What is Grade Point Average (GPA) and how it affects your admissions to the US Universities?

What is Grade Point Average (GPA) and how it affects your admissions to the US Universities?

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Rahul
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Dec 1, 2022 01:51 IST

What is Grade Point Average (GPA) and how it affects your admissions to the US Universities?

What is GPA score: America is a country essentially different from India. They have different policies, and different ways of measuring things and are more comfortable in grading than quantifying every score. Simply put, America follows, what is known as a Grade Point Average (GPA) score to measure your academic ability – success or failure. If planning to pursue your studies in America, understanding what is GPA score is and how it works would be a good idea.

What is GPA Score?

Simply put, GPA Score or Grade Point Average score is an average score of a student’s grade achieved across the course duration from a university, college or school. It is often weighted against the credits assigned to a course.

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Understanding it further, here is how the system works. When you enrol into a college (be it graduate or postgraduate level or even a school), you are required to select various subjects that have designated credits. Unlike India, American Education System denotes credits to each subject taken calculated on basis of stipulated hours required to complete it. You can read about the credit hours system to further understand it.

Once you select a subject, you are rewarded with grades for your performance. At the end of the course, these grades are converted into points. Now, the USA follows a 4-point system where A is equal to 4 or the highest grade, B is equal to 3 and so on. Basically,

Grade

Point

A

4

B

3

C

2

D

1

E

0

So what happens when you get an A+? You get an additional .33. A minus, similarly, warrants a -0.33. In other words, if you get an A-, your point would be calculated as 4.0 – 0.33 = 3.67. Similarly, a B+ gets you an additional .33 and boosts your grade to 3.33. It should be noted that while some colleges might give you a 4.33 for A+, generally A+ is given a 4.0, which translates into the perfect score. Some institutes may use a .3 as a difference and some might keep it .5. Meaning B+ might mean 3.3 or 3.5, respectively.

How is GPA Calculated in US?

How is GPA calculated in US: GPA is calculated as either a simple average or a weighted average. For the simple average, you simply add the points received across subjects and then divide the total by the number of subjects taken. For example, you studied 4 subjects and scored as given below:

Subject

Grade

Corresponding Grade Point

English

A

4.0

Algebra

B

3.0

Physics

B+

3.33

Trigonometry

A-

3.67

So, for the simple average method, your GPA would be 4+3+3.33+3.67 = 14.0. Now, since you appeared in 4 subjects, your GPA is 14.0/4 = 3.5.

Alternatively, GPA is also calculated by means of a weighted average, with the designated credits being the weights assigned to each subject. So accordingly, you multiply the points with the credits of that subject, total the product and divide it by the total number of credits. For example,

Subject

Credits

Grade

Corresponding Grade Point

English

3

A

4.0

Algebra

3

B

3.0

Physics

2

B+

3.33

Trigonometry

3

A-

3.67

In this case, for the above set, you first calculate the product of the grade point and the credit and then divide the total by the total number of credits. Accordingly, your GPA would be calculated as [(4*3) + (3*3) + (3.33*2) + (3.67*3)]/11 which equals to 3.51.

How do grades compare to standards?

In India, we simply divide the scores into distinctions and divisions with distinctions being excellent, the first division being good and so on. For America, the standards for your grades are also defined. Usually, to pass a course, you require a GPA of 2.0 and above. Less than that is considered failing and would require you to retake the subject. This is not standard, however, and is different for different universities/ colleges/ schools. Some schools or professional courses might require you to have a minimum GPA of 2.75.

Generally speaking, anything above 3.75 is good, 2.75 – 3.75 is average and below 2.5 is poor.

How do I convert my percentage into GPA for admissions?

The answer is simple. You don’t. Before you go searching for scales and tables and weird calculations, let me guide you to refrain. It is not required.

Almost all the universities in America recognise that the grading system across various boards is different. They are also well aware of all of the Indian Boards including the CBSE, the ICSE, the CIE and the IB as well as the State Boards. They also understand that while some boards would happily give a high score, some simply never give the maximum. So, if planning to apply, concentrate on doing your best in what you are pursuing. The university you apply to would simply equate your scores to their internal cut-off for your board. More importantly, the admission process to the USA is not simply based on your grades. They look at the bigger picture and would also look at your SAT, GMAT, or GRE scores (whichever is applicable) along with the application essays and letters of recommendation. In case they don’t recognise the board, they would request you to share your scorecard and an explanation of that grading system.

How much GPA is required to Study in USA?

GPA for US Universities: Whether a GPA score is good or not would entirely depend on your professional and academic objectives. However, when we talk about GPA for US Universities - a GPA Score of 3.0 - 3.5 should comfortably make you eligible for higher education in the US. Top education providers in the US would require a GPA score higher than 3.5.  For assistance with US University admissions, our team of Shiksha Study Abroad Counsellors will be happy to assist you. Request a call back here: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/apply 

So, take our advice. Worry about GPA as only the way you would be scored once you land in America. As far as computing GPA to get admission to American University/ College, it’s not important.

About the Author
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Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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Reviewed by
Kalyani
MBA Course in the US

Having Worked as an Academic Manager in Experiential Marketing earlier, Kalyani made her move to the study abroad vertical in 2017.Passionate about education and wanting to make a difference, Kalyani holds a B.Com d... Read Full Bio

Comments

(9)

d

devanshi

2 years ago

is average GPA taken or they ask for lowest and highest

Reply to devanshi

4 years ago

Hey! I’ve got very less in my 11th grade but scored well in 9th and 10th. Will they take the Average GPA or will they ask about the low scores in 11th?

Reply to

4 years ago

My cgpa is overall 7.8 what is gpa?

Reply to

4 years ago

I am from India.I have done Bechlor in business administration WITH 8.24 CGPA.....and have done master in commerce with 76.26% .. and Bechlor in education with 8.29 .......what will be my GPA??

Reply to

4 years ago

Can u please suggest me some career options with my qualification in USA

5173871
Swameeka Medhi

4 years ago

Hi Rinku, the article above shows a formula, please use the same. Alternatively, there are other tools online.