#114 Decoding GPA: Insights for College Admissions with Jess Chermak

In this episode, Lisa and Jess discuss:

  • Looking at school profiles can help you and your student better understand how their school uses GPA.
  • Understanding how colleges recalculate GPAs and how your student can use GPA calculators to better grasp their standing. 
  • Identifying the five core classes that most colleges use to generate the recalculated GPA used in admissions and what grades won’t matter on the transcript. 
  • Why grade inflation is a huge problem, including the inability of colleges to interpret a transcript accurately. 


Key Takeaways: 

  • GPA is not standardized across high schools, so colleges recalculate it. They typically only use core academic classes from 9-11 grade.
  • Weighted GPAs are not very meaningful since every school calculates them differently. Focus on unweighted core GPA. Grade inflation is also a major issue, making GPAs less reliable indicators of college readiness.
  • Colleges and universities do not typically see senior-year grades because of the timing of application deadlines. 
  • While a weighted GPA or inflated grade might feel good to your teen or you, it does not help with college applications or add meaning to transcripts. 


“A GPA is a grade point average. When you finish sophomore year with a 3.1, you’re not actually going to be able to increase that GPA significantly by the end of junior year. That should not deter you from trying really hard to increase your GPA.” – Jess Chermak


About Jess Chermak:

Jessica Chermak is an Independent Educational Consultant with over a decade of experience in academia and helping students navigate the college admissions process. She graduated from Chapman University with a BA in Psychology, and was awarded the SMART Scholarship to attend the University of Denver for an MA in Forensic Psychology. She is a Certified Educational Planner, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, and has served on the board of the College Consultants of Colorado. 

Jessica’s educational philosophy revolves around transparency, authenticity, and honesty in a field wracked with controversy. Above all else, she intends to dismantle the notion that college advising is only for the privileged and wealthy, seeking to buy their way into highly selective and elite institutions. Throughout the college application journey, she enables students to develop lifelong competencies to live meaningful and joyous lives. Her long-term goal is to provide affordable and equitable college advising opportunities to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status or demographic background.


Episode References:


Get Lisa’s Free on-demand video: How-to guide for your teen to choose the right major, college, & career…(without painting themselves into a corner, missing crucial deadlines, or risking choices you both regret). 



Connect with Jess:

Website: virtualcollegecounselors.com/ 

Email: info@virtualcollegecounselors.com 

X: twitter.com/VirtualCollegeC 

Instagram: instagram.com/virtualcollegecounselors/ 

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/virtual-college-counselors/ 

Facebook: facebook.com/TheVirtualCollegeCounselors 

YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UC9IMV1yWMBhLBhJ68zwaNlA 


Connect with Lisa:

Website: flourishcoachingco.com

YouTube: youtube.com/@flourishcoachingco

Instagram: instagram.com/flourishcoachingco

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/flourish-coaching-co

Access the episode transcript here