2 Grade Point Average (GPA) A student’s grade point average is an indica- tion of how well the student is performing in high school. A student’s GPA is included on every transcript, and it's one of the first things colleges look for. GPAissimplytheaverageofastudent’ssemester(orendofterm)grades,start- ing with the 9th grade. Although there are variations, most high schools use a 4.0 scale (A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1). Students with all As have a 4.0 GPA. Students with As in half their courses and Bs in the rest have a 3.5 GPA. Part I The Academic Record Individual colleges use their own criteria when evaluating prospective stu- dents. For example, one college may place a great deal of importance on test scores. Another college may focus more on other factors. While colleges differ in how they weigh the above information, almost all colleges consider the grades earned in college prep courses to be the most important criteria for college admissions. In the college admissions process, nothing is more important than a student’s high school academic record. Admissions Criteria When determining whether or not to accept an applicant, colleges use some, if not all, of the information listed below. u Grade point average (GPA) u Special talents/awards u Strength of subjects u Activities u ACT/SAT scores u Essays u Class rank u Interviews u Recommendations u Demonstrated interest