Brad Thompson, FPD Director of College Counseling

When visiting with us in the college counseling department, students often ask about their GPA. A GPA is a calculation of grades over several years and across several subjects; it is essentially a summary of academic progress. Students and parents often wonder how it is calculated, what classes are included, and how will it be used. There is no easy quick answer.

There are multiple groups that look at a student’s GPA and even different colleges have unique ways of calculating.

Below are a few tips on how a student’s GPA is calculated. For most circumstances, the grades that are factored are from 9th grade and up.

College GPA

One GPA type is the College GPA. The College GPA along with class rigor and test scores are huge factors for college admissions. We actually do not give colleges a student’s GPA. We simply send the colleges the student’s transcripts upon request and the college applies their method for calculation. They have people on their end that process the GPA based on how that college has decided to do so.

  • Generally, all colleges use the 4.0 scale (for example, an A is 4 pts., a B is 3 pts., a C is 2 pts., a D is 1 pt., and F’s are 0 pts.). From that point, they can do different things to grades to factor a GPA.
  • Some schools take all classes into consideration (cumulative GPA) and some just look at core classes (core GPA).
  • Some may take our weights out for an honors or AP class (this is called an unweighted GPA) and some may leave weights in that we give for honors or AP (this is called a weighted GPA).
  • Most students apply for college in the fall of senior year.  In doing so, colleges may only see 9th, 10th, and 11th grades so those 3 years are extremely important. However, more rigorous schools require 1st semester grades of senior year to be sent, and all colleges check senior year grades later in the year.

SPECIAL NOTE OF CAUTION: A student can pass a class at FPD with a D (which is 70-73).  However, that D in the eyes of colleges would be seen as a 1.0 on the 4.0 scale.  If a student has several D’s and C’s in core classes, the College GPA hovers around 2.0.  A lot of colleges have 2.0 or 2.5 minimums for acceptance and a lot want GPAs of 3.0 or above.  All that, of course, depends on the college. A typical rule of thumb is that the more competitive the school then the more competitive they want the GPA.


Another GPA type is the HOPE GPA. HOPE is a merit, academic scholarship for kids in the state of Georgia. Students must be residents of Georgia, graduate from a Georgia high school, and attend a school (private or public) in Georgia to be eligible for this college money.

  • The HOPE GPA is based primarily on the 5 core classes (math, science, foreign language, English, and social studies) for all 4 years of high school.
  • HOPE converts numeric grades over to the 4.0 scale (see above).  They convert the classes, add them up, and get the average.
  • HOPE takes out the weights FPD adds to honors and AP classes (so it is an unweighted GPA). For an FPD honors class, HOPE takes out the 2 points we add to the grades for honors classes for the final grade. An 80 or 81 becomes 78 or 79 and is no different than a C. For AP classes, HOPE takes out 3 points we add to the final grade.
  • HOPE does add .5 to the conversion on the 4.0 scale. A 4.0 is the highest they give.

For the majority of HOPE money, students still need a 3.0.  I always tell them if you make all B’s you are fine.  Make a C then you need an A.  Also, be careful of classes where our weighted points drop. HOPE also has a level called Zell Miller Scholar.  A student must have a 3.7 HOPE GPA and make a 1200 on ONE SAT test or a 26 on ONE ACT test.


A third type of GPA to consider is the FPD GPA. This is the GPA we use to recognize Valedictorian, Salutatorian, Honor Graduates and Honor Graduates with Distinction.

  • This GPA is based on the 5 core classes plus Bible classes.
  • We use an overall 100 pt. average and leave our weights (2 points for honors classes and 3 points for AP classes).
  • An Honor Graduate must have an overall average of 90 or above. A student pursuing the Accelerated Track who earns 90 or above earns recognition as Honor Graduate with Distinction. The overall 90 does not round up.
  • The FPD GPA includes all 4 years so we check grades after senior finals.  The competition for Valedictorian and Salutatorian goes through the end of 3rd quarter.


Learn more about the resources available in FPD’s College Counseling Department.

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