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Why your GPA matters, starting NOW

Your GPA is the average of all your semester report card grades for the courses you take in high school.

Although you won’t really need your GPA until you apply to college, it represents the work you do and the grades you receive starting in ninth grade.

Because it’s an average, every grade has an impact.

And because it’s an average, the more grades you’ve already earned, the harder it is to make dramatic changes in your GPA.  Once you hit your junior and senior years, usually more than half the grades for your final GPA have already been “baked into” the calculations. 

So, it’s important to do your best starting in ninth grade, and make every grade count!

Learn all the facts about your GPA: 

  • GPA = Grade Point Average, an average of your grades across all of the classes that you take
  • A basic GPA is calculated on a 4-point scale.
    • 90-100 = 4 points
    • 80-89=3 points
    • 75-79=2 points
    • 70-74= 1 point
  • In HISD, only courses taken in high school count for your GPA
  • In HISD, both “weighted” and “unweighted” GPAs are calculated
  • A weighted GPA adds weight to courses considered to be more rigorous, such as AP, Pre-AP, IB, Pre-IB, and Dual Credit courses. When a weighted GPA is calculated, grades in some courses get “extra” points as follows: A grade of 90-100=5 points, 80-89=4 points, 75-79=3 points and 70-74=2 points. The denominator is still calculated as if the max number of points for each course is 4, so a person with weighted grades can have a GPA above 4.0.
  • The preliminary GPA, which is often important for scholarships, is calculated in June of your junior year. The final GPA, which is important for college admissions as well as scholarships, is calculated in October of the senior year.
  • Ninth and tenth grade matter a LOT!
  • It takes 26 credits to graduate at the Distinguished Level of Achievement in HISD. Typically that means that you take 52 ½ credit courses. So, if you have mostly low grades, it will be hard to bump up your GPA at the last minute. Being consistent is really important.
  • Taking tough classes can help you out – especially early on in your school career. Don’t shy away from Pre-AP, AP, etc.
  • It’s important to know, too, though that colleges typically recalculate GPA on an unweighted scale. So don’t just coast with a B in a weighted class when you could have worked toward an A, because that B may be recalculated to a C by a college admissions office.