The Weight of a Good GPA

The Weight of a Good GPA

Course Selections are coming up, and students are making lots of decisions on what regular, honors, and AP classes they are going to take. Students who don’t know for sure what college they want to go to and instead apply to many may be faced with an issue deciding what classes to take because of how colleges change GPAs.

Colleges also look at the scores students get on the ACT and the SAT. Both tests are commonly accepted in colleges, and they also both require lots of preparation. Hours are spent at classes for preparation and just studying before these tests so students get into the college they want, However, sometimes the colleges students end up going to don’t use the scores.

Colleges currently use either both of the general admissions exams or they use neither. Over 900 colleges don’t use the SAT or ACT scores and are called “test-optional” colleges.

“The standardized tests like that and what people score on them are what people mostly choose their colleges on,” junior Maggie Mrowka said. “They determine where you’re accepted.”

According to an article published by Peterson’s Data Collection in Feb. of 2016, 78 percent of schools consider standardized test scores to be an important factor, but they will also look at essays and earlier transcripts from the students.

“The way it used to be is that colleges on the west coast would focus more on the ACT and east coast would focus on the SAT,”career Center Specialist Judy Edwards said. “But that’s long over.”

At LB, a weighted GPA can go up to 5.00 because LB gives a .5 boost for each honors class and a 1.00 boost for each AP class. An unweighted GPA only goes up to 4.00.

“When colleges don’t use weighted GPAs, it can really mess students up,” Mrowka said. “I take my honors classes and AP and everything so I can get the boost, but some really good colleges don’t even look at the boost.”

While Mrowka said she thinks colleges recalculating GPAs makes it unfair for students, Edwards said she thinks it makes it even more fair.

“What colleges do is they look at your grades and your classes and recalculate it,” Edwards said. “They put everyone on an even playing field.”

When colleges recalculate GPAs, they usually do it with the goal of making it more equal for all the applicants, but it doesn’t always work out because the students don’t realize the boost their high school gives them isn’t the one colleges will look at.

“I choose my classes for the boost Lake Braddock gives me,” Mrowka said. “I don’t look for what colleges make them into.”

Senior Peyton Glaze said he did understand why colleges change GPAs.

“Every school system has their own GPA system,” Glaze said. “So some students might have different GPAs for different performance levels.”