An Average of Averages
A cumulative grade point average (GPA), or overall GPA, is calculated by dividing a student's total grade points from all semesters by the number of total credit hours. The resulting average gives a more comprehensive picture of a high school or college career than a semester or year GPA.
Cumulative GPA is the score that colleges and employers usually look at. It's an important measurement of consistency because it gives a long term perspective and demonstrates a solid track record of academic success. After all, a student who takes easy classes during the last half of their junior year might make all “A”s that semester, but a score that includes points earned from every semester provides a more accurate representation.
If you're interested in learning more about how cumulative GPA is calculated, you can find a more detailed explanation in our guide How to Calculate GPA. You can also keep track of your own cumulative GPA using our calculator—it saves your grades from each semester to make finding your current overall GPA a breeze!