Last Updated: July 14, 2021

GPA-Grade Point Average

GPA, or the Grade Point Average is a system of judging a student’s performance in academics, especially in the US. The GPA system, though typical to the US, is also used in other countries, though the factors like curriculum, grading system, grade points relating to the system are different. While for candidates studying within the US it is just necessary to procure their transcripts before applying for higher studies, international candidates will have to convert their grades into the standard grading system of the US called the GPA.

What is GPA?

The GPA can be called an average score based on the candidate’s performance in every semester by focusing on the weightage of each subject and the grade that the student achieves in each of them. It is a system used in secondary schools, undergraduate, postgraduate, and sometimes even in doctoral programs when it comes to the coursework involved before research. This grade point average is taken into consideration while providing candidates with admission for higher studies, in determining their academic honors and even by employers who wish to hire them since it provides a clear picture of the candidate’s skill and expertise in the field.


The calculation of GPA is dependent upon the courses the candidate takes in a university, and the number of credits each course is assigned. The courses will generally have a credit score ranging from 2-4 where courses with a credit score of 4 will be considered a major and will refer to courses that have 4 hours and 3 or above assignments every week. The total number of hours attended by the candidate is multiplied by their grade equivalent to get a grade point that is further divided by the total number of credits taken by the candidate in the semester to get their GPA.

The general requirement of degree courses will be for the candidate to have a specific number of credits per semester in order to graduate in the subject. The GPA reflects the number of hours the candidate has taken in the subject along with their grade equivalent, all of them contributing to the grade point average that can assess the excellence of the candidate in the subject.

Importance of a GPA

The GPA is a grading system used to measure the performance of a candidate throughout their degree. This system enables institutions to understand where the candidate stands, according to their performance, in the courses they have taken. While their grade points in every subject or course do matter if they are pursuing higher studies, the overall assessment about the candidate along with their performance throughout the degree can be understood through their GPA.

Admission Officers often go through the initial filtration process of applications by the GPA of the candidates who have applied along with their TOEFL/IELTS, GRE scores. Having a high GPA implies that the candidate has been able to maintain their score throughout their course of study. The GPA, therefore, provides an accurate assessment of the candidate’s performance in the degree better than a degree certificate that states whether the candidate has passed or failed.

A GPA is required by candidates while applying for different causes during their educational and professional lives. It is generally a part of the eligibility requirement for being a part of different organizations and clubs within the college and even for scholarship applications. It is also required by candidates to have a high GPA if they are applying for master’s programs and doctoral programs.

Calculating the GPA

The grading system in the US is done on a scale ranging from 0-4 where 4 corresponds to an A and 0 corresponds to F. In the US, the total number of credits or hours of the course the candidate has taken is multiplied by the grade equivalent(i.e. 4 if the candidate received an A) that the candidate got in the subject to get the grade point. This grade point is then divided by the total number of units the candidate has taken in the semester to get the GPA. The grade equivalents of each grade the candidate can receive in a course and their corresponding percentage equivalent is as follows.
Grade PointsGradeEquivalent
4A90-100%
3B80-89%
2C70-79%
1D60-69%
0F<60%

While the above-mentioned grades are the most definite parts of the grading pattern, there are grades and their equivalents that lie between these grades. These grades are-
GradeGrade Point
A4.00
A-3.67
B+3.33
B 3.00
B-2.67
C+2.33
C2.00
C-1.67
D+1.33
D1.00
D-0.67
F0.00

Grading Systems Around the World

The grading systems for academic excellence are different in different countries. The most commonly used systems include the calculation of percentages, GPAs, and even CGPAs. Candidates can receive both grades in the form of alphabets or numbers ranging from A to F or 1 to 6 respectively. While the evaluation methods vary from country to country and even institution to institution, there are international standards that have been set in place for comparing the grading systems from different parts of the world.

The calculation of a GPA remains similar in most institutions but at the same time, their scale can range from 0-4 like in the US to 0-10 in other countries or even 0-5. In such cases, it is important for candidates to convert their GPA from the scale it is into the scale used in the country they are applying to.

Converting GPA to the US Scale

Due to the inherent difference in the systems of evaluation across institutions in the world, some universities may ask for a detailed method of evaluation of the scores with their scales. In such cases, it is important to consult the Registrar or the controller of the examination of the University the candidate has studied in for an official evaluation to be included along with the transcripts. It is recommended that candidates send their rank certificate/official average score of class/toppers grades etc. to ease the difference between GPA and the system they have been part of.

Candidates who wish to convert their GPA into the US equivalent will be able to do so by following the links.

Sending GPA Score to Universities

GPA is one of the most important factors to get admission to a good college. A higher GPA with an above-average GRE/SAT score can get candidates into the top 50 colleges. Having a class rank can get the candidate in one of the top 20 colleges in the country. GPA is a clear indication of one’s academic record proving that the candidate has the ability to perform well in academics. This is also true since examinations like the GRE and SAT/ACT does not assess one’s academic skills though it is often assumed that candidates who score high in GRE or SAT will also have a high GPA. For Undergraduate students, the courses they have taken, their GPA, and class rank along with SAT/ACT scores are quite important.

Most universities have a minimum Undergraduate GPA requirement of at least 3/4 for admission to a graduate program. The minimum requirement for PhD. is much more than 3/4. But evaluation of GPA might vary for international students. Also, the GPA is not the only criterion for admission. Candidates with a low GPA will also be able to enter good universities as long as other parts of their college application remain top-notch.


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