The term GPA has been used for decades, if not longer, to determine how a student moves throughout their career academically and professionally.
For some students their GPA allows them to attend selective high schools, ivy league colleges, highly sought after internships, and jobs with competitive salaries. For other students, their GPA may prevent them from getting those very things until they are too old for their GPA to be a factor in their career progressions. Either way the outcome, GPA has become an important focus for students to maintain and strive to increase.
While it is always always at the top of their mind, they often have questions about how Dual Enrollment affects their GPA.
Some of the questions you may be asking are:
What is GPA?
What is the highest GPA you can get?
What is unweighted GPA?
What is a weighted GPA?
Are Dual Enrollment classes weighted?
Does Dual Enrollment affect your high school GPA?
Does Dual Enrollment boost your GPA?
Does Dual Enrollment affect your college GPA
In this article, I’ll explain what unweighted GPA, weighted GPA, and cumulative GPA are as well as how much Dual Enrollment classes are weighted and how Dual Enrollment affects your high school and college gpa.
What is GPA?
G.P.A. as an acronym or more commonly written as GPA stands for Grade Point Average. GPA means that your class grades are calculated to determine your average score in a given time period, such as a semester, school year, or over multiple years.
What is the Highest GPA You can Get?
The GPA scale generally used is 0.0 to 4.0, but there are instances where a student can have above a 4.0, which we will dive into later. For now let’s just say in a normal world the highest GPA possible is a 4.0 and in not so normal circumstances the highest GPA possible is a 5.0.
Throughout your school years from middle school until you graduate from college you may find that words are added before GPA, like weighted GPA, unweighted GPA, cumulative GPA, semester GPA, and final GPA.
GPA is an umbrella term for your class average based on an amount of time or how rigorous the classes. One example of your GPA with time factored in is your semester GPA may only have 5 classes calculated into an average versus your cumulative GPA having 21 classes calculated into an average.
An example of a GPA with advanced curriculum factored is your unweighted GPA may consider Dual Enrollment college classes on the same level as regular high school classes versus your weighted GPA where Dual Enrollment college classes are considered significantly more difficult than regular high school classes.
If both of those examples just went over your head or in one ear and right out the other, don’t worry because I will break this down even more for you.
What is Unweighted GPA?
Generally when people say GPA, they are referring to unweighted GPA. Simply put, unweighted GPA calculates the average of your class grades.
An easy example of unweighted GPA without having to break it down is if your grade for 4 high school classes is 100% or an A+ then your unweighted GPA is a 4.0.
What is a Weighted GPA?
Weighted GPA calculates the average of your class scores while taking into consideration how rigorous each class is.
For example, a regular English 9 is very different from a Honors English 9, which is different from (AP) English 9. In this case, the difficulty of each English class is factored into your weighted GPA.
What is cumulative GPA?
Now that we have discussed how GPA can be affected by the types of classes you take like Dual Enrollment, let’s dive into how GPA is adjusted for time.
Cumulative GPA is the average of your classes grades received throughout school. If you remember from earlier, cumulative GPA can be the average of all 21+ classes you completed in high school or all 40 classes you’ve taken in college.
So, if you have ever wondered why your cumulative GPA is different from your regular GPA (as I have) now you know that GPA is just the class average for the school year or semester while cumulative GPA is for every class you have ever taken at that school stage.
High School GPA
Most high schools will display your school year weighted GPA and cumulative weighted GPA on your transcript as you can see in the image below from a template homeschool high school transcript.
The reason I used “most” is because I have had students inform me via our Dual Enrollment GPA Calculator that their high schools use unweighted GPA and cumulative unweighted GPA, so please ask your counselor how your school measures GPAs.
What is a Good GPA in High School?
And to cover all bases on the topic of high school GPA, if you have ever asked what is a good GPA in high school the average is a 3.0. If you strive to receive academic recognition awards while you are in high school the Honor Roll GPA is a 3.5 or higher.
At Don Soffer Aventura High School the Superior Honor Roll is greater than a 3.5 weighted GPA and Principal’s Honor Roll is for greater than a 5.0 weighted GPA.
If you were to get below a 3.0, please know it is not the end of the world for you and your career. A passing grade in high school is a D, sometimes a C, so passing is more important than not.
Please do not use 3.0 as a benchmark for everything. I will give you an example of why this is important later.
As a college student every transcript will have a semester GPA (Term GPA was used on my transcript) as well as a cumulative GPA.
The semester GPA and cumulative GPA will be unweighted because at this point every class teaches college level curriculum. Even if you choose a community college or ivy league college, every class is college level and is calculated as such.
What is a Good GPA in College?
A good GPA in college is a 3.0 just like in high school. A 3.0 will allow you to maintain scholarships, athletics, and academic clubs.
The same rule about passing grades apply for college as well. You can pass a class and earn a degree with a D or in some a C grade. Again, please don’t use this determination of a “good gpa” in college as the only benchmark for success.
Since I mentioned the honor roll GPA for high school it would only be fair to share how you can continue receiving academic awards in college via the Dean’s List. The Dean’s List GPA requirement is also at least a 3.5.
What is Dual Enrollment
Before we dive into how Dual Enrollment affects your GPA, let’s clarify what Dual Enrollment is. Dual Enrollment is an international initiative to allow middle school and high school students to dual enroll in college.
The reason you may hear dual credit used instead of Dual Enrollment is because they are often used interchangeably but they mean two different things.
Dual credit is what you earn while you are dual enrolled or in Dual Enrollment. For example, if you take a Biology class in college it will also satisfy your Biology requirement for high school as dual credit so you don’t have to take the same classes over again. Later I will answer a common question I get about if dual credit courses affect GPA.
Are Dual Enrollment Classes Weighted and By How Much?
Yes, Dual Enrollment classes are weighted on a 5.0 GPA scale. You will also find that Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate, and Dual Enrollment are all weighted on a 5.0 scale in high school.
Now, does that mean that any grade you get in college will give you a 5.0 GPA point for that class? Or does that mean your entire GPA will be 5.0 because you took 1 Dual Enrollment class? Absolutely not, which is why I say “weighted on a 5.0 GPA scale”.
This only means when calculating your weighted GPA the advanced curriculum of a Dual Enrollment college class will be taken into account compared to your regular high school classes.
Does Dual Enrollment Affect Your High School GPA?
Yes, Dual Enrollment affects your high school GPA, similar to Honors, AP, and IB classes. And since I addressed how people use Dual Credit to refer to Dual Enrollment, if you ever asked yourself do dual credit courses affect gpa, the answer is also yes.
And keep in mind that Dual Enrollment only affects your high school GPA if your high school uses weighted GPAs. If your high school only uses unweighted GPA, then Dual Enrollment is counted towards your GPA the same as regular classes on a 4.0 scale.
Does Dual Enrollment Boost Your GPA?
Yes, Dual Enrollment can boost your GPA but it can also lower your GPA. A Dual Enrollment class in high school is raised by 1.0 GPA point because it is worth more.
This can be best explained with a simple story. Let’s say you get an A+ or 100% in 3 regular high school classes and you receive a C or 70% in 3 Dual Enrollment college classes. You are used to receiving a 4.0 as your weighted high school GPA. In this case you may find that your transcript says 3.5 weighted GPA because your Dual Enrollment classes increased to a 80% due to their advanced curriculum but it was still lower than your average high school grade.
Now on a happier note, let’s say you get an A+ or 100% in 3 regular high school classes and you receive an A+ or 100% in 3 Dual Enrollment college classes. Your transcript would have a weighted GPA at 4.5. Much better, huh?
So you can see how Dual Enrollment can boost your GPA well above what you imagined and lower it to not what you expected. Both ways still give you credit for achieving an advanced college curriculum well past your age.
Does Dual Enrollment Affect Your College GPA?
No, Dual Enrollment does not affect your college GPA like it does for your high school GPA. Let me explain.
Remember when I said college only uses semester and cumulative unweighted GPA because all classes are college level? This leads me to highlight Dual Enrollment classes are ONLY weighted in high school, not in college.
Dual Enrollment classes are practically college classes but instead of waiting until you graduate high school you can take them while you are in high school, hence the name Dual Enrollment. So Dual Enrollment college classes are weighted the same as a class you would take when you are only in college, which is on a 4.0 GPA scale.
As you can see, to explain “does dual enrollment affect GPA”, I first needed to dive into what elements of GPA can be changed as a result of taking a Dual Enrollment class.
Every type of class (regular, Honors, Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate) will always be factored into your GPA but each can affect it differently.
We discussed unweighted GPA vs weighted GPA, high school GPA vs college GPA, and how Dual Enrollment affects both.
After reading this you should be able to make informed decisions about taking classes without being surprised at how Dual Enrollment affects your GPA after it is too late. As mentioned before, Dual Enrollment can boost your GPA, but don’t let it affect your progression as a Dual Enrollment student, scaring you into taking classes only to boost it.
You can use our free digital Dual Enrollment GPA Calculator to help you determine how Dual Enrollment will affect your GPA! If you are interested in calculating your Dual Enrollment GPA on your own, we also have a GPA Calculator Excel Sheet and Google Sheet.