Studying in the USA is a dream for many. One of the most confusing aspects of applying to a university in the USA is the Grade Point Average. From the metric system to the system for evaluation of academic ability, the USA does it all differently. One of the major reasons for struggling with the concept of Grade Point Average is that it is not necessarily calculated the same way across different educational institutions even in the US. Grade Point Average translation may come across as intimidating for Indian students, since they are widely used to the idea of percentage for determining a student’s educational achievements.

What is Grade Point Average?

Grade Point Average or GPA is the established way of evaluating a person’s academic achievements or progress in the US. It is the average value of all the grades achieved by a student during a course.  It is often estimated with respect to the number of credits that a student has completed during a course.

To simplify it further, when a student gets admitted to a school or college in the US, he or she has to choose subjects, which come with pre-assigned credits. These credits are determined on the basis of various factors like course load and duration taken to complete the particular course.

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Once a subject is selected, the student is awarded grades for his or her performance, which at the end of the course, is converted into points. A 4-point grade system is followed in the US. The highest grade, A, is equal to 4, B is equal to 3, C is equal to 2, D is equal to 1 and E is equal to 0.

Grade Point
A 4
B 3
C 2
D 1
E 0

So, what exactly happens when a student gets a B+ or an A-? There is a stipulated way of calculating this too, in order to evaluate the educational abilities precisely. An additional 0.33 is added in case a grade is followed by a plus sign and, 0.33 is subtracted in case a grade is followed by a minus sign.

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How to Calculate GPA?

Calculation of the Grade Point Average is based on a simple formula. Let’s take up an example for a clearer understanding.

Suppose a student has three subjects – Chemistry, Physics and English. Chemistry has 2 credits; Physics has 2 credits and English has 3 credits. The student has got Grade C for Chemistry, Grade A for physics and Grade B for English. Multiplying the grades with the number of each credit we get, 21. In order to calculate the average, the 21 grade points have to be divided by the total number of credits that is 7. So, the student has a Grade Point Average of 3.

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How GPA Affects Admission to US Universities?

Not all universities in the USA have specific Grade Point Average requirements, but most 4 year courses and universities with less than 60% acceptance rate have minimum prerequisites.

Even then, the criteria of some universities are more loosely structured than strict limitations. These are better used as a reference to increase the chances of acceptance at the desired university. Public Universities tend to have minimum Grade Point Average requirements which vary from 2.0 to 2.5 depending on the university.

However, some universities having GPA requirements still enroll students having less than minimum GPA, if their SAT score is exceptionally good or if the applicant has achieved something significant in the field he or she is interested in pursuing.

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To sum up, Grade Point Average is the standard method of evaluating academic achievement and abilities in the US. It is definitely considered for admission to universities, but there is no hard and fast rule regarding it.

Reach out to SIEC for SOP Guidance, and Assistance.

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