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  • Writer's pictureWill Helms

Do you know your GPA?

Simple question, right? It's usually listed on your report card or student profile. But do you know the correct GPA? Your core GPA, you know the one that actually matters.

High schools don't usually track it, colleges use it exclusively. Unfortunately, that means it's up to you to calculate it yourself.

It also means that more than a few recruits have looked at their passing regular GPA and falsely assumed they would be college eligible only to find out late in the process that their core GPA left work to be done.

The NCAA Sliding Scales for Division 1 and Division II clearly defines the required combinations of core GPA and test scores. But schools often have requirements that go above and beyond the base level listed by the NCAA. Just like a coach would rather have a player with a 4.4-forty than a 4.7-forty, teams prefer student-athletes that exceed the school's minimum academic requirements over the ones that barely hit the lowest mark.

Calculate your own core GPA:

While the NCAA and your future college will calculate your core GPA on an officially basis, you should calculate your own. As scary as it sound, it isn't hard.

For 99.9% of students, core calculation is super simple.

First, count up the total number of core classes you've taken. A core class is simply a qualifying math, science, English, social studies or foreign language class.

If you've taken these classes at a normal pace, they'll count. (For example, you took English 1 as before or during your freshman year, English 2 sophomore year, and so on, you're good to go).

Next, look at your letter grade -- regardless of how your school calculates your internal GPA -- and assign it a point value: 4 for an A, 3 for a B, 2 for a C and 1 for D.

Now, add all of those numbers up and divide by the number of classes you've taken. This should give you a rough estimate of your core GPA. You may get to a fraction of a point here or there for a class deemed more difficult (e.g. an Honors or AP class) but overall, this method of calculation will give you an accurate enough number.

A Couple Final Thoughts:

First, you need to take at least 16 core classes to be eligible. Typically, this happens naturally. As a rule of thumb, just take a math, English, science and social science/history each year. This will add to 16, even before the foreign languages (You should take two semesters of the same language).

Note: The NCAA only counts your 16 highest core class grades.

If you got an unsatisfactory grade in a class, taking a 17th core class will override the low grade, as long as you get a better grade. Don't overload yourself, but know that taking an extra core class or two can dramatically increase your core GPA.

Lastly, be aware of the 10-6 rule. Again, if you're doing things normally, this won't affect you. Still, just be aware.

You must complete at least 10 core classes after your sixth semester.

Basically, don't plan on taking seven core classes as a senior. Seriously. Even if this weren't a rule, it's just dumb. Be smart.

As always, I'm a resource. If you'd prefer to have me calculate your core GPA for you, shoot me an email,

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