College admission officers weigh a variety of factors when making admission decisions. They take into consideration your ACT/SAT scores, class rank, GPA, rigor of high school courses, college admission essays, and much more. Most of this information can be found on your high school transcript, which begs the question, “What is the most important factor on my high school transcript?” The answer is your GPA.
Your GPA represents every single grade you receive throughout your high school career, and it helps college admission officers formulate opinions about who you are as a student. It serves as a snapshot of your academic ability and can potentially speak to your work ethic and dedication in the classroom. It is also directly correlated to your class rank, which shows college admission officers how you compare to other students in your graduating class.
Your GPA in college preparatory courses is extremely important. While colleges place high value on taking a rigorous course load, they want to see that you are successful in these courses. In addition to your unweighted GPA, many high schools will report your weighted GPA on your transcript, which factors in the extra point for successfully completing an honors or AP course. Your weighted GPA represents your performance in college preparatory courses and can potentially allow you to stand out among the other top students in your graduating class.
Overall, your GPA is more than just a number. It gives college admission officers their first impression of who you are as a student. Maintaining a high GPA with a rigorous course load will allow you to stand out among other applicants during the college admission process.