Know your GPA: Why and how to calculate it.

Learn everything you need to know about GPA, including how it is calculated and why it is important in the college admissions process.

GPA, or grade point average, is a measurement of a student’s academic performance. It is calculated by taking the average of a student’s grades throughout their academic career. GPA is important because it is used by colleges and universities as a means of evaluating a student’s academic potential. In this article, we take an in-depth look at how GPA is calculated and tell you why it is an important factor in the college admissions process.

Understanding the American grading system

When it comes to evaluating a student’s performance at school, different countries and educational institutions use different grading scales. In the United States, the most commonly used grading scale is the traditional 100-point scale, where a student receives a numerical grade between 0 and 100 for each subject. In many other countries, including France, Germany and Denmark, the 7-point scale (00-12) is used as it is comparable to ECTS.

In the United States, the 100-point scale is the most common way to evaluate a student’s performance in school. Under this system, a student receives a numerical grade between 0 and 100 for each subject, where 100 is the highest possible grade and 0 is the lowest. This is then converted to a letter grade.
In general, grades between 90 and 100 are considered excellent and give the student an ‘A’ grade. Grades between 80 and 89 are considered good and give the student a ‘B’ grade.
And so on… We’ve set it out in a table below:

100-point scale Final mark (A-F)
90-100 A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
Under 60 F

Once your grades are converted to a letter grade from A-F, you can start calculating your GPA (your grade point average).
Before we can do that, we need to get a clear understanding of what GPA actually is.

What is GPA?

GPA stands for Grade Point Average. GPA is an important measure of a student’s academic level, and is often used by colleges and universities to assess a student’s admission qualifications, scholarships and other academic opportunities.
It is a numerical expression of a student’s average performance in their subject over a specific period of time, typically a semester or a year. The highest possible GPA is 4.00.

How do I calculate my GPA?

Convert from Danish to American characters.

To calculate your GPA, you must first convert each of your Danish grades to a letter grade.

Danish grading scale (12 to 03) American scale (A to F)
12 A
12 A-
10 B+
7 B
7 B-
4 C+
4 C
4 C-
02 D+
02 D
02 D-
00 F
Convert from letter value to numeric value

Next, convert each of your letter grades into a numerical grade value.

The GPA scale is standardized so that each letter grade has a numerical value corresponding to a certain percentage of the possible grade points. For example, an A grade is assigned a numerical value of 4.0 because it corresponds to 90-92% of the possible grade points.
A B+ grade is assigned a numerical value of 3.3 because it corresponds to 87-89% of the possible grade points.

You can see the conversion from letter grade to numeric value in a table below:

Letter grade (A – F) Numeric value (0.00 – 4.00)
A+ 4.0
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- 0.7
F 0.0

Once you’ve converted each of your letter grades into a grade value, you can calculate your GPA by dividing the total number of grade points you’ve earned by the total number of credits you’ve taken. For example, if you received an A in a 3-credit course and a B in a 2-credit course, your GPA would be calculated as follows:

A (4.0*3) + B (3.0*2) = 18

Total credits: 3 + 2 = 5

GPA = 18 / 5 =

Credits vs ECTS Point

In the Danish education system, we do not normally use “credits” as in the American system. In the US, “credits” represent the total workload or number of hours required to complete a particular course. This is usually standardized, where a course can be worth 3 or more credits, depending on the scope and difficulty of the course.

In Denmark and many European countries, we usually use ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System). An ECTS credit is not directly equivalent to a US credit, as the two systems differ in their approach.

To calculate GPA in the US, they often convert ECTS credits to the American system. This can be done using a conversion scale that takes into account the difference in the systems. Typically, one ECTS credit is considered comparable to around 0.25 to 0.3 credits in the US system. This means that a course with 5 ECTS credits in the European system might be equivalent to around 1.5 credits in the US system.

However, it’s important to note that the conversion scale can vary from college to college in the US, and sometimes even from subject to subject. Therefore, you may want to contact the specific college or university you are applying to for precise information on how they convert ECTS credits to their credit system.

Is my GPA important if I am going to be a Student Athlete?

GPA is important because colleges and universities use it as a way to measure a student’s academic performance and potential. Universities want to ensure that student athletes can handle the academic demands of college, and a high GPA is one way to show this ability.
In addition, many college sports programs have minimum GPA requirements that student athletes must meet to be eligible to participate in sports. So while GPA is not the only factor universities consider when deciding whether to admit a student athlete, it is an important one.

Are you still confused?

Comparing grading scales across Denmark, the US and the rest of Europe is really difficult, to say the least. The calculation is not very simple and there are many variables.
In addition, the requirements for a GPA for a student athlete differ from college to college.
If you still don’t feel fully equipped to calculate your own GPA, this is not uncommon.
Contact us if you would like us to help you or have a chat about this.
GPA is relevant for sabbaticals, undergraduate programs, exchanges and a Master’s degree, so it never hurts to be on top of this.

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