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Articles / Applying to College / How Should Hawaiian Student Report GPA on Applications?
Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Sept. 26, 2011

How Should Hawaiian Student Report GPA on Applications?

Question: I'm currently a sophomore in high school living in Hawaii. I go to a Hawaii public school and we have specific standards as far as grading is concerned (all + and - are not included in final grades). Also, I'm in AP courses. Since these both affect my GPA, I was wondering what GPA to give colleges in my applications. Weighted and/or unweighted? THE Hawaii State standards or the GPA I would get going to a school on the mainland? Thank you for your time.

When it’s time to apply to colleges, you will probably see a section in your applications where you are asked to self-report your GPA. Here, you should provide the same GPA that is on your official high school transcript. If you’re not sure what that is, ask your guidance counselor. If your transcript gives more than one GPA (e.g., a weighted one and an unweighted), give the highest one. (The application form usually asks you to also indicate if the GPA is weighted or not.)


Do you feel that your cumulative GPA will be hurt by the local policy of omitting pluses and minuses? (e.g., your freshman English teacher told you that you got a “B+” but it will be counted as just a “B” in your GPA). If so, you can use the “Additional Information” section of your applications to list the grades that should have had a plus attached to them, and then explain that Hawaiian grading protocol eliminates those pluses.

BUT … if there were only one or two pluses throughout your four years in high school … or if you received as many minuses as you did pluses (or more :(), then just let it go.

You should also check out your “School Profile” (a document that will accompany your application to colleges … every high school has one) to make sure that the grading system is clearly spelled out. The typical school profile explains if or how grades are weighted as well as other school-specific practices that can help college admission committees compare applicants, although this is usually something of an apples vs. oranges process anyway. :shock:

(posted 9/26/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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