What’s a good GPA in college?

If you thought your GPA stopped mattering once you entered college, I’m sorry to tell you that you’re wrong.

Colleges themselves will use your GPA for a variety of things — you’ll need a good GPA to stay in good academic standing, and your financial aid and scholarships will probably have a minimum GPA that you need to stay above. Sports may require a specific GPA, and other awards and bonuses will be given out according to your GPA. At graduation, different honors may also be assigned to you as well.

Your GPA (grade point average) can be calculated if you divide all earned grade points by the number of attempted credit hours. Your GPA may be ranging from 0.0 to 4.0.

For example:
A = 4.0 GPA
A- = 3.7 GPA 
B+ = 3.3 GPA
B = 3.0 GPA
B- = 2.7 GPA
C+ = 2.3 GPA 
C = 2.0 GPA
C- = 1.7 GPA
D+ = 1.3 GPA
D = 1.0 GPA
D- = 0.7 GPA

After you have completed college, your GPA (grade point average) can be used by employers to make a decision on hiring you. A strong GPA is showing you’ve been trying hard to get ahead, whereas a low GPA is demonstrating that you hardly did anything else that the minimally required. Graduate schools may require a good GPA, just like with your undergraduate application.

A general scale:

  • 3.7 – 4.0: Excellent
  • 3.3 – 3.6: Very good
  • 2.7 – 3.3: Average
  • 2.0 – 2.7: Below average
  • -2.0: Poor

This is a general rule of thumb, though what a “good” GPA is will inevitably vary based on a couple of important factors:

1. What is your major?

While every major is hard in its own way, some are definitely harder than others. If you’re a chemical engineering student, your course load is probably a bit heavier than a theater major. Usually, it’s more understandable to have a low GPA in tougher majors.

2. What do other students in your major have?

How you compare to other students is what makes a huge difference. You can have a 3.6, but if everyone around you has a 3.8, it won’t do much good. This, of course, will depend a lot on your major as well as how hard the typical classes are for those students. This will vary from school to school and major to major, you’ll have to ask around to get an idea where you stand.

3. What school do you go to?

A 3.8 at MIT says a whole lot more than a 3.8 at a community college. The more prestigious your university is, (generally) the more having a high GPA will help you out.

How do you calculate AP or Honors courses

When you take advanced placement (AP) or honors courses, generally grade points are weighted. For example, 1.0 (a whole point) will be added for AP courses, and .50 (a half point) will be added for Honors courses. A is equaling 4.50 (for an Honors class), or 5.00 (for an AP class). Schools may assign point value in different ways, do get in touch with your college to find out about their grading system. If you want to calculate your cumulative GPA you can take all credit hours and all grade points from every semester. Then divide the total amount of grade points by the number of credit hours.

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