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Understanding GPA: A lesson plan from RaiseMe’s Paving Paths to College Curriculum Guide

Download a free lesson plan that outlines the importance of grade point average for demonstrating a commitment to academics in college admissions.

Breaking down Grade Point Average

A student’s GPA is an important factor in the college admissions process, as it is a measure of how well a student is performing across their academic coursework. Moreover, maintaining a high GPA with the addition of more challenging coursework like honors and advanced, or improvement in GPA over time, give an indication of a student’s determination. The lesson plan linked below describes these points in more detail and also includes an activity where your students can calculate their own GPA. We hope this exercise helps students conceptualize what inputs go into their individual score, and consider ways they might boost their GPA.

Additionally, students and parents write in with some frequency with questions around how RaiseMe calculates GPA and how that factors into their eligibility for micro-scholarships. We’ve included information here that we hope will clear up any potential confusion.

Lesson Plan: Understanding GPA

Page 25 of Paving Paths to College: A RaiseMe Curriculum Book

Learning Objectives: 

  • Students will define GPA and explain how it is calculated. 
  • Students will explain how GPA is used to track academic progress and why it matters when preparing for college.

Key Points:

  • GPA is short for Grade Point Average. It’s a metric to help you track overall academic progress and measure improvement in coursework.
  • Unweighted GPA is on a 4.0 scale and does not take into account the difficulty of a course. Weighted GPA is on a 5.0 scale and give more points to high grades in challenging courses like AP, IB, Honors or Advanced.
  • You can look at the average GPA of admitted students to set goals for yourself when exploring colleges.

GPA on RaiseMe:

  • RaiseMe uses unweighted GPA in order to have one standardized scale to determine micro-scholarship eligibility for any student in the nation. RaiseMe calculates GPA using core courses, defined by any classes in the following subject areas: Math, Science, English, Social Studies, Foreign Language.
  • RaiseMe college partners set a GPA minimum in order to be eligible for their micro-scholarships. This is the GPA calculated by RaiseMe.
    • It’s okay if the GPA you see on RaiseMe is different from the one you see on your transcript. This is simply a way to set one measure for all students and allow you to gauge the minimum you can expect in aid if admitted.

Introducing Paving Paths to College: A Curriculum Book by RaiseMe

RaiseMe created an academic year’s worth of lesson plan content for educators, designed to thoughtfully engage high school students of all ages in college readiness activities and build stronger college-going culture in schools. Help put students on the right path towards taking control of their college-going futures by exploring some of our other lesson plans on understanding financial aid, college discovery, and more by downloading the free curriculum guide here.

Have questions or feedback for us, or want to contribute a lesson plan idea or content to our library? Reach out and let us know: hello@raise.me. To invite students to begin earning micro-scholarships for their academic and extracurricular achievements on RaiseMe, sign into your RaiseMe Educator Portal here

Thea started her career at RaiseMe on the educator partnerships team and currently leads customer research and engagement. Prior, Thea taught reading in New Orleans and Boston public schools. For fun, Thea loves to get outdoors and spend time with her rescue pup Ro.

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