A is for Anxious

A is for Anxious

By Tasha

What if your high school does things a little...differently? Will colleges understand that your B is someone else's A? A Sparkler writes:

I was curious what a college would think if your GPA system was different. A=100-93, B=92-83, C=82-71, D=70-65, F=64-0 For example one quarter I had a 95 average with two B's according to that scale, but in a normal 100-90,89-80,etc system I would have a 4.0 but my school was my GPA was much lower and all clases were equally weighted.

I would not get too hung up on your high school’s way of calculating GPAs. For one thing, all the relevant information is clearly spelled out on your high school transcript, so admissions officials can clearly see just how competitive an applicant you are based on the scoring system your high school uses. In most cases, admissions officers go through transcripts that are on a weighted system and translate the grades into unweighted scores. That way, they can compare each applicant fairly.

Also, know that your school isn't so weird—lots of schools choose to award all classes the same amount of “weight” without regard for the rigor of each class. Admissions officers won't be shocked to encounter such a system. And if you choose to take a rigorous course load and earn a B in AP Calculus instead of an A in a regular Calculus course, admissions officers will notice, understand, and appreciate your work. Decent grades in difficult classes impress us much more than high grades in easy classes.

Remember, GPA isn't everything. Standardized test scores help admissions officials get an idea of your academic potential as well. These scores provide one more way to get everyone on the same playing field, so to speak. Colleges tend to ask for so much information because the admissions officials want to get the clearest picture possible of the candidates, and take all factors into account before making admissions decisions.

As you can see, admissions officials are well aware of the way some high schools present your coursework. Therefore, rest easy—and keep up the good work!

Best wishes,


Do you have a question for Tasha? Reach her at advice@sparknotes.com.

Topics: college applications, grades, gpas

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