College GPA stands for college Grade Point Average. So, by using a College GPA Calculator, you will be able to discover the average of all your grades for all the classes that you are taking, in a single number. So, instead of ending up with just a bunch of letters, with a College GPA Calculator you’ll be converting these letters into numbers. This can be very helpful to give you a better idea of where you are standing right now.
#1: How Does A College GPA Calculator Work?
The first thing that a College GPA Calculator does is to convert each one of the letter grades into a number value. So, A = 4.0, B = 3.0, C = 2.0, D = 1.0, F = 0.
However, you need more information than just your grades. The truth is that classes have different credit hours. For example, most colleges classes are 3 credit hours. Nevertheless, you will also have some that have 4 credits hours. There are usually the classes such as science labs or computer labs, among others, that require more time.
So, the College GPA Calculator will weigh the grade according to the number of credits of the class.
With this College GPA Calculator may seem a bit confusing, the truth is that it is pretty simple and straightforward.
#2: Knowing The Calculations Behind The College GPA Calculator
While you can simply input your values in the College GPA Calculator, the truth is that it is always important to understand the calculations behind it.
So, nothing better than a simple example.
- Step #1: Calculate Your Total Credit Hours:
Let’s say that Adam just finished his first semester and he wants to know his GPA.
So, the first thing Adam’s needs to do is to convert all the grades letters into numbers. As we already mentioned above: A = 4.0, B = 3.0, C = 2.0, D = 1.0, F = 0.
Here are the classes Adam had this semester as well as his grades:
|Course||Letter Grade||Grade Value|
|Computer Science 101||A||4|
|English 101 – B||B||3|
- Step #2: Calculate Total Grade Points:
In order to Adam calculate his total grade points, he needs to know how many credit hours has each class he took during the semester. Considering that:
|Course||Letter Grade||Grade Value||Credit Hours|
|Computer Science 101||A||4||4|
As you already know, in order to determine your grade points for a specific class, the credit hours influence the grade. So, all you need to do is, for each class that you took, to multiply the letter grade value by the respective number of credit hours.
So, Adam ends up with:
- Algebra 101 – 4 X 3 = 12 grade points
- Biology 101 – 4 X 4 = 16 grade points
- Computer Science 101 – 4 X 4 = 16 grade points
- English 101 – 3 X 3 = 9 grade points
- Psychology 101 – 3 X 3 = 9 grade points
- Step #3: Determine The GPA (Grade Points Average):
Finally, in order to know his GPA Adam will need to divide the sum of all her grade points by the total number of credits that Adam completed this semester.
Taking our example:
(12 + 16 + 16 + 9 + 9) / (3 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3) = 67 / 17 = 3.65
So, at the end of this semester, Adam has a GPA of 3.65. So, if Adam wanted to know his grade letter, he knows that an A is valued as 4 and a B is valued as 3. While he stands in the middle of the A or B but he is nearer A, it is considered a low A or an A-.
#3: Cumulative GPA Vs. Overall GPA:
At college, you probably already heard some of your friends talking about semester GPA, cumulative GPA, and even Overall GPA. So, what’s the difference? Which one is best to use and on what occasions?
The example that we just showed you with Adam’s grades, he had completed his first semester. By the end of the semester, Adam had a semester GPA of 3.65. In this case, since it was Adam’s first semester, 3.65 is also his cumulative GPA.
As Adam’s continues in college, he will need to continue evaluating his GPA.
The main difference between the cumulative GPA and the overall GPA is that the cumulative GPA will refer to each semester while the overall GPA is an average of all Adam’s semester GPAs together.
Let’s just continue with our example so that you can fully understand.
Imagine that Adam is now going for his third year in college and he wants to know his cumulative GPA. Here are his GPAs for each semester as well as the credit hours for each semester and the respective grade points:
|Semester||GPA||Credit Hours||Grade Points|
So, in order to know the overall GPA, Adam will need to divide the sum of his grade points for all 4 semesters by the total number of credit hours for all 4 semesters:
Adam’s cumulative GPA = (51.8 + 44.2 + 39.6 + 45.5)/(14 + 13 + 12 + 13) = 181.1/52 = 3.48
So, Adam has, at the moment, a 3.48 overall GPA, which is a high B or a B+ on average.
#4: Why Is Important That You Know Your College GPA?
The reality is that no matter if you’re going to start your career as soon as you graduate college or if you are going to look for additional college degrees, GPA can be helpful. The truth is that this is a good way to impress both your employer as well as the college where you want to be accepted. However, you need to understand that it can also be bad for you in case you have a low GPA.
So, it’s important that college students always keep an eye on their college GPA. This also allows you to stay on top of how you are doing at school.
- When You Are Considering Advanced Degrees:
One of the things that you should retain is that if you are considering to pursuit advanced degreed, most colleges and universities only consider your application if you have a GPA equal or above 3.65. Since this varies, it’s important that you know exactly the GPA value that the college or university you want expects from their students. In case you’re looking for advanced degrees in medical school, law school, or a Ph.D., you should aim for a GPA of at least 3.70.
- When You Are Considering Finding A Job Right After College Graduation:
The truth is that the higher your GPA the better. Employers look at the number to determine if you were dedicated to your studies.
While some employers will give you a job with a GPA of 3.0, the truth is that it shouldn’t be lower than this. A GPA between 3.50 and 4.00 is certainly a great way to show yourself as a good job candidate.
- When You Need A Scholarship:
Not all students (or their parents) can afford paying college or university. Therefore, in case you need to apply for a scholarship, you need to know that your GPA has a huge influence on whether you get the financial aid or not.
As soon as you file your application, it will then pass by a committee where they decided who is entitled to the financial help as well as the amount. One of the factors that they tend to look at more closely is the GPA since it reflects if you are dedicated to your studies or not.
#5: Some Limitations Of The GPA:
While the GPA is a good overall representation of how you are doing at school and if whether you are dedicated to your studies or not, the truth is that it isn’t perfect. Both colleges, universities, and employers know this and this is why they also look for other information about you. These include:
- Test Scores:
When you take the tests for admission to advanced degree programs, it’s important that you have a good grade. The reality is that it is not uncommon at all to colleges and universities to look at this number and giving it more importance than to your GPA. So, let’s say that you have a GPA of 3.5. While this is not bad at all, if the college or university has a minimum of GPA, if they only relied on this value you wouldn’t get in. However, if they take a look at your test scores and they see good results, you will probably get in.
- School Participation:
Another important factor that colleges, universities, and employers tend to look at is to see how you were involved in your own community. So, it’s important that you participate in different activities. You can either be involved in student politics, clubs, volunteer at a local food bank, or even participate in a college-level Rotary Club.
#6: How Can You Improve Your GPA?
As you already know by now, calculating your GPA either by hand or by using a College GPA Calculator is extremely important. However, even more important than knowing how to calculate it is to ensure that you have a high GPA. After all, your future employers, as well as colleges and universities in case you want to proceed to an advanced degree, will look at it to evaluate you as a potential candidate.
So, how can you improve your GPA?
Let’s say that you want to get a Master’s Degree in a university that requires a GPA of 3.9. However, despite all your efforts until now, your GPA is currently at 3.78.
Here are some ideas that you should consider to get higher grades:
- Join a study group
- Attend all your classes all the time, and take them seriously
- Take more time to study, especially away from the dorm. Just choose a quiet place where you can focus such as the college library, for example.
- In case you didn’t quite understand a part of a class, just visit your professor immediately.
- Read and study even more
- Develop a take-note system that works best for you
- Make sure that you get enough sleep at night
- Prepare yourself for every exam, test, or quiz
- Take advantage of all the extra credit opportunities you can find.
While you can do all this on your own, it’s also a good idea to see exactly what is missing you to move from a GPA of 3.78 to a GPA of 3.9 which is the requirement of the university you want to attend.
Hopefully, you still have two semesters ahead of you to raise .2 in your GPA. Just take the following example.
Let’s assume that below are your previous GPAs, credit hours and grade points for the past 6 semesters:
|Semester||GPA||Credit Hours||Grade Points|
So, your overall GPA is: 283.2/76 = 3.78
Looking at these numbers, you now know that you need to have a cumulative GPA of more than 3.78. Not sure about it? Just check the following table:
|Semester||GPA||Credit Hours||Grade Points|
By adding the results of the previous 6 semesters to these 2 semesters that are missing, you would get a cumulative GPA of:
(283.2 + 120.4)/(76 + 27) = 3.92
As you can see, college GPA is very important for your future. Besides, you should be on top of it and raise it with time so you can get the best opportunities.
While college GPA is evaluated along with other factors, the reality is that you need to make it as high as possible.