You must have heard about all the high school seniors applying for college admissions who have 4.5 GPAs or higher. University of California now limits the GPA to a 4.5 maximum because grades are just getting ridiculously high. How do these kids do it?

I had heard that if a high school student took a college course that the grade would be raised one letter for the purpose of GPA calculations for admissions. My daughter’s high school counselor wasn’t sure about it so I called the University of California at Berkeley admissions to ask if that was true and which courses qualified. It is true and almost any course qualifies. You should call for yourself to make sure this rule hasn’t changed since this writing. Here is the amazing additional information I received. If it is a three unit college class, it will count as ten units of high school units for the GPA as well as being a letter grade higher.

My daughter signed up for Vietnam Culture Through Film at a community college and that would have counted except she wanted to play club volleyball and she had to drop it. Our neighbor took Beginning Computing and received his A and it really pumped up his GPA and he was accepted into the University of California campus of his choice. Art and other types of classes count as well.

With UC the grades will start to count during the summer after the finish of the freshman high school year and the summer after the senior year is too late for admission purposes.

Here is an example of what a difference a college class or two can make in the students GPA.

Around application time your student will have close to 180 units of high school credits and let’s say that 90 units were with a grade of A or 4.0. The other 90 units received a B or 3.0. So far this is a 3.5 GPA. Here is the calculation: 90 units times 4.0 plus 90 units times 3.0 divided by the total units which is 180. That’s 360 plus 270 or a total of 630 then divide by the 180 and you get a GPA of 3.5.

Let’s add one 3 unit college ceramics course of A. This will become 10 units times 5.0 for GPA calculations at the admissions office. Now the GPA formula will be 90 units times 4.0 plus 90 units times 3.0 plus 10 units of 5.0 which totals to 680 instead of the 630. Now the 680 is divided by 190 since there are 10 more units of credit. The GPA jumps to 3.58.

If the student takes a second college class in dance, for example, one summer and gets an A then we get 10 more units of 5.0. We arrive at 730 ((90 X 4) + (90 X 3) +(20 X 5) = 730) and divide that by 200 total units now and we get 3.65 for the GPA.

This is a lot easier than taking Advanced Placement physics or calculus to raise one’s GPA.

Each college has different ways of treating admission data and they change policies with time so please call the admissions office of the college you wish to apply to and make sure of what its particular policy is.