8 “I’m trying to bring my grade point average up this year so that I can get into college. But when you’re a junior, it’s hard to bring your GPA up. I really wish I would have paid more attention to my grades earlier.” Jeremy, junior Parents need to know and understand the information that’s included in their child’s academic record. Parents also need to understand the following terms: GPA, class rank, four-year plan, and transcript. Grade Point Average (GPA) A student’s grade point average, or GPA, is an indica- tor of how well the student is performing in school. A GPA is simply the average of a student’s semester (or end of term) grades, starting with the freshman year. Because colleges use GPAs to help them de- cide who to accept, having a high GPA can be very important for college bound students. Although there are variations, most high schools use a 4.0 scale in which an A=4, B=3, C=2, and D=1. Students with all As have a 4.0 grade point average. Students who have Bs in half their courses and Cs in the other half have a 2.5 GPA. Many schools have “weighted grades” for honors, AP (Advanced Placement), and/or IB (International Baccalaureate) courses. If a school has weighted grades, then a grade in a weighted course is worth more than it is in a non- weighted course. For example, an A in an honors course might be worth five points instead of the usual four points. Regardless of the method used, the higher the grades, the higher the GPA. In order to understand how your school figures GPAs, you need to know if your school uses quarter, semester, or end-of-year grades. If your school has weighted grades, you also need to know how these grades are used in determining grade point averages. The Academic Record