How to Raise Your GPA
A good grade point average (GPA) can mean a wider range of opportunities for your career. With a high GPA you would be able to be more confident in your college admissions process, you could go on to a good graduate program or professional school, and that would mean better work and life opportunities after your college career is over.
Measuring your GPA
In order to do a better job of raising your GPA, the first step is to know where you stand right now. Calculating your cumulative GPA is easy:
If you’re in high school and your school uses an unweighted GPA scale, all you need to do is to convert letter grades to grade points, sum all the grade points and divide by the number of classes.
If your high school uses a weighted GPA scale, you need to consider the extra point on the scale for honors and advanced placement classes.
If you’re in college, you need to take into account credit hours, multiplying the grade points for each class by the number of credits, and then dividing the sum of grade points by the total number of credits.
Even easier is to use our cumulative GPA calculator, so you can focus on raising your grade point average.
What can you do to improve your GPA?
If you’re a determined, hard-working student, or you want to become one, there are lots of strategies you can employ to work raising your GPA.
What is a good GPA?
We all can agree that the highest your GPA, the better. The national average in high school is an unweighted 3.0, which is a B average. This figure includes all students in the country, including those that aren’t planning on attending college. Even though a grade point average higher than 3.0 would mean that you’re an above-average student, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to attend the college of your choice.
If you’re in college, the same logic applies. The average GPA for 4-year college students in the US is 3.15, or B average, although this average has strong variations by school and degree, and some graduate programs may require a GPA above 3.5 to be considered for admission.
A good GPA can mean something different for each person. So start by looking at your context to find out what a good GPA means for you:
Your school, your college, your degree
If you have a GPA of 3.4, but you’re one of the top students in your class, then it may be that your high school is particularly tough. When submitting college applications, admissions officers will take this into consideration, and potentially it’d look better than a higher GPA at a less rigorous school. If you’re in college, you should compare yourself with your peers in your college and your degree. Math and science degrees have a lower average GPA than social sciences degrees, for example.
A perfect GPA of 4.0 may not look that impressive in your college applications if those grades were obtained by attending lower difficulty classes. Admissions officers would look at the difficulty of your courses and will value a lower GPA obtained in difficult classes.
Your goals and objectives
If you want to attend an Ivy League college like Harvard, the average freshman high school GPA was 3.93, and most likely their coursework included honors and AP classes. In other colleges, the incoming freshman average GPA would be lower. You’d need also to meet a minimum GPA requirement to qualify for most financial and federal aid, like scholarships and grants. If you’re in college and are planning on attending a graduate school like law school, then you also need to look at the GPA requirements for your graduate program.
Plan your goals for the long term to put your current GPA in context. Depending on your ambitions and what you want to achieve, then you’d be in a good position to evaluate your GPA.
Is it hard to raise your GPA?
If you want to raise your GPA, the best you can do is to start as early as possible. Waiting until your senior year could mean that you only would be able to raise your GPA a few points, even though you may get an A in all your courses.
The fact is that it’s much easier to maintain a GPA than to raise one, and, as GPA is an average, the sooner you start, the easiest it is to increase it. Ideally, you should start focusing on this in your freshman year, whether you’re in high school or in college.
If you’re already in your senior year in high school, then you would do better focusing on your SAT scores, as there’s little you can do that will dramatically improve your GPA.
Can I raise my GPA from 2.0 to 3.0 in a semester?
As we said, the sooner you start the better. The only occasion in which you could raise an unweighted GPA from 2.0 to 3.0 in a single semester would be in your freshman year. If you have the same number of classes in your second semester and you get straight As in all your classes, then you’d be able to achieve this rare feat. Otherwise, it’d be impossible.