9 months ago
Admissions Advice

Will opting in for a pass/fail grading system cause me to get an acceptance rescinded?

My school is giving the option of replacing a grade (A-D) with a "P" option (pass) and replacing an F with a "NC" option (no credit). We can apply this choice to any number of classes that we want and will appear as a P/NC on the transcript. Will opting in for this pass/no-pass option for my classes affect the chances of an offer of admission being rescinded?

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3 answers

Accepted Answer
9 months ago

Since you are asking about having an acceptance from a university rescinded, I will assume that you are a second-semester senior and have been admitted into a university. Congratulations! :)

COVID-19 has definitely caused a lot of academic challenges for high schoolers and I am sure your situation is no exception. Since you are a senior and have been admitted into a university, I will say that taking the pass/fail option will have no impact on the chance of your application being rescinded by a University. This is because University recognize the impacts of COVID on student mental health and the added stress of high school academics. But make sure you pass all of your classes!

That being said, for any readers who are freshman, sophomores and juniors, it will be helpful for you all to continue being assessed in a grade-system. This is for many reasons, including proper assessment of academic abilities in the classroom by admissions officers. Unfortunately having a pass an advanced level class is too vague, and will not stand out against another applicant who has an A in the same type of class.

9 months ago

It depends on why you opt in and the state of your transcript before this option appeared. If the transcript had letter grades for the previous semester, then suddenly has a P/NC grade, the colleges would probably look twice and wonder a little bit. If you're switching to P/NC because you got a really low grade, then you should be prepared to answer questions about why you switched and why you got a lower grade. If you have a high grade already, you probably shouldn't replace it with P/NC because that's just a little weird and suspicious. The safest thing to do is talk to your region's admissions officer (you can usually find their email address and/or phone number on the college's website) and ask them what the ramifications would be. It would really help to explain your circumstances, especially if you received a lower grade due to something like illness or some other unexpected event out of your control. Just make sure, though, that you're not slacking off just because you got accepted already. Hope this helped!

9 months ago[edited]


I've heard of a couple of schools doing something similar due to COVID but I do not know anyone who has openly done it so it is interesting and new to me. First of all, I would like to ask what this does to your GPA? I think there is a lot to consider, what schools are you aiming for? What do your grades look like? Are your grades hurting your academic profile? What major are you looking to go into?

I do think that replacing an F with a No Credit will probably be beneficial, but I cannot say about the Pass. It really depends on how much those grades are hurting you and whether the Pass will hurt you more than the grades. I'm no expert, but I would imagine that if I saw a "pass" on someone's transcript, I would think they are trying to cover up a terrible grade, so I probably wouldn't do it unless the grade is that bad (so Ds and maybe, just maybe, Cs depending on how many and the weight).

Consider what grade you are in, you may easily be able to salvage a fallen GPA if you are a freshman or sophomore, or even a junior, but the senior year would be harder.

The purpose of those options is mainly because COVID has affected us all and caused a lot of grades to drop. So, do you really need it? I would imagine the best scenario (well, not best but I guess the situation that this was designed for) would be where COVID has made learning extremely hard for someone.

I hope this helped!


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