This is a great question and one that parents often ask. So, what’s the best way to present your teen’s GPA on their homeschool transcript?
GPA stands for Grade Point Average, and it is a number used to precisely represent your teen’s overall high school grades. Typically, an A is worth 4 points, a B worth 3, a C worth 2 and a D worth 1. An F or Withdrawal wouldn’t award any points. In this system, all grades are equally weighted. In other words, an A in art or history is worth the same weight as an A in a course taken at the college or for Advanced Placement credit.
With the option to earn college credit or take other “harder” classes, some parents opt to bump their teen’s “harder” classes up to a 5 point scale. In this case, an A would be worth 5 points, and so on. These courses get a boost because they are more rigorous than a “typical” high school course.
In the early days of weighted GPA, the intent was to show that a student with a B in a harder class worked just as hard or harder than a teen with an A in an easy class. The idea was to level the playing field. It wasn’t very long before students could graduate with a GPA higher than 4.0
Should we weight the GPA on our transcript?
In the Homeschooling for College Credit community, our families earn a lot of college credit, so whether or not to weight the GPA is a common question. Deciding to weight the GPA certainly involves a bit more math, but here are some common scenarios you might encounter and my suggestion for navigating them.
- Selective college: selective colleges typically have applicants who take a heavy and rigorous academic load (many AP or college classes). You will want to provide weighted and unweighted on the high school transcript.
- Common App (about 900 colleges use this): the Common App asks for weighted GPA. Calculate weighted for the application and provide both weighted and unweighted on the high school transcript.
- Community college: unweighted GPA on the high school transcript.
- Associate Degree in high school: unweighted GPA on the high school transcript. In the event that your teen applies to a 4-year college, their college GPA is more important. Unweighted on the high school transcript or both.
- Mixed: If some target colleges ask for weighted while others want unweighted simply calculate both for your high school transcript.
- Open enrollment colleges: everyone that meets the criteria is permitted to enroll. Unweighted GPA for the high school transcript.
- Big 3: (Thomas Edison State University, Charter Oak State College, Excelsior College) unweighted GPA on the high school transcript.
Which classes merit a higher GPA?
As a homeschooling parent, the decision to award 4.0 points or higher is up to you, but there are some guidelines that are typically followed by most schools in the country. If you’re choosing an unweighted GPA, then EVERY CLASS is worth 4.0. Only parents who choose to weight the GPA would follow these recommendations below:
- Regular high school class: 4.0 scale
- Remedial high school class: 4.0 scale
- Honors high school class: 4.5 scale
- Advanced Placement (official only) high school class: 5.0 scale
- Advanced Placement (unofficial course- call it honors): 4.5 scale
- High school subject where you took a CLEP exam (call it honors): 4.5 scale
- College course where a letter grade was awarded: 5.0 scale
- College level course taken for pass/fail credit: 4.0 scale
For more help and guidance building your teen’s high school transcript, check out our Transcript Resource Page.