The College Search

Why So Many 4.0 GPA's on SuperMatch?

Question: How are average GPAs computed for purposes of College Confidential's Supermatch College Search?

The College Search lists at least 31 colleges with Average GPAs of 4, the highest unweighted GPA possible. If they have average GPAs of 4.0, more than half of their incoming freshmen must have high school unweighted GPAs of 4.0 and GPAs must be rounded up, as it would be mathematically impossible to have such an average otherwise.

Do Olin, WUSL, MIT, Pomona, Notre Dame, Rice, Northwestern, Duke, Chicago, Yale, Columbia, Amherst, Dartmouth, Harvard, Stanford, Williams, Claremont McKenna, Carleton, Tufts, Cornell, Vassar, Middlebury, Swarthmore, Wesleyan, Brown, Bowdoin, Haverford, Cooper Union, Washington and Lee, Wellesley, and Georgetown ALL have freshman classes containing a large majority of students with perfect high school GPAs as reported? This seems impossible to me. If they do not, why are they listed as having Average GPAs of 4?

I am particularly interested in the answer to this question because my son has an ACT of 35 but will have an unweighted 3.9 after his junior year due to several grades of B+ in AP classes.

You've raised a good question, which I relayed to the Hobsons honchos who created SuperMatch.

From that, I've learned that the "elite" colleges you've named do not provide an official average GPA to prospective students and their families. Thus, any time some critical piece of information is missing from a school profile (GPA, SAT's, ACT's), the SuperMatch team employs a formula that estimates the missing data based upon the available data.

But, as you've pointed out, when it comes to certain hyper-competitive colleges, this formula is slightly flawed. GPA's at Amherst, Swarthmore, MIT, et al are very high but they're not THAT high! And your son, with an unweighted 3.9, will certainly be in the running everywhere he applies.

So I've passed your query over to the Hobsons SuperMatch team and they are returning to the drawing board ... thanks to you.

If you keep an eye on SuperMatch you will see a change in the near future ... possibly an "est." next to the GPA (meaning "estimated").

I hope that helps and I also hope that SuperMatch was able to direct your son to colleges and universities that meet his other academic and preference selections, even if the GPA part was a tad confusing.

(posted 5/30/2012)