Many people are often confused and surprised to learn that often colleges will remove the weighting of a GPA for admission. Then parents are angered and wonder out loud, “why on earth did my child have to work so hard, if it ends up not counting?” Well, that is not exactly true.
It is true that many public and private schools offer a weighted GPA to reflect higher level courses or more challenge programs, such as Advanced Placement Courses or IB Courses. Some schools offer a 5.0 weighted GPA scale or another scale such as 1-6 to reflect above average levels due to the rigorous course selection. However, all colleges translate whatever scale a secondary school uses, whether letters, 100 point, 4.0 05 5.0, or 1-6 into a 4.0 scale. Often the secondary school provides a translation of its scale into a measurement that a college can then translate into its own system.
What system? Pretty much all US Colleges and Universities use a point system for admission. Admission points are given for GPA, Standardized Tests, AP, IB, Honors courses, and some offer points for leadership, academic prizes and other less tangible accolades. How will I know if my profile will get me extra admission points? Schedule a session with us, and we’ll be happy to discuss your individual profile’s potential.
So why doesn’t the weighed GPA count? Well, it does but not in the way parents assume. Typically, most colleges and universities only use the five core courses for GPA admission points. Core English, Math, History, Science and a Language are considered the five. Electives are certainly looked at for the type of elective chosen, the degree of challenge, and other results, such as creative products in film, music and so forth.
Once the core GPA is derived, then other components of the transcript are examined. AP, IB, Honors courses are given extra points based on the type of course, the grade achieved and other results. A core AP with a grade of an A is going to get additional admission points. How each college or university assigns points is unique. Schools have point systems that try to be as objective as possible for admission in order to ensure fairness and equitability.
Yes, colleges also recruit athletes, gifted musicians, and talented students that are treated differently for admission. Recruited students are required to meet admission criteria but there are component parts of the process that are given extra weight for the recruit. For most athletic pools, the weight assigned to the Standardized Tests is what is called Academic Indexed for admission points. What does that mean? Academic Indexing is used to ensure that the entire pool recruited for the sport, orchestra, etc. have the average Standardized Test scores required for admission. Since the collective must be met, there can be some students with lower scores and some with very high scores, which end up average to the required range accepted.
So yes those APs, IBs, and Honors course do pay off in admission. Even though the GPA used for admission points will not be that 4.88, those great grades will be noticed and valued!