Difference Between Weighted GPA and Unweighted GPA (With Table)

GPA is one of the most important factors that colleges take into consideration while confirming your admission. However, different high schools have different methods of calculating the GPA of a student. Some high schools use weighted GPA for assessment, while some others use unweighted GPA for the assessment of your marks.

Weighted GPA vs Unweighted GPA

The difference between Weighted and unweighted GPA is that weighted GPA considers the difficulty of your coursework while calculating your final score, while unweighted GPA is calculated without considering the difficulty of the coursework. Unweighted GPA is calculated on a scale of 0 to 4while Weighted GPA is calculated on the scale of 0 to 5.

Weighted GPA takes into account the different courses available at different academic levels. Weighted GPA considers the difficulty level of your classes into consideration while calculating your final score, which means that if you opt for a more difficult subject as a choice, your GPA will be higher than the others. Weighted GPA ranges between 0 to 5.0.

Unweighted GPA is one of the most common methods of measuring academic performance and is preferred by most high schools. Unweighted GPA ranges between 0 to 4 and does not consider the difficulty of your course while calculating. This is the main reason behind the fact that while providing admission to a Student, a college double-checks with the high school to get an accurate picture of the students’ academic performance.

Comparison Table Between Weighted GPA and Unweighted GPA

Parameters of ComparisonWeighted GPAUnweighted GPA
DefinitionWeighted GPA considers the difficulty level of your classes into consideration while calculating your final score which means that if you opt for a more difficult subject as a choice your GPA will be higher than the others. Unweighted GPA is one of the most common methods of measuring academic performance and is preferred by most high schools. Unweighted GPA does not consider the difficulty of your course while calculating final GPA.
PopularityLessMore
UseCompetitive institutionsNon-competitive institutions
CalculationComplex calculation procedureEasy calculation
Scale0 to 50 to 4
Admission PreferenceGiven more preferenceGiven less preference
AccuracyMore accurateLess accurate
AgeRecent methodTraditional method

What is Weighted GPA?

Weighted GPA ranges between 0 to 5 and takes into account the different courses available at different academic levels. Weighted GPA considers the difficulty level of your classes into consideration while calculating your final score, which means that if you opt for a more difficult subject as a choice, your GPA will be higher than the others.

A weighted GPA plays a crucial role in the application process of a college. Although the unweighted GPA scale is used more widely, weighted GPA is better. Even if you score a 4.0 weighted GPA, you may still be a weak student in the eyes of the college management because your GPA may be based on the fact that you scored all As in the lowest learning classes. However, someone who scored all Bs in the highest level classes may be considered superior to you as he took more academic challenges during his/ her high school.

A weighted GPA motivates you to take up more difficult subjects as a choice without the fear of getting a low GPA. If you score better in a subject that is ranked higher on the difficulty scale, your weighted GPA would be better, which will, in turn, have a great impact on the college that you are planning to take admission in.

What is Unweighted GPA?

Unweighted GPA is one of the most common methods of measuring academic performance and is preferred by most high schools. Unweighted GPA ranges between 0 to 4 and does not consider the difficulty of your course while calculating. This is the main reason behind the fact that while providing admission to a Student, a college double-checks with the high school to get an accurate picture of the student’s academic performance.

Although an unweighted GPA is a more common method of grade allotment, many colleges may not be very happy even if you score a 4 unweighted GPA in Low-level courses. If your high school allots grades according to the unweighted GPA, you must still try to go for a little difficult course because that is how you may increase your chances of securing admission to a good college.

If you opt for slightly difficult subjects, your rank and GPA may be lower than most people in your high school, but that should not be a cause of worry for you.

When you seek admission in a college, they not only focus on a high GPA but also on the subjects you chose to reach that GPA. That’s where you can earn extra brownie points for being academically challenging.

Main Differences Between Weighted GPA and Unweighted GPA

  1. Weighted GPA considers the difficulty of your course while calculation of your final GPA while unweighted GPA does not.
  2. Weighted GPA ranges between 0 to 5, whereas unweighted GPA ranges between 0 to 4.
  3. Calculating weighted GPA involves more complicated steps as compared to the unweighted GPA.
  4. While seeking admission in a college, students from high schools with a weighted GPA system are given preference over those from high schools with an unweighted GPA system.
  5. Weighted GPA is a more recent method developed for calculating students’ scores, taking into consideration the difficulty of the courses that they opt for.

Conclusion

Weighted GPA and Unweighted GPA are the methods used by various colleges for grading and ranking the students according to their academic performance as well as the subjects that they chose. Weighted GPA is a better and preferred method for grading a student as it considers the difficulty of the subject opted by the student while allocating marks and grades and is hence given priority over those having grades on an unweighted GPA system.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/019263659107553716
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0192636514565171
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