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Welcome to weighted GPAs, Class of 2021

Mariella Caruso

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The Class of 2017 had multiple valedictorians. Photo courtesy of Bellarmine Prep

Bellarmine has always graduated intelligent students as emphasized by the large number of valedictorians. According to counselor Marie Krueger, the graduated class of ‘17 included 16 valedictorians and 13 salutatorians, the largest group in the past three years.

However, this impressive number of valedictorians is about to drastically decrease with the freshman class of ‘21.

Starting with this year’s freshman class, Bellarmine is implementing a new policy of weighted GPAs. Weighted GPAs account for the type of classes that a student takes. And, starting with this freshman class, courses will be weighted differently than in previous years. Honors and Advanced Placement classes will be weighted more, so that an A earns 5.0 points, compared to 4.0 in a regular class. This new change will emphasize the amount of challenging classes a student takes.

When asked what caused this change in Bellarmine policy, counselor Cameron Irving said, “Having so many valedictorians started to seem unequal for students, and diminished the honor of being recognized as valedictorian. Now there will only be one student – possibly two if the students are tied – that will be recognized as valedictorian for the class of ‘21.” In previous years, a student who had taken regular courses and maintained a 4.0 or 3.99 GPA would be recognized at graduation alongside a student who had taken honors and AP classes during high school. This new policy will change that.

Students might be wondering, how will weighted GPAs affect applications to colleges?

No need to fear.

Irving said, “GPAs are ranked to determine valedictorian status. Colleges will see an unweighted GPA transcript when applications are submitted.” This means that there will be no separation between prospective students applying to colleges in terms of rank. However, the rigor of a student’s courseload will separate students from each other.

After years of graduating students using a policy of unweighted GPAs, the class of ‘21 are the guinea pigs for this new system. But do they know that it’s new?

When asked how Bellarmine students would know about this change, counselor Erik Michels says, “The changes are published in the Bellarmine Student Handbook under Policies and Procedures.”

Found on page 20, the exact statement concerning weighted GPAs reads: “The weighted GPA is used solely for the purpose of recognizing and designating valedictorians and salutatorians and will factor in the weight of AP and Honors level courses on a 5.0 scale.

The valedictorian(s) is the students with the highest weighted GPA and the salutatorian(s) is the student with the second highest weighted GPA. Please note that Bellarmine official transcripts reflect an unweighted GPA (4.0 scale).”

So for aspiring Class of 2021 students, buckle down and hit the books. Only one student will come out on top.


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Mariella Caruso, Reporter

Mariella Caruso is a senior at Bellarmine this year, and is excited about serving as part of the Lion Newspaper staff this year! In addition to being involved...

Welcome to weighted GPAs, Class of 2021