Opinion: Your weighted GPA isn’t the only thing that matters

Students have until Monday to request schedule changes for next year


Casey Tedrow

Weighted classes may not have as much weight as some students think.

Payton Naftzger, Staff Writer

When it comes to college applications, many students put a lot of emphasis on their weighted GPA in order to raise their weighted class rank so they can stand out compared to their peers. But while your weighted GPA does carry some power in college acceptance, it is not the deciding factor. 

Extracurricular activities, volunteering and many other things influence the decision as well as GPA, so you shouldn’t just focus on your classes and grades. 

Indiana University’s website explains that they look at a student’s unweighted GPA, not the GPA with the grade weighting. In 2021, the middle range for unweighted GPA acceptance was 3.62-4. Purdue looks at your overall grades for each of your individual classes that are related to your planned major. 

Even though weighted courses are important to show college preparedness, colleges value how well you perform in unweighted classes as well, and the weighted grades may not have the impact you think they do.

In addition to looking at your grades, IU looks at a student’s extracurriculars, recommendation letters and community service. Purdue also looks into a student’s background, their experiences inside and outside of the classroom, their extracurriculars and if they have an academic honors diploma. 

Some students tend to think that their class rank, which can be found alongside their GPA, will have an effect on how colleges will perceive them, but that is actually not usually true. 

“Many schools don’t even rank their students,” Meaghan Krukemeier, Guidance Director, said. “Class rank is really only important to us.”

While class rank has minimal effect on many college admissions standards, the power of your weighted GPA over your unweighted GPA may also not be as big of a deal as students believe it is, depending on your plans for after high school. 

“It depends on the individual college and how they interpret all of these things,” Krukemeier said. “It also depends on where the student wants to attend school after high school. If a student plans to attend an elite school, they need to have the weighted courses and rigor in order to be eligible to be looked at for those schools.”

If colleges do not look at a student’s weighted GPA, then why should you take them at all? Well, weighted classes aren’t only there to help with your weighted GPA. They can also help to show college preparedness.

“My personal belief is that weighted classes are to show the rigor of the course, but there are courses taught here that are very rigorous, and they are not weighted,” Krukemeier said. “Then we have other courses here that are weighted, and I would not deem them as rigorous. I would consider them more of a time commitment.”

It is important to acknowledge that your GPA is important, but colleges don’t only look at your GPA for college acceptance. However, some students still choose weighted courses they have little to no interest in over classes that are unweighted but interesting just to raise their weighted GPA. This is not the best plan.

“I would always encourage students to take a class that they are interested in,” Krukemeier said. “You do not want to take a class that you are not interested in and have it hurt you. It is possible to stick to rigor and not take weighted courses. We have many options here at CG for sure.”

Make sure to think about what actually matters for college applications and what you are interested in. Students have until Monday to make changes, so it’s not too late.