Picture these two scenarios:
Scenario 1: Two students have the exact same GPA (let's say a 3.00). Student A has consistently demonstrated this GPA... his average semester has about 3-4 Bs and 1-2 As and Cs. Student B was a slower starter. His first couple of years, he got mostly Cs, the occasional B, and the occasional D. After realizing his "purpose in life", he kicks things into gear and makes straight As for his remaining two years. His final GPA is a 3.00. If you are a college admissions officer, which do you pick?
Scenario 2: Student B, from the earlier example is applying to another school as well. His competitor is Student C, an all-around excellent student. Student C has been consistent throughout college, and his GPA is a 3.8. Student B's GPA is still a 3.00. Who do you pick now?
I wrote all of that to demonstrate that the story behind your GPA counts... if you are competiting against someone with similar numbers. However, a college is going to look out for its best interests, which entails picking the higher numbers.