Cumulative GPA Calculator
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- February 27, 2020 Updated
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Keeping your GPA (grade point average) high is important. It’s more than a simple way for others to measure how well you performed in school. People who’ve never met you – such as employers and deans of admission – will use your GPA as a measure of how well you might do in their programs. As you apply for jobs, scholarships, and further education, you will need to report your cumulative GPA. While your current GPA shows how well you did in your most recent set of courses, your cumulative GPA is more in-depth. It shows your total GPA, or how well you have done in all the courses you have taken so far.
What Is a Cumulative GPA?
A cumulative GPA is the standard for measuring school performance throughout your high school and college years. It takes your final grade for each course and averages them. If your school uses a different grading system (such as letter grades or percentages), you will need to transform each course grade to the 4.0 scale before you can calculate your cumulative GPA. This cumulative GPA calculator is an Excel download that can help you convert letter grades to the 4.0 scale and calculate your cumulative GPA. It can also be used to project your future GPA.
When you download this file, you receive two worksheets:
- GPA grading system
- Cumulative GPA calculator
These worksheets work together to calculate your cumulative GPA based on your school’s grading system.
GPA Grading System
Each school has the authority to determine their grading scale. This scale assigns numeric grade points, called quality points, to letter grades. The most common grading scale is the unweighted GPA scale. Many high schools and colleges use this scale. It simply assigns a numeric score (between 4.0 and 0.0 grade points) to each letter grade. Here is a sample GPA table: However, not all schools use these exact numbers. Some high schools use a weighted GPA scale, which takes class difficulty into account. On a weighted scale, harder courses are worth 5.0 quality points instead of 4.0. These are typically reserved for honors or accelerated placement (AP) classes and are often referred to as honor points. In the GPA Grading System worksheet, you can adjust the scale used, even if it is a weighted GPA. You will need a copy of your school’s grading scale. This is typically available on a school’s website. If you have trouble tracking it down, ask a professor or the student guidance counselor for help. Once you have your school’s grading scale, open the worksheet. Now, you can make any changes to the scale. For example, if your school assigns D-, that will have a higher score than the 0.0 shown in the scale above. Make any adjustments that you need. You want this scale to match your school’s GPA grading scale, whether it is weighted or unweighted. Once these numbers are set, you are ready to calculate your cumulative GPA with the other worksheet downloaded in this file, the Cumulative GPA Calculator.
Cumulative GPA Calculator
To calculate cumulative GPA, you need to select whether your school uses semesters or quarters. In a typical bachelor’s degree program, there are eight semesters (two each academic year) or twelve quarters (four each academic year, attended year-round, or more commonly, three quarters a year for four years with the summer quarter used as a break). To get your cumulative GPA, you will need to look at the class credits earned during each grading period. This cumulative GPA calculator has room for either, so use the drop-down menu to select between “Semester” or “Quarter.” Now it’s time to enter in your course information for each semester or quarter you have already taken. This will show you your cumulative GPA so far. First, you need to prepare the form for use. Delete the data in each “Grade” and “Credits” column. This will automatically clear the data in the “Points” column. Since the “Points” column uses a formula, you do not want to clear the contents of this cell. Doing so will prevent the spreadsheet from correctly calculating your cumulative GPA. Once the sample information is cleared, it will say that your cumulative GPA is a dash (-). This is not an error. It just means that there is no data. Now it’s time for you to enter your information. Go to the Semester (or Quarter) 1 section. In the left-hand column, type in each course you took during your first semester at school. Yes, you must start entering data from the beginning of your high school or college program. Freshman grades do count towards your GPA. Then type the letter grade you earned into the “Grade” column. In the third column, you type in the number of credits each course was worth. Class credits are important when calculating your cumulative GPA. In high school, each course is typically one credit. In colleges, the courses vary in how many credits they are worth. Your course syllabus or academic transcript should have information about the number of credit hours for each course. Continue adding courses to Semester or Quarter 1 until you’ve entered records for each class you took. If you have finished more than one semester or quarter, enter in the data for each grading period you have completed. At the bottom of each grading period, you will notice the word “Total.” Then there are two cells with numbers. The first is your total credits. This shows how many credit hours you took during that grading period. The second is your total quality points. This is how many quality points you earned that particular grading period. Underneath this is your GPA. Please note that this is your GPA for that current grading period and is not your overall or cumulative GPA.
Calculate Cumulative GPA
As you enter records, you will notice the information at the top changing. This is where you can see your overall academic records. You will find your Grand Total Credits and Grand Total Points. These numbers are the total number of credits and points you have completed. The points are calculated by multiplying your credits by the number of points assigned to that letter grade in the grading system. In the center, your cumulative GPA is calculated. This is the overall GPA from all of the courses you have entered. This calculation is made by dividing the number of total points by your total credit hours. There is no “Calculate” button; the GPA calculation is automatically taking place each time you enter data.
Predict Future Cumulative GPA
You can also use this GPA calculator to calculate your potential cumulative GPA. If you know that a certain GPA is required for an opportunity, you can see if you can raise your GPA high enough if you work hard in your remaining semesters. Because of the way cumulative GPA is calculated, a low grade earned in one class doesn’t mean your GPA will always be low. As you complete more courses and earn better grades, the one low grade will not have as much impact on your overall academic record. Typically, high schools and colleges have a list of required courses students must take to meet the required number of credits for graduation. You can use this course list, plus any electives that you know you’ll be taking, to fill out your quarter or semester GPA calculator. Then, you can experiment with different grades and see how each affects your cumulative GPA. If you think you might get a low grade in one class, you can see how well you will need to do in each of your other classes to compensate. If you will not be able to earn the GPA required based on your projected course load, are there additional credit hours you could add? Sometimes taking more courses will help to raise your cumulative GPA. If you have any questions about calculating your GPA, or what steps you can take to raise it, please seek academic advising from a professional familiar with you and your school. This individualized help can be the best way to ensure you’re on the right path.
Calculate GPA for an Unofficial Transcript
By tracking your academic record with this spreadsheet, you can generate your own unofficial transcript. This will not be an official transcript generated by your school, but it will serve as a record of the credits earned and the grades you received.
Keeping Track of Your GPA for Academic Success
Earning good grades can help you get the job or academic placement that you desire. It’s important to proactively calculate your GPA and know where you stand. Then you can take the action needed to improve your GPA if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are common questions about calculating your cumulative GPA.
While each school may have its own policies on retaking courses, typically you can retake a course to improve your grade. If you retake one, your most recent attempt will be used to calculate your GPA. All other attempts will remain on your official transcript but will not be used in GPA calculations. If you got a low grade in a required course, retaking it is a good way to improve your score. However, since your most recent score is the one that counts, you want to ensure you do better the second time around. Otherwise your repeated courses will lower your GPA instead of raising it.
Sometimes when a current student calculates their cumulative GPA, they aren’t happy with the result. However, there are a number of strategies you can use to improve your GPA. If you have a single class grade pulling your GPA down, consider retaking the course. You can also look into taking extra courses, to help the low score not have as much impact on your overall GPA. In each of your classes, make sure you complete each homework assignment on time. Read your textbooks and ask questions in class if you don’t understand a concept. You can also ask your teacher or professor for extra help on assignments that you are struggling with. Some students seek help from a tutor for some subjects. Also, make sure you are attending class. Being there gives you more exposure to the topics you are studying, and allows you to participate in any discussions. Hearing questions from other students can help you learn as well, so make sure you aren’t skipping classes.
Your GPA needs to be high enough to allow you to meet your future goals. If you want to get into a competitive master’s degree program, your college GPA will need to be fairly high. If you are applying for an entry-level job, your college GPA may not be as important. Take some time to brainstorm potential career paths and research to see what your expected GPA should be. A good college GPA is often considered a B average, or a 3.0. However, this number varies depending on the program. Do the best you can do and work hard to keep your grades up.
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