, but the same student can get an unweighted GPA in another school.

It’s essential to know the difference, as it can help you get significant scholarships and college admissions.

Let us get on with what you should know about weighted and unweighted GPA and their differences.

What is a Weighted Grade Point Average(GPA)?

In weighted Grade Point Average(GPA), two factors get taken into account:

  1. The difficulty of the class
  2. The grades

The concept around weighted GPA is how some classes are more difficult and should have more weight.

Weight GPA scale ranges from 0-5.0 and sometimes 0-6.0.

What is an Unweighted GPA?

The most traditional way of measuring academic performance is by unweighted GPA.

It does not take into account the difficulty of the course, only the student’s performance. The unweighted GPA scale ranges from 0-4.0.

What is the Difference Between Weighted and Unweighted GPA?

There are three main differences between weighted and unweighted GPA.

GPA Scale

A GPA scale for weighted GPA is different from an unweighted GPA.

An unweighted GPA scale ranges from 0 to 4.0.

On the other hand, the weighted Grade Point Average(GPA) scale ranges from 0 to 5.0. In some schools, the scale can range from 0 to 6.0.

Factor Considered

In the grading factor, the difference between the two is what gets factored in the GPA.

In an unweighted GPA, only the performance of the student gets taken into account. This does’t matter at all if any specific course or the course work is difficult or not.

When it comes to weighted GPA, the student performance and the difficulty/hardness of the course works gets considered.

In other words, a Weighted GPA looks at easy level courses based on performance. However, courses like honors get measured based on the performance and the difficulty, while unweighted looks only at the performance.

Measuring Style

The measuring styles are different of weighted GPA from unweighted GPA.

In an unweighted GPA, one gets an A for a standard class and A for an honors class; both will have a 4.0 GPA. The GPA will not differ.

However, in a weighted GPA, the GPA will be different. In a standard class, an A will stand for 4.0 in weighted GPA. Somehow, If you get an “Grade A or A+” in any honor class, it adds 0.5 to the GPA. If you get Grade A or A+ in an AP class, then it will add 1.0 to the GPA according to the school or university.

So, in weighted GPA:

  • In standard class A=4.0 GPA
  • In honors class A=4.5 GPA
  • In AP class A=5 GPA

It bases on performance and class difficulty.

In a weighted GPA, you get an A in all three, making the GPA for all three 4.0.

The grades in both the weighted and unweighted system are average.

Will Colleges prefer a Weighted GPA or an unweighted GPA?

Colleges do not have a preference. Therefore, it does not matter whether you have a weighted GPA or an unweighted GPA.

The admission officers in any college will do their research to make their decision about the candidate.

Weighted GPA goes above the 4.0 GPA and shows how much the student pushed himself, revealing information on the student quickly.

However, you will not have to worry if your grades are in unweighted GPA. Why? Because admission officers will not only see the grades and make a decision.

In fact, they will open the student’s records and do thorough research before accepting a candidate.

Is Weighted GPA Better or Unweigted GPA?

To be honest with you, it does not matter at all. It’s not like you will have an advantage with one over the other.

Yes, a weighted GPA does let a person know that they worked hard and took difficult classes to get a 5.0 GPA.

However, that should only matter if the admission offices found one better than the other.

The admission offices never assume. So if you get a weighted or unweighted GPA, the committee will still look through your transcript and see your work, your classes.

You will not get judges solely based on the GPA.

Also Read: Sydney Moss


What is a good GPA?

A good GPA differs on each scale. In an unweighted GPA, a good GPA is B=3.0. In a weighted GPA, a good GPA is B=4.0.

Which Colleges take a 4.0 GPA?

A few colleges that take 4.0 GPA include:

  • Harvard College
  • Princeton University
  • Brown University
  • Yale University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Standford University

Should you attach the weighted or unweighted GPA for colleges?

It’s not up to the student or their parents to choose what grading system they put forward to the college. The high school a person attends establishes the kind of grading they will report to colleges.

Our Concluding Thought

GPA, whether it’s weighted or unweighted, is a way for high schools to measure you. You have to push yourself and reach your potential in the four years of high school to prove yourself. Remember the admission committee of the college will look at your transcript and how hard you have worked and not make their decision solely based on the GPA that a person has.

The admissions office will not only consider your GPA, yes it is the main thing, but they will consider the hard work and effort that you put into your work. Try and reach the best GPA you can, as it will show your efforts and see that the best will happen for you. We hope we cleared the differences between the GPAs.

The founder and CEO at ThriveVerge, The Verge, and Thrive Revolution. He launched Thriveverge in 2016, a leading behavior change technology, business, media, and entertainment company with the mission of ending the collective delusion that burning out is the price we have to pay for success.


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