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How to Reach a Desired GPA

Let's say that you find yourself in a situation where you really need to reach a certain GPA threshold. Perhaps you need to attain a 3.0 for a scholarship, or maybe you need to get to 2.35 to pledge for a fraternity or sorority. Whatever the reason, if you know your current GPA and credits completed, and you know how many hours you plan to take, you can calculate what GPA you must earn to get to a new cumulative GPA.

In order to get where you want to go, you must first know where you are! For example, let's say your current GPA is 2.878, and let's say you've completed 56 graded credits. You need to get a 3.0 overall, and you are signed up to take 14 hours in the coming semester. What grades must you earn in order to reach a 3.0? Well, let's break it down a little. Using the information available:

  GPA Graded Credits Grade Points
Current 2.878 56 ??? (A)
Taking ??? (B) 14 ??? (C)
Desired 3.000 ??? (D) ??? (E)

Since (GPA) * (Graded Credits) = (Grade Points), (A)-above = 56 * 2.878, or 161.168

The total Graded Credits once you've completed the upcoming semester (D) will be 56 + 14, or 70.

Now our table will look like this:

  GPA Graded Credits Grade Points
Current 2.878 56 161.168
Taking ??? (B) 14 ??? (C)
Desired 3.000 70 ??? (E)

Total Grade Points (E) is obtained under the same formula as above (GPA X Graded Credits), so 3.000 X 70 = 210. If the total Grade Points will be 210, and you currently have 161.168, then we can solve for the Grade Points needed (C). This becomes 48.332 (210 - 161.168).

Now the table appears as:

  GPA Graded Credits Grade Points
Current 2.878 56 161.168
Taking ??? (B) 14 48.332
Desired 3.000 70 210

Now all that's left is to solve for (B) - the GPA required on the 14 credits to help reach the desired GPA. Using the same formula again: (GPA) * (Graded Credits) = (Grade Points), so (Grade Points) / (Graded Credits) = (GPA), thus 48.332 / 14 = 3.488. So if you were in the situation above, you would need to complete the 14 hours with a 3.448, or about an A- GPA to reach the 3.0 level.

In trying to make this as clear as possible, I've also made it rather lengthy. It is really not that difficult, but it has several steps. I've included a quick utility to aid with this process. The Threshold GPA Utility makes it easy to calculate the grade point average required to reach a desired GPA.

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