GPA for UCLA. Let’s Talk about it.

GPA — One number that encompasses who knows what; one number that schools and parents obsess so much; one number that determines your chance to enter a prestigious college like UCLA.

https://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/campuses-majors/ucla/freshman-admission-profile.html

I struggled to raise my GPA because I did not know how did it even work. For example, did you know that an A earns you 4 GPA points and a B earns you 3 points? And did you know if the course is not credited, it doesn’t count as part of your GPA? Did you know if you simply add all your points and divide them by the total number of credited courses, you get your GPA?

I did not know the rules, and I couldn’t figure out a strategy to raise my GPA.

In this post, I would like to explore the following questions:

  • What does GPA represent?
  • How is it calculated?
  • How to increase your GPA?
  • Why care about GPA?

Grade Point Average represents the average academic performance of a particular period of time.

My junior GPA is 3.6.

My first-year GPA is 2.8.

It makes sense that schools and parents obsess with your GPA. That is an important indicator that if you are doing well in school and, maybe, just maybe, you will do well in life.

And that’s all I want to say about GPA for the extrinsic reason. What does GPA represent to a student like you?

I coach students and help them to overcome academic difficulties. They hate to look at their GPAs, and they hate when people judge them by their GPAs. I told them, people don’t judge you based on your GPA. People judged you before your GPA, and GPA results from that judgment on your academic performance. If you do not have a good GPA, it’s not 100% your fault but mainly your fault. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you asked your teacher how to fix your GPA?
  • Have you asked around and ask people how they raise their GPA?
  • Have you spent enough time and do your due diligence as an active learning member in each class?
  • Did you pick a class that you are not interested in or too challenging?
  • When you see a “D” on your assignment, do you talk to someone to seek improvement before the next assignment?
Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

An athlete who spends time training might not be the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) but will certainly not perform poorly. Your GPA represents your ability to manage your role as a student in an environment where learning progress is being graded.

Nothing more.

GPA is calculated based on two numbers: Total GPA Points and Total GPA Hours/Credits

GPA point in a class= class grade point (A=4; B=3; C=2; D=1; F=0) multiply number of units for that class

*If you are in high school, then every class is just 1 unit.

Total GPA Points = sum of all GPA points from all course taken with a letter grade

Total GPA Units = sum of all the units that contribute to your total GPA points

GPA = GPA Points/GPA Units

Let’s raise that GPA mathematically.

A college student has a cumulative 3.4 GPA and would like to raise it to a 3.6 within a year.

Assuming he has earned 60 units — the total GPA points are 3.4 x 60 = 204, and he can earn 32 units a year this year.

Thus,

Current GPA = 204/60=3.4
Prospecting GPA = (204 + ?)/(60+32)>3.6 → (204+?)>331.2 → ?>127.2

So, if he is taking 32 units in the next year, try to get an average GPA of 3.975 or higher to raise your GPA to 3.6.

A high school student has a 3.4 GPA in Sophmore and wants to obtain a 3.6 GPA in Junior.

He has a 3.4 GPA in Sophmore that encompasses two As and three Bs.

To get a higher GPA, like 3.6 GPA, he needs to work harder on one of the three classes and boost that one B grade to an A grade.

But remember, GPA simply measures your academic performance.

Let’s raise that GPA strategically and behaviorally, or here are some actions to take and raise your GPA.

3 Best Practices

On Sunday, review last week’s progress and seek improvement and make mental notes on how to do better next week. Use the table below to do 3 weeks of checkups before you get into a habit.

Week 1Are you satisfied with your performance last week? 1-10
What can you improve next week?
Week 2Are you satisfied with your performance last week? 1-10
What can you improve next week?
Week 3Are you satisfied with your performance last week? 1-10
What can you improve next week?

At the same time, preview next week’s class agenda and upcoming assignments and exams. Schedule your time to work on the upcoming classwork on your calendar.

Week 1What are the upcoming assignments? How much time do you need for each assignment? When will you have time to do it?
What are the upcoming exams? How much time do you need to prepare for each exam? When will you have time to do it?

Mark those schedules on your calendar immediately.
Week 2What are the upcoming assignments? How much time do you need for each assignment? When will you have time to do it?
What are the upcoming exams? How much time do you need to prepare for each exam? When will you have time to do it?

Mark those schedules on your calendar immediately.
Week 3What are the upcoming assignments? How much time do you need for each assignment? When will you have time to do it?
What are the upcoming exams? How much time do you need to prepare for each exam? When will you have time to do it?

Mark those schedules on your calendar immediately.

Take notes in every class. Think that note-taking in class is a requirement, not an option. The amount and detail of the notes almost don’t matter. Just write something. Suppose you want to be more effective in note-taking. Check out Smart Note-Taking Tip Sheet.


When you see any assignments on a syllabus, you should start planning ahead immediately. Ask yourself:

  • Is there a sample work I can see?
  • Is there a rubric for the assignment?
  • What are the professor’s expectations?
  • Is there any obstacle? Where do I get help if I need to?
  • When to start? Where to start? 

Use the mighty Google Doc to compile your class materials, notes, quizzes, and practice test in one place. Create a study guide before you start to study and add more content as you study more and more. Your study guide will serve as the last-minute cram before your exam. Take every schoolwork as a project and the class learning before the due date as preparation.


For more, you may visit UC Berkeley’s Strategic Learning Program to gain more ideas.

Why care about GPA? The answer is that you do not care about your GPA. Care about academic effort and optimize study methods according to GPA’s up and down.

I hope that this post resolves the struggle of raising your GPA and you can finally enjoy learning and stop worrying.

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