What is a GPA?

What is a GPA?
Schools and Universities

What is a GPA?


The admission procedure for higher education in India can be quite a tedious and complex process with a multitude of paperwork. Thankfully, if you intend to pursue higher education in the US, the processes are all online and quite simple. However, some of the terms that are used in the American education system can confuse the Indian students. For example, most students in India are clueless when they encounter the word- GPA. This is not unusual, as one does not usually encounter the word GPA in the Indian system. However, GPA happens to be a fundamental measure of student performance in the US system.

GPA stands for Grade Point Average. This measure is important for admission committees while taking a decision on the candidate. The Grade Point Average is an indicator of the student’s performance over the years and is a measure of his or her consistency and motivation levels. The GPA is an average of the overall grades earned in school. It is a simple point system, where the students’ scores in each class are added up; and the addition is then divided by the total number of classes taken.

The point system is roughly mandated like this:

A grade – 90% or higher – is worth 4 points

B grade – 80%-89% – is worth 3 points

C grade – 70%-79% – is worth 2 points

D grade – 60%-69% – is worth 1 point

F grade – 59% or lower – fail

So, to determine the GPA, out of this measure, a student has to take the score achieved in each class and add them up, then divide the total by the number of classes taken.

 For example, if you have taken four classes this semester and you received an A, two B’s and a C. The calculation goes like this:

A = 4 points

Two B’s = 6 points

C = 2 points

The grand total is 12 points.

The GPA, therefore, is 12 divided by 4 (number of classes taken). That comes to 3. This means the students GPA is 3.0

Students from countries who don’t use the GPA system, like India, and who apply to US schools must convert their scores and grades into the GPA measure while applying. For many Indian students, converting their percentage to the grading system of US is perplexing. A short guide to understanding GPA scores are listed here to make your job easier.

 If you are among the top 5% of your class, your approximate GPA would be 3.85 to 4.0.


Percentile                    (Approx.) GPA

6% to 15%                    3.7 to 3.84

16% to 25%                  3.55 to 3.69

26% to 35%                  3.4 to 3.54

36% to 45%                  3.25 to 3.39

46% to 55%                  3.1 to 3.24

56% to 65%                  3.0 to 3.09

65% to 80%                  2.8 to 2.99

80% to 90%                  2.59 to 2.79

90% to 100%                Below 2.59

Please note that the above measures are approximate and not an exact representation. To be sure about your GPA, you can cross verify with the administrative offices of the US Universities as most of them provide assistance in converting a student’s grading system to the one applicable to their schools.

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