Do Colleges Look at Letter Grades or Percentages?

There is no doubt that being in high school means constantly worrying about the colleges that you should apply to. Moreover, what causes even more stress is the recurring thought about the college that you will get into! However, your worries do not end here, do they? In choosing from a plethora of universities, students tend to focus on the universities’ academics, sports, campus, and many such aspects. Let us see more about Do Colleges Look at Letter Grades or Percentages?.

Do Colleges Look at Letter Grades or Percentages?

However, one cause of concern among students whether the colleges consider letter grades or percentages. The grading system is not similar in all schools; while one school evaluates students based on letter grades, another does the same by giving out percentages. This creates confusion and panic among students at the time of seeking admission to a new university or college. We suggest that you read further to clear all your doubts regarding this dilemma!

Percentages or Letter Grades: What Matters the Most?

If you are going out to fill out the application forms for universities this year, then do not fret for here all your doubts are prone to vanishing into thin air! Below is the list of facts that universities in the United States tend to focus on, be it letter grading or percentages.

  1. Universities are Aware of the Two Grading Systems Prevalent in the US: The universities in the United States, or for that matter, anywhere, are aware that the grading system in schools is not similar. They know that both letter grades and percentages occupy the grading system in schools!
  2. Universities Do Not Consider Either One as Absolute: Because the universities are quite aware of the grading systems prevalent in schools, it becomes obvious that the universities will not ask for either one! In other words, even if a university mentions in its application form that the students have to present their final percentage, this does not mean that letter grades do not count. 
  3. Universities Present Both Options: Thus, while filling out the online application of most universities, you will be presented with both the options, i.e, you can either fill the column asking your average percentage or the one asking for your average letter grade!

Do All Universities Give Both the Options of Letter Grades and Percentages?

Since the grading system in various schools differs, it is obvious that universities should provide the students with both options. However, if you do find out that the best suitable university for you is not offering the option that applies to the grading system of your school, then you do not need to panic! In such a situation, you can follow either of the two steps mentioned below:

Read the instructions again: The first thing to do in such a situation is to first read the instructions on the application form very carefully and thoroughly. It is believed that when you are quite stressed and your mind is going haywire, it becomes very difficult to focus on the thing at hand. Thus, if you find yourself in this situation, you must not go to the extremes of overthinking and must calm yourself and focus on the instructions on the application form. Why this step is recommended is because universities mention the process in their application forms. For instance, if your school evaluates you based on the letter grading systems, then you must be aware of what marks that letter stands for. If you have scored a B+ in one of your papers and the grade is equivalent to 3.33, then the university will specify what to multiply this grade with to know your percentage! 

Contact or Visit the University: Although there is less chance of this happening, however, if you find out that the university has not specified any such thing, then the best thing to do is to contact the university regarding the same. If the instructions are still ambiguous, then you can visit the university instead and talk to the person in charge regarding the clarity of the instructions!

The Grading System of the United States

Now that you have ample information regarding what to fill in the application forms of universities, you can move a step further and read all about the grading system prevalent in the US so that the lucidity of your concepts remains intact! 

The Letter Grades from A to F: In the US schools where the evaluation of students is done via letter grades, it is claimed that the letter stands for a certain range of numbers. For instance, the letter grades in schools start from A to F, with no existence of the letter E. So, if you get an A on a test, then it implies that your marks might range between 90 to 100! Similarly, if you score a B grade, then your marks might range from 80 to 89. Getting a grade of D still means that you passed, i.e, that you scored between 59 to 69. However, bagging an F might get you into some trouble as it indicates that you failed that particular paper. Nevertheless, you can still work hard and improve your grades!

Universities Have Different GPA Scales: As mentioned before that the schools have different evaluation methods, you must also know that the universities in the US evaluate students based on different methods as well. For instance, while one university might have a GPA scale that goes up to 4.0, another might have a GPA scale that goes up to the number 10! Therefore, if you receive an A grade then you might be in the range of either the 3 out of 4 GPA or the 9 out of 10 GPA! Nevertheless, although it is said the scores that you receive reflect a lot on your academics, these grades are not everything. You must know that a lot of factors come into existence when you receive your grades, including your home/hostel environment, study environment, and even your financial stability and instability.


After going through the article thoroughly, all your doubts must have been cleared by now! In short, now you know that there is no one unanimous grading system used either by schools or colleges, and thus, when you go for higher education, the universities consider both the methods of grading. They provide you with both options and you can fill the one that applies to you. Moreover, now you know what to do if the universities do not provide both options. And lastly, as students, you must know that while grades are essential, they are not everything!

Frequently Asked Questions:
  1. Which are some of the best universities to pursue a Master’s in the US?

You can go for Colombia University, the University of California, or Boston University!

  1. Can I get an E grade in school?

No, the grades range from A to F, with E being an exception.

Do Colleges Look at Letter Grades or Percentages?

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