Your GPA, or grade point average, is an important summary of your academic achievement in high school. This numeric score is used for college admissions, scholarships, and more. Whether you’re currently a student or have already graduated, it’s useful to understand how to calculate your high school GPA.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Contact your school counselor for an official transcript with your GPA or use your report cards to manually calculate it based on grade points for each class.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what GPA is, walk through how to calculate it by hand, get help from your school, convert between weighted and unweighted GPAs, and improve a low GPA.

Understand the Basics of GPA

Definition of grade point average: Grade Point Average (GPA) is a numerical representation of a student’s academic performance. It is calculated by assigning a numerical value to each grade received in courses and then averaging those values.

GPA is commonly used by colleges, universities, and employers to measure a student’s academic achievement.

Typical GPA grading scale: The GPA grading scale usually ranges from 0.0 to 4.0, with 4.0 being the highest achievable GPA. Each grade corresponds to a specific numerical value. For example, an A might be worth 4.0, a B might be worth 3.0, and so on.

However, it’s important to note that grading scales can vary between high schools and even between different courses within the same school.

How number of credits factors in: In addition to the grades received, the number of credits for each course is a crucial factor in calculating GPA. Courses with more credits have a greater impact on GPA than courses with fewer credits.

This means that a high grade in a course with a higher credit value will have a more significant effect on GPA than a high grade in a course with a lower credit value.

The difference between weighted and unweighted GPA: There are two types of GPAs: weighted and unweighted. Unweighted GPA is calculated using the standard GPA scale mentioned earlier. Weighted GPA takes into account the difficulty level of courses by assigning additional points to grades earned in advanced or honors classes.

This means that a weighted GPA can exceed 4.0, reflecting the challenge of the courses taken.

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Manually Calculate Your Overall GPA

List all courses and grades from your transcript

The first step in calculating your high school GPA is to gather all your course information. Take out your transcript and make a list of all the courses you have taken throughout your high school years. Include both core subjects like math, science, and English, as well as elective courses.

For each course, write down the grade you received. This can be in the form of letter grades (A, B, C, etc.) or numerical grades (90%, 85%, etc.). Make sure you have an accurate record of all your grades.

Convert letter grades to grade points

Once you have a list of all your courses and grades, you need to convert the letter grades to grade points. Most high schools use a standard scale for this conversion:

Letter Grade Grade Points
A 4.0
B 3.0
C 2.0
D 1.0
F 0.0

Assign the corresponding grade points to each of your letter grades. For example, if you received an A in math, assign 4.0 as the grade point for that course.

Factor in credit hours for each course

Next, take into account the credit hours for each course. Some courses may have a higher credit value than others, depending on their difficulty or length. Multiply the grade points you assigned to each course by the credit hours it carries.

For example, if you received an A (4.0 grade points) in a math course that carries 3 credit hours, you would multiply 4.0 by 3 to get a total of 12 grade points for that course.

Use a GPA calculator to average your grades

Finally, it’s time to calculate your overall GPA. Add up all the grade points you obtained from each course and divide it by the total number of credit hours. This will give you your GPA.

If you prefer a more convenient method, you can use online GPA calculators available on various educational websites. These calculators will save you time and provide accurate results.

Remember, calculating your high school GPA manually can be a bit time-consuming, but it gives you a deeper understanding of how your GPA is calculated and allows you to double-check your results. So, grab your transcript and start crunching those numbers!

Obtain Your Official GPA from Your School

Calculating your high school GPA is an important step in understanding your academic performance and setting goals for the future. To obtain your official GPA, there are a few different methods you can use.

Request an official transcript from your counselor

Your high school counselor is a valuable resource when it comes to obtaining your official GPA. They can provide you with an official transcript that includes all of your grades and credits earned throughout high school.

This transcript will typically include your cumulative GPA, as well as your GPA for each individual semester or year.

Check your student portal or database listing

Many schools have an online student portal or database where you can access your academic records, including your GPA. This can be a convenient way to obtain your official GPA without having to wait for a physical transcript.

Simply log in to your student portal and navigate to the section that displays your grades and GPA.

Review your report cards for GPA information

If you don’t have access to your counselor or student portal, you can also review your report cards for GPA information. Report cards typically include your GPA for each grading period, allowing you to calculate your overall GPA by averaging these values.

Keep in mind that this method may not provide you with an official GPA, but it can still give you a good estimate of your academic performance.

Remember, your GPA is an important measure of your academic success and can impact your college admissions and scholarship opportunities. If you have any questions or need further clarification on how to obtain your official GPA, don’t hesitate to reach out to your school’s guidance office.

Convert Between Weighted and Unweighted GPA

The difference between these two GPAs

Understanding the difference between weighted and unweighted GPA is crucial when calculating your high school GPA. Unweighted GPA is based on a scale of 0.0 to 4.0, where each grade is given equal weight. This means that an A is worth 4.0, a B is worth 3.0, and so on.

On the other hand, weighted GPA takes into account the difficulty level of the courses you have taken. This means that certain classes, such as honors or Advanced Placement (AP) courses, are given additional weight, often on a scale of 0.5 or 1.0.

As a result, a student who takes more challenging classes can have a higher weighted GPA than their unweighted GPA.

How to convert weighted GPA to unweighted

Converting your weighted GPA to an unweighted GPA can be done by removing the additional weight assigned to certain classes. To do this, you need to identify which classes have been given extra weight and subtract that extra weight from your overall GPA.

For example, if you have taken three AP classes, each worth an additional 1.0, you would subtract 3.0 from your weighted GPA to obtain your unweighted GPA.

Pro tip: Many high schools provide a conversion chart or formula to help students calculate their unweighted GPA from their weighted GPA. Check with your school’s guidance counselor or academic advisor for specific instructions on how to convert your GPA.

When to report each type of GPA

When it comes to reporting your GPA, it is important to know which type of GPA is required or preferred by colleges, scholarship programs, or other institutions. In general, colleges and universities typically consider both weighted and unweighted GPA during the admissions process.

However, some institutions may place more emphasis on one over the other, depending on their specific admissions criteria.

When reporting your GPA on college applications, it is usually best to provide both your weighted and unweighted GPA. This allows admissions officers to see the full picture of your academic achievements, including your performance in challenging courses.

However, if the application specifically asks for one type of GPA, be sure to follow the instructions provided.

Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to check the admissions requirements of the colleges you are interested in to ensure that you are providing the correct type of GPA.

Improve Your GPA Before Graduation

As high school students approach graduation, it’s important to take steps to improve their GPA. A higher GPA not only reflects academic success but also opens doors to better opportunities in college and beyond.

Here are some strategies to help students boost their GPA during their junior and senior year:

Strategies for improving grades junior and senior year

1. Develop effective study habits: Creating a consistent study schedule, breaking down assignments into manageable tasks, and seeking help when needed can greatly improve grades.

2. Set realistic goals: Setting specific and achievable goals can provide students with motivation and a sense of direction. Breaking larger goals into smaller milestones can make them more attainable.

3. Get organized: Staying organized can help students manage their time effectively and avoid procrastination. Using tools like planners or digital calendars can help keep track of assignments, exams, and deadlines.

4. Seek extra help: If a student is struggling with a particular subject, it’s important to seek additional support. This can include asking the teacher for clarification, attending tutoring sessions, or joining study groups.

Consider retaking courses to replace grades

If a student received a low grade in a course, they may have the option to retake the course to replace the grade. This can be a great opportunity to improve their understanding of the subject matter and boost their GPA.

It’s important to check with the school’s policies regarding retaking courses and how the new grade will be calculated.

Look into credit recovery or grade forgiveness programs

Some schools offer credit recovery or grade forgiveness programs for students who have struggled academically. These programs provide an opportunity for students to retake failed courses or improve grades in specific subjects.

It’s worth exploring these options to see if they are available and if they can help improve the overall GPA.

Remember, improving a GPA takes time and effort. It’s important for students to stay motivated, stay focused, and seek help when needed. With determination and a strategic approach, it’s possible to see significant improvements in GPA before graduation.


Calculating your high school GPA provides an important benchmark for your academic record. This numeric representation of your grades can help you qualify for scholarships, college admission, and more.

With your official transcript, school database, report cards, and a handy GPA calculator, finding this important number is straightforward. Use these strategies to understand and even boost your GPA.

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