A GPA is one of the most important things in college. GPA stands for Grade Point Average, and it is the average of your grades. The GPA is what will show up on your transcripts. The point system is calculated in a very intricate way, but before we get into how it is calculated, we must first make sure you understand the basic concepts and numbers of the grading system.
There are two basic grading systems in the U.S and those are the numerical and the letter grade. These are the grades that you receive in your day to day assignments and tests. These are the first step of the grading system that will make up part of your GPA.
The numerical grading system in the U.S. is different to other places because that grading scale is from 0 to 100. Numerical grades are also broken down into a letter grade as well. Anything below a C (70) is considered a failing grade. Therefore, the next chart represents the letters with its corresponded grading scale:
The letter grading system can also be broken down into a plus (+) or a minus (-). Take not that the this plus/minus system may vary down to the tenth decimal system. The plus/minus system exists because when it comes to calculating your GPA for the semester, the letter value matters in the decimals. The following chart represents the grading system broken down into plus and minus:
F: Below 60
Each professor has their own grading method, worry not though because each professor outlines their grading policies and guidelines in the syllabus that they hand out at the beginning of the semester. For example, a professor may say that tests taken throughout the course are worth 40% of your grade, assignments worth 50% and participation worth 10% of your overall grade for the class. Therefore, all your assignments will be averaged, then weighted at 50% of your total grade for the class.
Here is where the grading system gets a little complicated in college. The GPA in college is calculated on a scale of 1 to 4. What happens is that the numerical grades are converted to their letter grade, and the letter grade is then converted to this scale. Still following me? Good.
So below is how the grading scale works, going from the numerical grade to the letter grade to the 4.0 scale.
|Percent Grade||Letter Grade||4.0 Scale|
Once you have your final grades for your class lets assume that your grades are as follows:
Math (3 credits): B+
English (3 credits): A
Economics (2 credits): C
History (3 Credits): A-
Each one of those grades is assigned a certain grade point equivalent. If you look at the table above, you can match the letter to the corresponding 4.0 scale number. Once that has been done you multiply that times the number of credits the class is worth (this depends on the class but is normally indicated in the name of the course). Below is a chart of how you would calculate the GPA for the grades received above.
|Class||Grade||Grade Point Equivalent||Credits||Grade Points
(Grade Weights x Credits)
The GPA of the chart above would be the following:
Your class GPA is the percentage one. At the end of the semester the only grade you see is the letter grade that the professor plugs into the system after final grades.
The semester GPA is the one calculated above, only with the classes that were completed during that semester.
This GPA is your overall GPA of all your classes and all your semesters. This is the final grade that you have on your major. Depending on your GPA at the time of graduation can determine if you will graduate with certain honors.
You can graduate with one of the three honors, but each college and university has different requirements for this. This can be based on your GPA as well as your academic area of concentration, whether you completed an independent study or not, among other factors. Below are what each of them mean from their Latin translation. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are associated to a high GPA.
“With great honor”
“With greatest honor”
I hope this post gave you an idea and help you understand how the American grading system works. GPA is very important in American Universities, therefore, I recommend you to keep it as higher as you can. It will help you in the future when looking for jobs. Also, if you achieve a high GPA, it’s likely that you will receive scholarships for that.
If you would like to study in the U.S, you should register in Mooxye and create a profile. You will find step by step what you need to do in order to get a scholarship in the United States. Good luck!