Does College GPA Matter in 2023?

Ready to start your journey?

Whether you have high grades or low ones, it’s common to wonder, “Does college GPA matter?”

Does College GPA Matter

During high school, you knew that your GPA would factor into your university admissions. Now that you’ve made it to college, your GPA may have a different role to play, but it’s still important in many regards.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Let’s take a look at why it’s worth keeping an eye on your college GPA and how you can improve your score if needed.

Does College GPA Matter?

GPA is an acronym that stands for “grade point average.” Schools use this figure to represent your overall academic performance during high school or college. If your GPA is close to 4.0, then you’ve earned a lot of A grades.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

A grade point average is a small number represented by just two digits and a decimal place. As small as it may seem, though, it can be a powerful figure.

Your GPA can influence the academic and professional opportunities that are available to you. There are colleges that accept 2.0 GPA, for example, but a higher GPA may be more beneficial.

Throughout your school years and beyond, a high GPA may help you:

  • Get into college
  • Earn and maintain scholarships
  • Receive admission to certain majors
  • Remain in good academic standing
  • Earn academic honors
  • Secure internships
  • Get into grad school
  • Land a competitive job without much work experience

While GPA isn’t everything, it can be important. Doing your best in your undergraduate or graduate courses can be a worthwhile endeavor.

Does GPA Matter in College?

Does GPA Matter in College

You probably know that GPA is a big deal before college because your high school grades help determine which colleges you’re eligible to attend. You may also earn scholarships based on your high school GPA.

Once you’ve made it through high school, does GPA matter in college? It does matter, and there are a variety of reasons why. First of all, your GPA represents your academic performance. If it drops too low, you may be at risk of losing certain scholarships or going on academic probation.

After completing a few semesters of college, you may need to apply for admission to your chosen major. Some departments set a minimum GPA. If your grades aren’t high enough, you might have to choose a different major.

It may be comforting to know that there are some universities that accept low GPA scores for admission into various majors.

With a high GPA, you may qualify for your school’s honor track or dean’s list. It may also help you secure prestigious internships.

Does GPA Matter after College?

Does GPA Matter After College

Even after you graduate from college, you might not be able to leave your GPA behind.

Do you have grad school in mind? If so, it’s common for programs to review your GPA when making admissions decisions. Some grad schools set a minimum GPA for admission. With a high GPA, you may have more program options to choose from.

Potential employers might consider your college grades, too, especially when you’re fresh out of school. Since hiring committees can’t take into account your previous work experience, they tend to look at your GPA instead.

Students who earn a 3.5 or above may be at an advantage when it comes to landing desirable positions. That’s especially true in fields like engineering or finance. If you have a high GPA, you could choose to list it on your resume. Some hiring committees may even inquire about it.

How Is GPA Calculated?

How Is GPA Calculated

GPA scores are usually based on a 4.0 scale. If you get an A, that’s worth 4.0 points. Bs are worth 3.0, and so on. In high school, the point values for each class are totaled, and an average score is calculated based on the number of classes you’ve taken.

College GPAs are similar, but they also take into account how many credit hours each course is worth.

A three-credit-hour class will influence your GPA 50% more than a two-hour class. Your semester GPA is a score that reflects your work from just one semester of college. The more impactful number, though, is your cumulative GPA. It includes all of your grades.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

Colleges may have different rules about GPA calculations. For example, only some schools include pass or fail courses in the GPA total. Others may exclude incompletes, Fs, or credits earned at other colleges.

How to Raise Your GPA

higher college gpa

Since a good college GPA can make a difference in school and beyond, it can be helpful to get yours as high as possible.

If your GPA is lower than you’d like, there are practical steps you can take to raise it. These tips may also come in handy if you already have a high GPA and are trying to keep it that way.

  • Attend class faithfully. Going to class matters. You can miss out on information each time you skip, so you may want to make it a priority to be there. Even better, you can sit toward the front, join in on discussions, and take notes.
  • Develop an organizational system. Disorganization can cost you. Without a system, you may end up with lost notes, missed assignments, and all-night cram sessions. To help with organization, you can enter assignment deadlines and test dates in a planner. It could also help to have a separate folder for each course’s notes and papers. You can even schedule blocks of time for studying.
  • Find a quiet place to study. It can be difficult to concentrate in a lively dorm or a well-trafficked living room. For better focus, you may want to take your efforts elsewhere. Libraries often have study cubicles that are just right for the task.
  • Seek help when you need it. College can be challenging, but it’s okay to ask for a helping hand. If you’re confused about a topic, you can check in with your professor during office hours. Even online colleges tend to offer virtual office hours. Other tips for getting extra help include joining a study group or signing up for tutoring services.
  • Study throughout the semester. Last-minute cram sessions aren’t very effective. Instead of trying to learn all the material at once, you can make studying a regular part of your routine. You can read through all your notes or quiz yourself with flashcards at least once a week. As test time approaches, you can turn those practices into daily habits.

The sooner you start aiming for a higher GPA, the easier it may be to raise it. During your freshman year, for instance, you still have plenty of classes ahead of you that can help raise your average. By your senior year, your GPA will be pretty close to its final form.

Why Is GPA Important?

Why Is GPA Important

For one thing, having a low college GPA can have serious repercussions. If it falls below a certain level, you could be placed on academic probation. Eventually, if there’s no improvement, you could be dropped from the school.

Even if your GPA isn’t low enough to face that serious situation, you could still be at risk of losing your loan or scholarship funding.

On the flip side, having a high GPA can lead to various benefits in college. You may qualify for additional scholarships or be invited to join the honors program. An impressive GPA could also put you into consideration for valuable internships.

What Is a Good College GPA?

Many students ask, “What is a good GPA in college?” and the answer is subjective.

The GPA you need is dependent on your school and your goals. For instance, most colleges require at least a 2.0 GPA. Lower scores could lead to academic probation, loss of financial aid, or even dismissal from your program. It can be worth striving for a much higher score, though.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

GPAs above 3.0 are more likely to qualify you for scholarships or help you get into graduate school. While you don’t necessarily need to achieve a perfect 4.0, the closer you are to that number, the more academic accolades you’re likely to receive.

Does Your GPA Start Over in College?

Weighted vs. Unweighted GPA

Your high school GPA does not follow you to college. You get to start over with a blank slate when you begin your university years.

In general, your GPA starts from scratch every time you begin at a new college. If you transfer part way through your college career, you’ll probably leave your old GPA behind. For many students, transferring can be a way to achieve a fresh start.

There are exceptions, though. Some colleges do count credits earned from other institutions in their GPA calculations.

What’s the Difference between a Weighted vs. Unweighted GPA?

Your high school may calculate your GPA based on a weighted or unweighted scale. The value of your GPA may differ as a result.

Unweighted GPA Weighted GPA
  • Gives each class equal value in the GPA calculation
  • Top score is typically 4.0
  • Used by some high schools and most colleges
  • Assigns extra points for advanced classes, such as AP or honors courses
  • Allows students to earn GPA scores higher than 4.0
  • More common in high school than in college

If your high school assigns you a weighted GPA, college admissions committees may consider both that and the unweighted version.

Is a Student’s Major Considered When Graduate Schools Look at GPA?

Graduate Schools GPA

Typically, grad schools don’t give more weight to a GPA from one major than another. You’re not likely to get a pass on a low GPA just because you chose a challenging major.

For one thing, many students enroll in graduate programs within their undergrad fields. In fact, many applicants probably graduated with the exact same major.

If you’re switching fields, admissions committees may do a little more sleuthing. For example, if you graduated with a 3.5 as an English major but are now applying to a biology program, they may pay extra attention to your science scores.

Do Employers Care about GPA?

GPA importance doesn’t always end when you graduate from college. Some employers pay attention to how well applicants did in college.

Your past job performance provides insights into your abilities, but if you don’t have much work history, hiring committees may consider GPA to be the next best metric to use. Some employers receive an abundance of applications. They may narrow down the selection by automatically ruling out applicants with lower GPAs.

Editorial Listing ShortCode:

To share your GPA with potential employers, you can list it on your resume. It’s not recommended that you include your GPA on a cover letter or bring it up in an interview—unless asked, of course.

Getting Your College Degree Online

Earning a good GPA

Earning a good GPA doesn’t always happen in a college classroom. Many earn noteworthy grades from the comfort of their own homes as online students. Online college classes offer a variety of advantages.

For instance, you may be able to complete lessons and assignments as your schedule allows. Through virtual office hours, discussion boards, and tutoring services, you can connect with others and get help as needed. Plus, online schools often have accelerated terms that could allow you to finish school more quickly.

The sooner you look for accredited degree programs that align with your goals and preferences, the sooner you can start your journey in higher education.

Ready to start your journey?
Jordan is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and earned her Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management and her Bachelor's in Business Administration. Jordan's research focuses on adults returning to college and online degree programs.