A GPA shows how much “money” you made in a given school year. When you’re in high school, your GPA is the equivalent of a salary. You put in the work, and you’re “paid” with a grade. 

The higher the grade, the higher the GPA.

Your GPA is important. It’s a significant factor when college admissions look at your application. Even future employers may look at your college transcripts depending on the job.

But a 4.0 GPA doesn’t mean an end-all-be-all to success. So, how high does your GPA need to be exactly to consider yourself a success?

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What’s a GPA?

First, let’s define the term GPA. GPA stands for Grade Point Average. Your GPA is the total of all your course grades that you have taken divided by the number of credits.

For example, an A or A+ has a numerical value of 4.0. An A- has a value of 3.7, and a B+ has a value of 3.3. 

Each letter grade contains a different number, even if it’s an a (-) or a (+). The only difference is an A and A+. To calculate your GPA, go to CollegeBoard’s GPA Scale.

But this is just one way to determine your GPA. Several different GPAs exist, but the two most common are weighted and unweighted. 

Weighted GPAs consider the difficulty level of the class. For instance, a B in general high school biology would equal a 3.0, but a B in a biology AP class may equal a 3.3. 


AP classes are much more challenging than standard high school classes; therefore, a B in a tough class deserves more credit. 

Unweighted GPAs do not consider the difficulty of the class. The grade letter equals the same numerical value, regardless of the course.

Related: Homeschool vs Public School: What You Need To Know

The 4.0 GPA: Is It Good Enough?

To earn a 4.0 GPA, you need at least a 93% in all your classes

The truth is, you can have straight As and not have a 4.0 GPA. 

Remember how we said that an A and A+ equal a 4.0 numerical value? An A- is different. 

An A- equals 3.7. 

To earn a 4.0 GPA, you need at least a 93% in all your classes. This could be different for AP classes, so check with your guidance counselor about numerical values for challenging classes.  

We are discussing 4.0 unweighted GPAs in this post.

If you’re worried that your GPA isn’t good enough because it’s not a perfect 4.0, don’t be. Several Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale don’t require 4.0 GPAs to gain admission into their classes. 

However, this doesn’t mean that earning a 4.0 GPA is a waste of time. Let’s review how a 4.0 can benefit you in your high school years and onto college!

4.0 for High Schoolers

A 4.0 GPA opens many doors if you’re a high schooler. A few opportunities include:

  • First consideration for college admissions
  • Higher scholarship awards based on scholar merit
  • Acceptance into societies like National Honor Society, sororities, and fraternities

A 4.0 GPA puts you in a great place as a high schooler. But a high GPA isn’t the only thing colleges are looking at when reviewing your application.

You need to balance good grades with extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and possibly a job. But don’t overdo it!

Consider Beta Bowl if you’re interested in pursuing entrepreneurship! Beta Bowl offers a competitive advantage on college applications. Students that partake in Beta Bowl show potential colleges that you aren’t afraid of hard work. 

Plus, Beta Bowl goes beyond traditional extracurricular activities, like school clubs. Give your college application an ambitious makeover and enroll in Beta Bowl!

Related: Do High School Grades Matter? Your GPA and Other Metrics

The Role of Coursework and GPA in College Admissions

The type of classes you take is a significant part of your college application, next to your GPA. The kind of classes you take show Ivy League schools like Harvard what your interests are and how that will benefit the world later.

Ivy League schools- and colleges in general- want their students to be extraordinary. They want students who have ideas to change the world. Colleges want students to leave people better than how they met them.

“High school course work has one of the strongest correlations with college grades,” says Allen Cheng of PrepScholar

Carefully consider the classes you take, and work hard to earn that 4.0 GPA! 

How to Improve Your GPA in 5 Steps

Asking for help is crucial to your success

Okay! You’ve decided that you want a 4.0 GPA. Or you want to improve your GPA for better academic opportunities later. Let’s go over five steps to help you improve, or maintain, your high GPA.

Step 1: Create a study plan

Your teachers hand out syllabi at the beginning of each semester. Carefully study the syllabi. Pay attention to subjects that may seem confusing, test dates, and projects. Mark them in your calendar and stay ahead of the material. 

Step 2: Create an ideal study environment 

Your workspace should reflect your personality and what you want to accomplish. Surround your space with inspirational material. It can be anything! As long as it pushes you to work smarter and harder.

Be cautious about distractions. Remove your phone when it’s time to work. Stay away from social media and T.V.

Step 3: Create successful academic habits

Creating good habits is the next crucial step to academic success. Establishing good habits is the foundation for achieving goals. Good habits to start working on are:

  • Going to bed early
  • Staying hydrated
  • Stretching
  • Updating your agenda  
  • Doing batch work instead of multitasking 
  • Cleaning your study space
  • Taking notes 
  • Asking questions
  • Partaking in a study group

Step 4: Ask for help

Ask for help! Asking for help is crucial to your success. It can be a teacher or a friend. But it won’t do you any good to pretend like you understand a complex subject when you’re struggling. 

Step 5: Take care of yourself

You’ve reviewed the syllabus. A clean desk with a lovely lamp sits in the corner with your class notes resting on the tabletop. You’ve practiced good academic habits. Now what?

It’s time to practice self-care. Self-care looks different for everyone. It could be getting your nails done, playing that video game you haven’t played in weeks, or watching your favorite show on Netflix. Maybe you like to journal or do photography on the weekends.

Self-care isn’t a privilege. It’s a responsibility. Any successful person will tell you that self-care helped them achieve their goals. Find something that enables you to stay grounded and balanced, and plan time to do it.

Related: Self Care Tips For High School Students

Success Starts With You

We encourage all of our student members to aim high and achieve greatness!

Remember that your success starts with you. Your self-worth is more than what is on your transcript. Your transcript can show future colleges what kind of effort you’re willing to put forth. If you want to change the world, you can’t be afraid of hard work.

So, roll up those sleeves, and let’s get to work!

Beta Bowl enrollment is now open! Reserve your teen’s spot now!