How can I improve my college applications

Two GPA’s: Weighted and Unweighted

Some applications, like the Common App, give you a choice between putting a weighted or an unweighted GPA on your application. Unweighted GPAs don’t take the difficulty of the courses you take into consideration, whereas weighted GPAs do.


In other words, with an unweighted GPA, earning an A in an Honors’ class counts for the same amount of GPA points as an A in an on-level course. With a weighted GPA, the A in the honor’s class would be ranked with slightly higher GPA points for that class.


If you have the option to put an unweighted or a weighted GPA on your college application, you can really put either one. One is not better than the other. The only rule of thumb is to report the GPA that is higher and that makes you look like a better student. As long as you report the higher GPA accurately and make sure that you label it as the correct type of GPA (weighted vs. unweighted), you’re good to go.


A Note About GPA’s In The College Application Process

It’s important to not stress out about reporting your GPA on your college applications. Even if your GPA is lower than you would want, all you have to do is report it accurately and move on to other parts of your application.


It’s also important to note that while you should report your GPA accurately, it won’t be the number that colleges ultimately consider. Most colleges re-weight student’s GPAs based on their own internal grading scale which assigns more or fewer points depending on the types of classes that you took (academic/non-academic, advanced vs. on-level, etc).


Lastly, you need to make sure that you send in the latest and most accurate version of your high school transcript along with your GPA and the rest of your application. This way, colleges can look at your reported GPA in context of what classes you were taking and what classes were available to you. Especially if you took a lot of advanced courses, your transcript can often help you in the college admissions process.



When you’re filling out the Common Application, you need to make sure to report your academic information as accurately as possible, including your high school GPA. Misreporting your GPA in any way could seriously jeopardize your chances of acceptance to the colleges that you are applying to. Whether your GPA be weighted or unweighted, as long as you report it correctly on a 4.0 scale, you should be fine.


Have some more questions about the college application process? Perhaps these previous blog posts can help:


How Your Teen’s Personality Type Factors Into College Admissions

What Looks Good On A College Application?

Don’t Miss These College Application Deadlines

How Can I Make My College Applications Stand Out?


Need help with college applications? Check out CollegeVine’s College Application Guidance Program, where you and your student will work with your very own Applications Consultant and receive the guidance you and your student need to succeed in the admissions process. We’ve helped over 6,000students and parents navigate the college admissions process, so we know what it takes to put together a successful application while making the process less stressful.