Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

College Corner: What GPA does a student need to get into college?

JenniferBorensteinW

“Is my GPA good enough?” is a common refrain in my line of work. I wish it were easier to answer this question conclusively, but it depends.

College selectivity, intended major, rigor of high school course load — for example, did the student move up to higher levels such as calculus and AP physics — and competitiveness of other applicants affect what GPA is “good enough.” In a nutshell, here’s what you need to know.

How colleges assess GPA
There is inconsistency in how colleges assess GPA since there are different types of GPA that colleges consider. In general, the differences are due to the following:

1. Weighted vs. unweighted: Weighted GPA rewards students for taking accelerated classes by providing additional points for each honors/AP class taken. Some schools fully weight GPA whereas others like the UCs cap at eight the number of additional points awarded. An unweighted GPA contains no additional points for accelerated classes.

2. Which years count: University of California and California State University count grades earned only in 10th and 11th grades. Private colleges tend to count grades from ninth grade through fall of senior year.

3. Which courses count: Many colleges include grades from only core subjects, but there is variation in what is considered core. The UCs and CSUs count grades only from classes that satisfy a-g subject requirements.

Why are there differences in GPA calculations?
The reason for this maddening array of ways to calculate GPA is primarily because high schools do not use a uniform system to calculate and report grades — some include every class, some don’t use pluses and minuses, etc.

Additionally, grades from one high school are not necessarily comparable to grades from another. In order to compare apples to apples, many colleges actually recalculate students’ GPA based on their own college-specific guidelines … information not readily available to applicants. Also, to help provide context for GPA, colleges require high school counselors to submit a school profile that details, among other things, the school’s grading system and number of honors/AP classes offered.

The bottom line regarding GPA
Nowadays, most colleges and universities conduct a holistic or comprehensive review of both personal and academic achievement that encompasses grades along with test scores, extracurriculars, etc. However, transcripts are an integral part — if not the most important part — of a student’s application because they show a student’s determination, motivation and time-management skills over time. Studies show that high school grades used alone are the single best predictor of success at most colleges, although there are exceptions. (For more information, see http://cshe.berkeley.edu/publications/docs/ROPS.GEISER._SAT_6.12.07.pdf)

GPAs at various colleges
Most highly selective schools with single-digit acceptance rates have an average weighted GPA of more than 4.0. For example, 74 percent of Stanford’s 2013 freshman class had a 4.0 or better.

The UCs (and most public out-of-state schools) require a minimum GPA of 3.0 for eligibility, but applying with a 3.0 doesn’t guarantee admission. The CSUs use an eligibility index that combines high school GPA with standardized test scores. The lower the GPA, the higher the test scores required. (See the chart at https://secure.csumentor.edu/planning/high_school/cal_residents.asp.)

Community colleges do not consider GPA aside from requiring a high school diploma or its equivalent.

To be specific, here are some average high school GPAs for admitted students at different colleges/universities based on the most recent data available.

* UCs: Average weighted GPA varied from 4.18 at UC Berkeley to 4.01 at UC Santa Barbara to 3.84 at UC Santa Cruz (http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/files/uc-freshman-application-data.pdf).

* CSUs: Average weighted GPA of 3.96 at Cal Poly (http://admissions.calpoly.edu/prospective/profile.html);
to 3.76 at San Diego State University (http://arweb.sdsu.edu/es/admissions/facts.html).

* University of Oregon’s average unweighted GPA was 3.57 (http://admissions.uoregon.edu/profile.html).

* USC’s average unweighted GPA of admitted students was 3.82 (http://www.usc.edu/admission/undergraduate/apply/documents/FreshmanProfile2013FINAL.pdf).

Until next time
I feel compelled to apologize if all this talk of grades has “graded” on your nerves. Just remember that with about 2,300 four-year, not-for-profit higher education entities in the United States, there is a right college out there for you!

— Jennifer Borenstein is an independent college adviser in Davis and owner of The Right College For You. Her column is published on the last Tuesday of the month. She lives in Davis with her family. Reach her at jenniferborenstein@therightcollegeforyou.org, or visit www.therightcollegeforyou.org.

GPA mottos
In a nutshell, there is not always a clear-cut answer to the question about what GPA is good enough. The goal is to balance taking challenging courses with maintaining a solid GPA. What does this really mean?
1. Take classes that demonstrate the ability to handle increasing rigor.
2. Aim for an upward trend in grades.
3. A high GPA with a less challenging course pattern is not viewed as favorably as a mixed GPA with a more challenging course pattern.
4. Do not slack off senior year.
5. Explain on applications any grades that do not reflect your ability.
6. Keep in mind that it’s not just about GPA. Get involved, be yourself, try to enjoy high school.

Jennifer Borenstein

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

News

A springtime ritual

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Tom Adams seeks Davis school board seat

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

UCD admits record number; 4,284 from abroad

By Cory Golden | From Page: A1

 
Hub of activity: DHS newspaper keeps evolving

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Holy fire ceremony draws thousands in Jerusalem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Tour renovated YCCC facility Thursday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Tour Davis Waldorf School on Wednesday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

The fifth annual Tour de Cluck is soon to be hatched

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Ortiz lawn signs available

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sign up soon for spring cooking classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Robb Davis team to rally on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Steadfast in their support

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Yolo Hospice offers free grief workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sign up for Camp Kesem caterpillar crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Quilters gear up for annual show

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A4

KDVS launches fund drive on Monday

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

 
Calling all Scrabble fans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

League hosts a series of candidate forums

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Hub webpage is seeing traffic increasing

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A8

Birch Lane celebrates its 50th anniversary

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

 
Hotel/conference center info meeting set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

Lescroart welcomes all to book-launch party

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16 | Gallery

 
DEVO set to serve up 14th annual Winkler Dinner

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

Learn Chinese crafts at I-House

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A16

 
Preschool open house set at Davis Waldorf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

.

Forum

Take ownership of your health

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

 
Reliving the agony and ecstasy of spring

By Marion Franck | From Page: A7

 
Keep your baby safe

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Not thrilled with lack of symmetry

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Core values on campus

By Our View | From Page: A12

Road diet? No, city diet!

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12, 3 Comments

 
We’re reveling in our equality

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Vote no; it’s fiscally responsible

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

 
Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

 
Bill is an affront to UC Davis ag biotech and local farmers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13

Don’t want to sit in Fix 50 traffic? Consider alternatives

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Devils burn up the track

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD softball shut out by Santa Barbara

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men shoot 9-under, lead own tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Stars shine in Woody Wilson Classic

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie baseball swept away by Highlanders

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

A’s score 3 in ninth, rally past Astros 4-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

Yolo Federal Credit Union gets WISH funds

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
PG&E pays taxes, fees to county, cities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Will Davis get an Old Soul?

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A9

 
Pediatricians, nurse practitioner hired at Woodland Healthcare

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Asian stocks mostly higher after mixed U.S. earnings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Davis Roots will showcase its graduating startups

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14

University Honda wins another President’s Award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

 
Dutch Bros. raises $19,000 for girl with leukemia

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A14 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, April 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8