Opinion: Why GPAs at North Should Be Weighted

While colleges use many critical factors to determine whether or not students are a “good fit” for their on-campus communities, one of the most influential is students’ grade point average (GPA).


At North, GPAs are calculated on an unweighted scale, meaning that the difficulty of students’ courses do not positively impact their GPAs. In other words, receiving a given grade in any class—whether honors, AP, or regents-level—will have the same impact on a student’s GPA.

The above chart highlights the differences between weighted and unweighted GPAs, using a 4.0 scale. At North GPAs are calculated out of 100, not 4.0 (Source: APGuru.com).

Unlike North, many schools on Long Island, like Roslyn High School, for instance, use weighted GPA scales to better represent their students’ academic standing. Instead of delivering the equivalent letter grade to GPA conversion for every student in varying classes, a weighted GPA takes course difficulty into account, allowing ambitious students to attain GPAs higher than 100.


With regard to college applications, colleges look at students in the context of their high schools, meaning that students at North won’t be disadvantaged when compared to students coming from other high schools with weighted GPAs.


Nevertheless, the concern is more so about the students’ mental health when comparing themselves to their fellow schoolmates and friends from other schools. When individuals taking a few AP or honors classes have the same GPA as students with more rigorous schedules, schoolwork becomes both less valuable and less valid in the eyes of the latter. 

Whether GPAs are weighted or unweighted doesn’t play a huge factor in college admissions, but it does impact students’ mental health and drive to challenge themselves in school (Credit: Prep Expert).

“It really sucks to see kids who, for example, take a bunch of regular classes have the same GPA as kids who take a bunch of harder classes,” said junior Brandon Sharif. “Those who work really hard and take hard classes should be rewarded with a weighted GPA that displays their hard work in numbers,” he added. 


This concern, along with the recent removal of AP points, has left many students reluctant to continue with rigorous courses that will ultimately be detrimental to their GPA. Many students also remain perplexed as to how they can improve their grades over the course of the school year. 


It seems only fair that North encourages and rewards students taking more difficult courses through weighting GPAs. This change will not only encourage students to challenge themselves academically, but will also benefit hardworking students and contribute to a more rigorous intellectual environment at North.