Students have a polarizing view of how important a GPA is for their education and career. Some might consider it as their holy grail, while others perceive it as another measure for comparison with no impactful outcome. However, while there may be other factors to consider when evaluating a student, the GPA is the most commonly used and holds significant importance for good education and career prospects. Without further ado, let’s talk about what a GPA is and why it is important for you:
GPA (Grade Point Average), is a universal benchmark for determining an individual’s academic performance throughout their degree. Its calculation is pretty straightforward: take the accumulated GPA of all the courses you have studied and divide them by the number of courses and voila, you have your GPA. GPA is measured either by course or by their cumulative total, known as CGPA. The scale of GPA varies – high schools might have a scale of 6, 8, or 12, but usually, the common scale for calculating GPA is out of 4.
If anyone finds an absolute answer to this, we want to be the first ones to know. It is no secret that a good GPA goes a long way in increasing your odds of admission to the top colleges and universities and, well, it looks good on your resume. To better understand what a good GPA might be, one has to look at it from several perspectives. Let’s understand from a college’s point of view. Every college has different requirement criteria to fulfill for admission, although the top ones will want their applicants to have an exceptional GPA. Now, let’s switch over to the student’s perspective.
As mentioned, GPA is the benchmark for assessing your academic achievements. It is considered to be an indicator of a student’s intellectual ability as well as their will to put an effort into their education. Institutions look toward the GPA to understand what kind of an individual you are – hardworking or lazy, ambitious or idle – a good GPA will make employers and committees more interested. You need to give proof of your GPA, not just when you start your professional life, but more so when you’re pursuing your bachelor’s or master’s degree. Joining a club, partaking in extracurricular activities, or applying for a scholarship all require your GPA to be at a certain level for eligibility.
You’re probably thinking we’re going to say the harder you study, the better your GPA. Well, close enough, but add the word smarter.
Your initial semesters provide the foundation for a good GPA. Working diligently in your freshman and sophomore years will increase your odds of admission to honors courses, which have a greater weightage on your GPA
Set your own goals for a good GPA. It can be very subjective when it comes to asking the question “what is a good GPA?” you need to understand your capabilities and aim for the GPA you think is good enough for you to be successful in the latter stages of your education and your career.
Strategize how you will study for courses. This will help you determine what to study and how much time to spend studying. Let’s face it, working hard doesn’t mean you will study 18 hours a day (if you do it, enjoy a free therapy session on our dime).
We shouldn’t have to say this but attend your classes regularly. No matter how smart you are, if you miss out on the lectures, there is a high chance your GPA will take a nosedive quicker than you can shed a tear over it.
Here comes the real purpose of having a good GPA. The top institutes are very particular in who they admit, and GPA is one of the main reasons. We’ve established the connection between a good GPA and other academic achievement opportunities. To get into the top colleges and universities, you typically need a GPA of 3.5 to 4.0 (on a scale of 4). For a lot of international students, their high schools may not have a GPA system, but there is an easy way to convert your grade or percentage into GPA. Here’s how:
Suppose you have taken the IGSCE exams, which is a British system. To convert it into the American system, you need to know the values that the grades hold. The American system can be related to the British grades as follows:
The next step is simple: convert your grades to GPA and calculate your CGPA for however many subjects you have taken. For instance, if you took 6 subjects and got 3A*s 1A 2Bs, your CGPA will be:
You can also find various GPA calculators online if you need help with converting your system’s performance metrics to a standardized GPA scale of 4.
Since both are a measure of your academic performance, they are bound to be correlated. GPA can be measured for a single subject or semester, whereas CGPA is the cumulative average of all the courses you have studied throughout the degree. For your CGPA to be high, your GPA needs to be high in the first place, hence the correlation. The slight differences between the two are listed in the table:
Both GPA and CGPA are important to distinguish students and their intellectual ability. While it may seem like a mere number, its real value is far greater and a good GPA can take you places. It is one of the main factors that provide a solid foundation for your higher education, as well as being a stepping stone into your professional life.