A college GPA is measured based on course performance on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0 and where you rank against your peers. If you are considering graduate school and beyond, your GPA will play a factor in whether or not you get accepted, as some schools have minimum GPA requirements to even apply.
It’s important to keep track of your current and cumulative GPA, and to do so you should understand how to calculate it.
Classes and Credit Hours
College classes have what are called credit hours and this is what is used to determine your GPA. To help understand the math, here is a sample of a grade point scale:
A = 4.00 grade points
A- = 3.70 grade points
B+ = 3.33 grade points
B = 3.00 grade points
B- = 2.70 grade points
C+ = 2.30 grade points
C = 2.00 grade points
C- = 1.70 grade points
D+ = 1.30 grade points
D = 1.00 grade points
D- = 0.70 grade points
This means that if you score an “A” in a class that is worth 3 credit hours, the math would look like:
3 credit hours X 4-grade points = 12 Total Grade Points
If you have 4 classes that are worth 3 credit hours each, and you get straight A’s, you would have a total of 48-grade points. You would then divide the total of 48-grade points against the total credit hours attempted (in this case 12); 48/12 = 4.0. Your GPA in this example would be a 4.0.
To get your cumulative GPA, you would have to do this calculation for all classes taken throughout your college career and that can be a lot of work. If you don’t want to do all of that math manually, you can always look online for a GPA calculator online to help speed the process up.
Graduating with Honors
If you have a high enough GPA you can receive honors recognition for your scholastic achievements. This is how colleges recognize students for outstanding achievements. The accolades are broken down into 3 categories:
- Cum Laude: students graduating with honors or a high GPA.
- Magna Cum Laude: students graduating with great honor. You have fallen into the 2nd highest threshold for honors-level recognition.
- Summa Cum Laude: a student graduating with the highest praise. This means you have graduated with the highest grades at your school.
There’s no official GPA threshold amongst the three levels as this is determined by the school. If you do happen to achieve one of these, it’s good to know that it looks great on a resume for a recent graduate or grad-school application.
Your GPA is something you should care about and keep track of. While schools will allow you to retake classes for a better grade, the lower grade can still count against you in the long run.