On the 4.0 scale, an unweighted 4.0 GPA means perfection. You need straight A’s in every class – not even one A- is allowed. In college applications, this carries a lot of weight – you’re essentially telling the college, “high school classes are a cinch. I’ve taken a tough courseload, and I’m more than prepared for what college has to throw at me.”
In high school, I got a 4.0 GPA with a courseload featuring 10 AP courses. I got straight A’s and 12 A+’s. This strong courseload, along with a strong application, got me into Harvard and every college I applied to.
While it's flattering to say, "well, Allen's just a smart guy," in reality I relied a lot more on high level strategy and strong academic habits. These were the same strategies I applied to my undergraduate work at Harvard and led me to graduate with a 3.95 GPA and summa cum laude. This is the guide I wish I had in freshman year of high school.