A-Minus effect on GPA and how do IVY LEAGUES recalculate GPA?


I am a rising junior, and I am very worried about my GPA.

I have a lot of A-minuses, which are counted as 4.00 in most high schools. I recently heard that IVY LEAGUE schools weigh an A- as a 3.7, rather than a 4.00.

So does that mean that if you have an A- average, you have a 3.7 GPA? Prepscholar's calculator says that this is VERY incompetitive for top schools like Stanford/Harvard.

Also, I know some people that put ZERO effort into their work, but still get A/A+ in all of their classes. Particularly, their schools are unranked, very laid-back, and usually include many unmotivated minorities in the student body that make them stand out (while they don't even try).

I know that colleges look at the school rank when considering GPA. So my school is "US NEWS Gold Ribbon", Number 26 in California, and Number 200 in the country. Would this school be "competitive" enough for them to consider my A- average the same as an A+ average at a low-end school where you don't have to try hard to earn high grades?

I heard from someone that colleges are looking more and more on the SAT/ACT because the GPAs are inflated and unfair all over the country? Is this true?

I am just very worried about the fact that I did not know about the A-minuses and this can completely ruin my chances of getting accepted to top-10 schools of the country.

Thank you for your help!

I'd recommend taking a look at the answer to this question on whether colleges recalculate GPAs. Ivy League schools don't have a special GPA recalculation process that differentiates them from other colleges. They'll just look at your GPA as recorded by your high school and then consider it in the context of the difficulty level of the courses you've taken and how challenging your school is known to be.

You're correct that if your high school is extremely competitive, an A- average may be viewed more favorably than an A average at a school that is less so, but there's no definitive system that says "an A- at School X = an A+ at School Y". Likewise, I don't think colleges are putting more emphasis on standardized testing, especially considering the fact that the SAT has changed so significantly in the past year. Test scores and GPA are still of relatively equal importance in the application process. Just remember that with GPA, the number itself isn't all that significant - it's the levels of the classes you took to get there, your rank compared to other students at your school, and, as you mention, the reputation of your high school in general.

My advice is to worry less about comparing yourself to students at other high schools (and avoid describing whole groups of people as "unmotivated"). Just continue doing the best you can in difficult classes and getting ready for standardized tests. There is no exact formula for acceptance into a top ten school, but chances are if you're this concerned about it you're probably doing just fine. If you haven't already, you can also read Allen's article on how to get into these highly competitive schools - it sheds a lot of light on the process.