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What is a GPA & Why Does it Matter?

by Sam Petty

GPA stands for Grade Point Average. When you get your report card every six weeks, you can average your grades together to see how you’re doing in high school overall. In the United States, we use a scale from 1.0 to 4.0, with a 4.0 as the highest. GPA is a significant measure of academic success, and is a big factor in college admissions, scholarship eligibility and more. For the 4.0 scale, an A equals 4.0 and an F is 0. Grading scales can also be weighted, adding additional points for Advanced Placement or honors courses. This is why GPAs can often be higher than a 4.0 scale, but make sure to check the university admission requirements. Some universities will only look at the unweighted GPA.

A GPA will go up or down throughout your school year, depending on how well you did in your classes. It is important to check your GPA throughout the year! If you are a student in Fort Worth ISD, you can check your GPA on FocusOften, schools will use your GPA to determine your class rank, which compares your grades to the rest of your graduating class. The two students who have the highest GPA will earn recognitions as the valedictorian and salutatorian. In 1997, Texas lawmakers signed a law commonly referred to the “Top 10% Rule”. The law guarantees Texas students who graduated in the top ten percent of their high school class automatic admission to all state-funded universities. If you’re worried about your GPA, admissions counselors also consider your standardized test scores and commitment to community involvement when reviewing an application.

Preparing for the ACT or SAT by studying can increase your exam score. Exam prep materials, like books, are often available at the public library or your school might offer test preparation courses. Participating in extracurriculars and clubs is a great way to get involved in the community, and will often lead to volunteer opportunities as well.When applying to a postsecondary program, it is often important to check the admission requirements. Some schools, such as the University of North Texas, guarantee automatic admission for students that have a specific cumulative unweighted high school GPA. Other universities, such as Texas Christian University or Texas Woman’s University, will give a minimum GPA for incoming freshman. Certain scholarships also have minimum thresholds for GPA requirements. Check out the admission requirements for our partner schools to learn more!

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