Understanding the GPA Grading Scale
An overview of the GPA, what it means, how it’s calculated and why it’s so important.
If you’re interested in studying abroad and you’ve already begun researching universities and colleges, then you’ve most likely encountered the term “Grade Point Average” (GPA). As an international student considering higher education abroad, it is essential that you understand the basics of this grading scale and how it may affect your academic journey. International students from schools who follow a different grading scale may be confused when they need to switch to this new system. SchoolApply can smooth out this transition by calculating your GPA according to the scale used by schools abroad.
What are GPA and CGPA?
GPA stands for “Grade Point Average’. It refers to the calculation of a student’s average grade over a stated period of time, such as one semester. GPA is calculated by dividing the total grade points earned by the total credit hours attended.
CGPA stands for ‘Cumulative Grade Point Average’ and refers to the average of a student’s grades over the course of their entire academic program, be it high school, a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree. CGPA is calculated by adding the credit hours and grade points from all semesters, and then dividing the total grade points by the total credit hours. GPA and CGPA are represented by a number rather than a letter or a percentage.
GPA calculations across countries
While GPA is common to the United States, it is not the only country to use it. The GPA system is used in Canada and Australia as well, however, it is calculated differently in each of these countries. In the US, the GPA scale usually ranges from 0.0 to 4.0. Grades represented by letters and percentages can also be converted to a GPA format. The way this is done is by translating percentages into letter grades, and then these letter grades can be converted to a GPA according to a standard scale. For example, a mark of 95% would be an A grade which is equal to 4.0 GPA; a mark of 85% would be a B which is equal to 3.0 GPA; a C is equal to 2.0 GPA and a D is equal to 1.0 GPA. In Canada, the method of calculation varies from province to province; in Australia, a handful of schools use a scale of 0.0 to 7.0.
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Why is GPA important?
In the same way you receive an average mark at the end of a class, your GPA is an average of how you performed in all your courses over a given period of time. When an admissions officer looks at your required transcript, the first thing they see is the results of the effort you put into your studies. Beyond that, your final grades and GPA can also tell a story of who you are. They get a glimpse of your commitment, perseverance and time management skills. They can get an idea of what your work ethic and study habits are and how productive you are.
Of course, having a higher GPA also means that you are smart and able to understand difficult concepts easily. If your GPA is high enough, you may also be eligible for scholarships to help pay for tuition. On top of that, your future employer might also consider your GPA important. This is why it is crucial that you focus on achieving good grades while at school.
If you graduate with a low GPA, not all hope is lost! You can still get into college with a low GPA and SchoolApply can help you submit your application to the schools that are the best fit for you. The first step is converting your grades into GPA, and that’s something SchoolApply can help you with as well.
Catch your GPA in time
It is especially important to start focusing on getting good grades from Grade 10. When applying to university you will usually use your marks from Grade 11 but your final marks for Grade 12 can still be a deal breaker! It’s important to start early because your GPA is an average. However, improving your grades every year will also show progress on your official transcripts.
If you have a low GPA, take some time to determine the cause. Are you not studying enough? Can you focus while studying? Are you struggling to understand the work? Sit down and carefully think this through. Once you have determined what the cause is, start coming up with solutions. Study at the school library, try a different study method or explore what supportive resources are available to you.
You can also start attending tutoring classes or join a study group. This is a good way to be held accountable for studying and you get to have fun as well! Explaining things to others is often also a great way to learn things yourself. You can also talk to your teacher or instructor to find out how they can help you before graduation.
This is your future. Put in the hard work because you will reap the benefits of it. Make sure that you build up a good portfolio for your college application. Lastly, take a deep breath and enjoy the journey. It isn’t just about the destination, but also about the journey. If you need any help along the way, be it with converting your grades, finding a school that best suits your needs, or have other questions about studying abroad, SchoolApply can help you. Get in touch with us today!