February 25, 2020

Do You Really Want a Weighted GPA?

What it would mean for you, your grades, and your future

Eden Burnett, 12

When I was a sophomore and started taking AP classes, I heard about this thing called weighted GPA. Essentially what that means is that when you receive your GPA, the level of the classes you take are also put into account. This means that get over a 4.0, it sounds exciting but what does that really mean? Any AP, honors, or enriched class would have more of an effect on your overall GPA than a regular class. 

If you’ve ever taken an AP class you’ve probably heard your teacher say that a college would rather see a B in an AP class that an A in the regular class. But let’s back up for a moment. Most colleges don’t accept weighted GPAs so if you use it in high school what is that really going to count for? I don’t know, maybe a few honors at graduation? I mean at this point it’s really only the score you receive on the AP test that colleges really care about since that’s where you actually have the chance to get credit for classes.  

So if you aren’t really getting the benefit of a weighted GPA on your college application, what good would it do? Having weighted GPAs would mean that when it comes to the class rankings the effort each student puts into their classes is accounted for. In an unweighted system a student might have a 4.0 but only be taking the bare minimum of classes and never taken an AP or enriched class. Why should they get to be a valedictorian when others have taken multiple college level classes and work hard but still end up with a 3.5? 

With unweighted GPAs students don’t feel the pressure to take classes that they might not be ready for or maybe just don’t have the drive to take. The looming of the AP tests come May are also a deterrent. Why should students be punished for not taking these classes? Unweighted GPAs allow students who are taking more elective classes that will flow into their desired workforce don’t have to worry about making sure they take an AP history class when they’re planning on going into the arts or engineering, in other words, a field where that won’t be as desirable. 

While some students might argue that weighted GPAs are the way to go, there really is no benefit in the long run. Staying focused and taking courses at the level you are at is where you learn the most.

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