A 6 minute read

How to calculate GPA: Is it required to convert GPA on a 4.0 scale?

GPA(Grade point average) is one of the key components of the MBA application, and you are bound to come across the same while preparing your college application. The primary question that arises and is quite confusing at times is, how to calculate GPA on a 4.0 scale and is it required for you to convert GPA.

GPA is a standardized grading system that is widely followed by colleges and helps in calculating a student’s average grade over a period. US colleges commonly follow GPA on a 4.0 scale, and if you are planning to apply to colleges located there, you need to understand how to calculate your GPA and the relevance of the same.

How to calculate your GPA.

In this article, we will learn how to calculate GPA on a 4.0 scale and whether it is required for you to convert your grades to the same. This article will cover the following questions:

What is the GPA?

There are various types of the grading system followed depending upon your country and college, such as numbering system, percentage system or letter – grade system. GPA is a type of grading system followed in the US.

In simple words, Grade point average (GPA), tells you how well you have scored in your course on an average as compared to other students. It is usually on a scale between 0 to 4.0 and showcases if your grades have been high or low as compared to your class.  GPA is calculated over a period, i.e., first semester/term.

Another popular term that you will come across is CGPA which stands for “Cumulative Grade Point Average.” It helps in calculating the overall average performance of a student throughout their academic program.

Before moving on to how to calculate GPA, let us understand the relevance of the same.

Read about the Importance of GPA in MBA admissions. 

What is the relevance of converting GPA on a 4.0 scale?

Since US colleges follow a 4.0 GPA grading system and if you are applying to any of the colleges there, you will come across GPA on a 4.0 scale a lot of times. Also, GPA on a 4.0 scale has become the standard grading scale at most of the colleges to help them to compare applicants objectively.

GPA helps in comparing applicants that belong to the same pool. So if you belong to an over-represented applicant pool, e.g., Indian engineers, etc., then GPA helps in comparing within your pool.

NOTE: You cannot compare 2 applicant from different pools directly even if they have grades on a 4.0 scale.

For Instance,

Imagine two applicants (same pool of applicants) and are from two different countries and have different grading systems.

 

GPA-calculation-MBA

Immediately the question arises: How will the admissions committee compare these two applicants?

This is where a standardized GPA on 4.0 scale comes into the picture!

As the grading system of both the applicants is different, comparing the grades of the above two applicants is challenging. There is no common factor to compare their grades. Thus, having a standardized grading system helps the admission committee to examine each applicant on the same level rather than comparing different types of grades.

How to calculate GPA on a 4.0 scale?

As discussed earlier, depending on your college, you will be following a particular grading system, i.e., numbering system, percentage system, or letter-grade system. No matter which grading system your college supports, they have a corresponding credit point against the grades.

A credit point is mostly on a scale between 0 and 4 or is a multiple of 4. Thus, the highest grade that you score whether it’s an A or 100% or 10 points, it will be equal to the highest number on the scale, i.e., 4.

For instance,

For the A-F grading scale, in one semester, you had three modules, and you scored:

  1. Business development: A, which is equal to 4.0 on a GPA scale
  2. Economics: B +, which is equal to 3.33 on a GPA scale
  3. Statistics: C, which is equal to 2.0 on a GPA scale

NOTE: Here are the points allocated to each grade by Columbia University. This is only applicable to schools that use the standard A-F grading scale.

Grades Numeric equivalent
A+ 4.33
A 4
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2
C- 1.67
D+ 1.33
D 1
D- 0.67
F 0

 

Convert-GPA-4.0-scale

 

Now, your credits points for the above modules are 3 for business development, 3 for economics, and 2 for statistics. If we multiply the grades with the credit score, we will get:

  1. Business development: 12 (3×4)
  2. Economics: 9.99 (3×3.33)
  3. Statistics: 4 (2×2)

Calculate-GPA-example1

After which to calculate your average GPA, we will divide the total grade points by the total number of credits (3+3+2=8), giving us a 3.24 GPA.  

Convert percentage to GPA on a 4.0 scale: For Indian students

In India, most of the colleges have a percentage grading system which is out of 100%. Calculating GPA from percentage is simple as 100% is nothing but 100 points. Thus, 25 point in percentage is equivalent to 1 point in GPA System. To convert the percentage to GPA, use the below formula:

convert-percentage-to-GPA-4.0

For Instance,

If you scored 85%, then your GPA will be (85/100) *4 = 3.4

NOTE: The above instances are the general ways to calculate and are not official. Each university has its own way of calculating GPA. Once you enter a rough value of GPA in college application, they will calculate the same based on your scores in the transcripts.  

 

Do colleges ask you to convert your GPA on a 4.0 scale?

No, most of the colleges do not ask you to convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale. Even if they do, they will provide you with the steps towards converting your GPA, or they will ask you to roughly calculate it and submit the score with all your transcripts.

All you need to do is mention your grades, followed by your undergraduate university and provide all the transcripts. After which, the admission committee will take care of it.

Convert-GPA-to-4.0-scale

For Instance,

Here are few of the examples of business schools and their requirement towards converting GPA on a 4.0 scale:

  • Harvard University Director has mentioned in one of his posts saying that only your unofficial transcript (without converting or translating anything) needs to be submitted. They look through your classes, major(s), grades, and your journey through your degree(s).
  • Stanford Business School has asked the applicants to follow a few guidelines and calculate their GPA, without converting their college/university’s scale. They want you to calculate your GPA to the best of your ability, even if your institution does not list it on your transcripts.  
  • The Wharton School wants you to self- report your grades/marks and provides you with a template to do so. 
  • Yale School of Management has mentioned that you need to report the GPA exactly as it appears on your transcript, maintaining the GPA scale used by your institution. If your college does not provide a GPA on your transcripts, then you need to leave those boxes blank in the form. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are various types of the grading scale, i.e., percentage, grade point, letter grade, etc
  • GPA is a standardized grading system that is being followed by many business schools
  • GPA on a 4.0 scale helps the admission committee in measuring applicants on a standard scale
  • There is no need to convert your grades to a 4.0 scale unless the college you applying to mentions it
  • Most of the colleges do not ask you to convert your grades to a 4.0 GPA scale, and if they do, they will provide you with steps to do so

People who read this article also read

Let's discuss further - What's your take?