There are two grade point averages that are relevant to your academic standing. Your semester grade point average is the average of your grades for any one given semester of your college career. Your semester GPA is usually not as important as your cumulative GPA, but your most recent semester grade point average is probably the most important semester GPA to you. Your cumulative grade point average is the average of your grades overall, i.e., of all the grades throughout your college career (though for transfer students, your cumulative GPA here is the aggregate of courses taken at Wells or Wells-affiliated programs). Your cumulative grade point average is the one that universities and professional schools will ask about. Your cumulative GPA is the one used to determine if you are in good academic standing, if you can graduate, if you are to be placed on probation, etc. When someone asks you what your grade point average is, they will almost always mean your cumulative grade point average.
Grade point averages are computed for courses in which you earn grades
A-F and U, and their plus and minus forms. If you take a course pass/fail,
an F will affect your grade point average; a P will give you credit for
the course but will not affect your grade point average. Similarly, If
you take an S/U course, a U will affect your grade point average; an S
will give you credit but will not affect your GPA. Grades of I, W, WP,
WF, NR, and Z are also not included in the GPA calculation. Grades earned
in courses transferred from other institutions are not included in the
GPA calculation, but grades earned at affiliated off-campus programs, including
the Cornell, Ithaca College, and Cayuga Community College exchange and
cross-registration agreements, are included in the GPA calculation. The
calculation is taken to three decimal places and is not "rounded up" or
Each grade is assigned a numerical equivalent (see the Catalogue under "grade point average"). This numerical equivalent is used to determine how many "quality points" you receive for each course. You will need the quality point figure to determine your GPA. The numerical equivalents are as follows:
A+ = 4.3
A = 4.0
A- = 3.7
B+ = 3.3
B = 3.0
B- = 2.7
C+ = 2.3
C = 2.0
C- = 1.7
D+ = 1.3
D = 1.0
D- = 0.7
F = 0
U = 0
Grades of S (satisfactory) or P (pass) do not affect your grade point average, although you will receive credit for the course.
To find out how many quality points you have earned for each course, multiply
the number of semester hours the course bears
the numerical equivalent of the grade you received, as above
= The result is called the "quality points" for that course/grade.
For example, let's imagine a student who took MATH 111, 4 semester hours,
and earned a B+. To find out how many quality points this student earned,
take 4 (number of semester hours) times 3.3 (numerical equivalent for B+).
The result, 13.2, is the number of quality points for that course.
Semester grade point average
For your semester grade point average, figure out the number of quality
points by the method above for each course and add them. Divide
this sum of quality points for the semester by the number of
semester hours of courses in which you received the grades A-F or U.
Do not add in semester hours for courses in which you received a grade
of S or P (though you will have to add them in if you made a U or an F).
For example, let us assume that a student (we will call this student Pat. Example) had grades and quality points for a semester as follows:
MATH 111* 4 sem. hours B+ 13.2 quality points
FREN 101* 4 sem. hours A 16.0 quality points
WLLS 101* 3 sem. hours B 9.0 quality points
WLLS 111 1 sem. hour S
ART 117* 3 sem. hours B- 8.1 quality points
PE 100 1 sem. hour S
PE 180* 0.5 sem. hrs. U 0 quality points
The total number of quality points is 46.3.
The total number of semester hours that Pat Example took is 16.5, but to figure the GPA you divide the total number of quality points only by the number of semester hours in which Pat received grades of A-F or U. For this semester, these courses are the ones with an asterisk *. These are courses in which Pat received grades in the A and B range, but also a PE course, which normally would not be added into this total, but is for this case, since Pat earned a grade of U. The total number of semester hours for these courses is 14.5.
Divide the total quality points, 46.3, by the total number of semester
hours that are relevant, 14.5. The result is 3.193, Pat's grade point
average for the semester, not Pat's "cumulative" grade point
average (unless, of course, it is Pat's first semester, which it is).
Cumulative grade point average
If you have completed more than one semester at Wells, you must divide the total number of quality points you have earned by the total number of relevant semester hours, for all the semesters you have been at Wells or affiliated programs.
Let's assume that the grades you worked with above are for Pat Example's first semester at Wells. Let's assume that Pat made the following grades for the second semester.
MATH 112* 4 sem. hours C 8 quality points
FREN 102* 4 sem. hours A- 14.8 quality points
BIOL 126L* 4 sem. hours B 12.0 quality points
SOC 158* 3 sem. hours C+ 6.9 quality points
MUS 150 1 sem. hour S
Pat's total number of quality points for the second semester is 41.7. Dividing this sum by the relevant semester hour total, 15, gives a semester grade point average of 2.780.
For her cumulative grade point average, you must take total number of quality points from the beginning, 46.3 + 41.7 = 88.0 and divide by the total number of relevant semester hours from the beginning, 14.5 + 15 = 29.5.
The result is Pat's cumulative grade point average, 2.983.
After Pat's third semester, and each subsequent semester, there will
be a new total of quality points and semester hours to divide to arrive
at Pat's current cumulative GPA.
This page (How to Calculate Your GPA) is maintained by Diane Koester, Associate Dean for Academic and Learning Resources and Director of Academic Advising, who is solely responsible for its content. Please see our Statement of Responsibility. Last updated August 9, 2010.
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