5 Ways to Raise a Low GPA

Test Prep & Grades
October 28, 2019
Having To Raise A Low GPA Can Cause Major Headaches When It Comes Time To Apply For College...

As a reflection of your academic record, your GPA is taken into consideration at nearly every college in the country and at nearly every stage of reviewing your college application. Learning how to fix a low GPA and keep it from becoming a problem again is one of the first steps you should take when preparing to apply to college.


What Is Your GPA?

Your GPA stands for your grade point average. Most commonly scored on a 4.0 scale where an A is a perfect 4.0, your high school GPA is used by colleges to measure your academic record and predict your future potential.

Colleges often recalculate a student’s GPA using their own in-house system to measure all applicants equally, but the way your GPA is calculated is still important to know. After all, your GPA is an important number to calculate and keep in mind throughout your time in high school!

How Is GPA Calculated?

Because there is no universal GPA calculation, there are a variety of ways that schools choose to calculate GPA. The most commonly used calculations are the 4.0 scale, the 4.0+ scale, and the weighted GPA.


As we touched upon earlier, the most common way GPA is calculated is by using the 4.0 scale. Using this scale, each letter grade you receive in a class is assigned a point value from 0.0 to 4.0. The most basic form of the 4.0 scale looks like this:

  • A = 4.0
  • B = 3.0
  • C = 2.0
  • D = 1.0
  • F = 0.0

To calculate your GPA using the 4.0 scale, add together all your point values and then divide by the number of classes you take. This will give you your average GPA.

4.0+ SCALE

The 4.0+ scale works much like the 4.0 scale listed above, with the addition of adding +/- to your grades.

On a 4.0+ scale, a perfect 4.0 is an A, while an A+ will be 4.3. Like with the 4.0 scale, to find your 4.0+ GPA you should add all your point values together and divide by the number of classes. Because this scale includes tricky decimal points, it may help to break out a calculator or use an online GPA calculator to help.


Your weighted GPA takes into account the number of credits a class is worth and if the class was an AP or college course. For example, your school may decide that Chemistry is worth 4 credits, versus World History which may only be worth 2 credits. College classes and AP courses are similarly given more weight than regular high school classes in the weighted GPA system.

Calculating your weighted GPA can involve a number of steps if you’re taking numerous credit classes or AP courses. We recommend using a GPA calculator or checking with your school’s guidance counselor to ensure you end up with your accurate GPA score.

The Dangers Of A Low GPA

Heading into your college search with a low GPA can cause a variety of headaches. Despite the lies you may be telling yourself to keep from worrying about your low GPA, there are tangible consequences for waiting too long to raise your GPA.

A low GPA score can create a series of obstacles for high school students looking to enter college, such as:

  • Lowing your chances of gaining acceptance to a variety of well-known, renowned, and cost-effective schools
  • Preventing you from winning scholarships and grants that are otherwise right for you
  • Lowering the total amount of free financial aid you receive
  • Keeping you from playing sports or joining prestigious organizations

However, there are plenty of ways to raise your GPA or stand out on your college applications to avoid these dangers.

5 Ways To Raise A Low GPA

Learning how to fix a low GPA won’t just raise your chances of being admitted into college, but will help you learn how to maintain that higher GPA in college as well. Take your time to make sure you understand what your GPA is, how it can work for you, and what tools you have to raise your GPA score.


You’ve heard “the first step to overcoming a problem is to admit there is one” before, and it’s no different in the world of academics. The first step to raising a low GPA is calculating what it actually is, and thankfully there are GPA calculators that can do the hard work for you.

Once you’ve calculated your GPA, it’s time to determine how much you can reasonably raise your score. When it comes to boosting your GPA score, you need to put in the hard work sooner rather than later. It is much easier for a high school freshman to raise their GPA than it is for a senior who’s staring college application deadlines in the face. A year’s worth of hard work on your grades can raise your GPA by several decimal points.


While much of the hard work that goes into fixing a low GPA will come down to you, there are plenty of people you can turn to for a helping hand. A bright young student taking the initiative to improve their GPA will likely find a supportive group to help that includes teachers, family, mentors, and friends.

Alongside these options, WeAdmit counselors live for helping students reach their full potential, and we know that a strong GPA score is a solid foundation for any good college application.

Never be ashamed of your GPA or afraid to reach out for help when raising your score. Everyone has to start somewhere. Your academic future is worth the work that goes into building a support network that can help you raise your GPA (as well as cheer you on throughout the rest of your academic career!)


While it’s never a good idea to stress over your exact GPA, you should put effort into using the resources and tools available to you to actively work toward raising your grades.

You can still challenge yourself with difficult courses and AP classes while working on your GPA, however, make sure you’re reasonably confident you can maintain a good grade before taking a class. If you’re unable to drop or switch out of a difficult class you’re currently in, take advantage of every opportunity you can to boost your grade: form study groups, create your own study material, and look for informative guides and videos to help explain challenging concepts.

Students looking for a big shift in their GPA need to learn how to raise their grades consistently rather than waiting until the end of the semester to ask for an extra credit project. Creating good study habits will help you fix your low GPA in high school and keep your GPA from becoming an issue in college.


For some students, it may be too late to raise your GPA in a meaningful way. If you’re already deep into your junior or senior year, you should shift your focus to getting prepared for the SATs and ACTs. These standardized tests are a key factor when college admissions officials sit down to consider your academic performance.

Raising your SAT and ACT scores can help boost your college application even when you have a low GPA. Focus on taking practice tests, following a study guide, and learning test-taking tips that will help you feel more confident when you take your tests.


Again, your GPA isn’t the only piece of your academic record that college admission officials will be reviewing. You can drastically improve your chances of getting into college by writing a strong personal essay on your application.

When working on your essay writing skills, focus on delivering an honest message as clearly as possible.

College admissions officials read your essays to gain a clear picture of who you are as a student. When your less-than-ideal GPA is paired with a passionate essay, you can work to paint a picture of a student that has potential but may need a bit of extra help along the way. This can also be a great chance to explain why your GPA is as low as it is, or to showcase how hard you’ve been working to turn your low GPA around!

Be Consistent To Raise Your GPA

In order to raise your GPA in a meaningful way, you have to become a better student overall. This means putting in the effort to work hard, study regularly, and reach out for help before you become overwhelmed. Not only will these habits help raise your GPA, but they’ll also put you on the right path toward being a successful college student.

Our WeAdmit counselors know that the path toward college success isn’t always clear. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to guide ambitious students through the college application process, including boosting their GPA whenever possible. We know that your college journey doesn’t just start the first day on campus, and we’re here to help you find the right path for you to take on your college journey.

You Can Raise Your Low GPA, And You Can Get Into College; So Let’s Get To Work!



Need more Information?

Gain all the information you need by getting in touch with our admissions team or booking a free 30-minute counseling session.