Shoreline Unweighted GPAs Not a Problem for College Admissions

Posted by Marianne Stephens on 3/8/2020

Wondering about implications of our unweighted GPA? Be assured:  you are not at a disadvantage for college admissions.


The Shoreline School District and all other public school districts in the State of Washington have an unweighted GPA. That means that an ‘A’ in any course is worth 4.0, and grades are awarded the following values: 

GPA Points Chart

Some states (and districts in states where it is not uniform statewide) have a GPA scale that differentiates between general and honors/ AP courses, so a student could have a GPA of more than 4.0 by earning high grades in advanced courses.

There isn’t only one way that some states/ districts weight GPAs:  extra may be awarded only for AP or IB, or also for honors, and in some cases all dual credit options (like Running Start and college in the high school courses) may also be weighted. 


Students and families often worry that they will be at a disadvantage compared to students from other locations, but you will NOT be at a disadvantage with our unweighted GPA. 

Here’s why: 

College applications ask the type of GPA. There is an option for “weighted” in which some courses count for more and “unweighted” in which all courses count the same. Our students will check the “unweighted” box when filling in their GPA & type on applications. 


Colleges recalculate GPAs. They do not only look at the cumulative GPA. They consider:  

  • the type of GPA
  • the courses taken 

And they recalculate all applicants’ GPAs based on whatever scale they use. If they use a weighted scale, they use uniform rules so that all applicants—from schools/ areas with unweighted or differently weighted GPAs—are evaluated on a common scale.


Colleges practice holistic admissions and also consider: 

  • other qualities of the student
  • essay and recommendations
  • what they know about the school 

Admission is rarely a simple numbers equation. Many students of ours have been admitted places where they are below the college’s average GPA and/ or test scores. 


Colleges realize that we have an unweighted GPA

We have never heard of this being a problem for our students. Applicants do need to make sure that they are checking the “unweighted GPA” box on applications, particularly for colleges out of state, but please do not worry about this issue. 



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