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The Hoya Way to Deciding Whether or Not to Pass/Fail

We're in the home stretch! The final day to decide if you'd like to take your courses for Pass/Fail and if you'd like to withdraw from a course is this Thursday, December 10th at midnight.

The official notice from our deans:

Fall 2020 Grading Policy - Student Decision period ends on Thursday, December 10, 11:59 p.m. ET.

For the fall 2020 semester, Undergraduate students will have the option to choose one of two grading frameworks, either:

  1. a letter grade, or

  2. Satisfactory (S), Credit (CR), or No-credit (NC).

Note that S = grades A through C; CR = C-, D+, D, and NC = F.

Making the decision to take a course for pass-fail can be particularly stressful around this time of year. On one hand, taking certain courses for P/F can help you stress less about those grades and dedicate more time and focus on the courses you are taking for a letter grade. On the other hand, a lot of us might be concerned with how the P/F letter might look on our transcripts.

Although here at The Hoya Way, we can't give you each a personalized recommendation about what's the best step to take, we have created a final grade calculator to help you make your decision before the deadline on Thursday at Midnight.

STEP 1: Make a copy of this template

We've given you five example sheets on how to use this with the formulas already pre-entered. The only columns that you shouldn't need to adjust are marked off in grey. These will automatically update as you adjust the values in the other columns. The information for the grade weight column is usually found in your course syllabus.

STEP 2: Fill it out with your current grades and mark unsubmitted grades in yellow

Make sure to adjust the values in the "total" row if you add more assignment sections (right-click > add row). Now, you can compare your projected final grade to your desired grade. By adjusting yellow box values you can also test the minimum grade needed on final assignments in order to achieve your desired grade.

STEP 3: Reach out to your professors and your academic dean

When in doubt, reach out to your trusted advisors and mentors and talk it out! It can be reassuring to make sure that your final decision is adult and advisor-approved, even though at the end of the day the decision is ultimately yours. Some things you can consider while making the decision:

  1. Will taking this pass/fail help to relieve the pressure that is causing me a lot of stress?

  2. Will taking this class P/F allow me to spend more time on other courses that I care more about? and maybe even improve my grades with the extra time?

  3. When/if job interviewers ask me about the P/F on my transcript do I have a good explanation that I can lay out for them? (Time zone difference, personal/family situation, internet access, financial burden, etc)\

  4. Even if I don't get a perfect grade, does taking this course for a grade reflect how hard I've worked this semester for this course?

STEP 4: Once you've made your decision, commit to it

If you've decided to take the course for P/F, take any stress that you have about the course and throw it out the window. Don't dedicate any more time worrying about your grade for this course and focus on doing well for your other courses instead. If you've decided to take the course for a letter grade, study your ass off and make it count!

Good luck this finals season! You've got this!

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