Understanding the Pass/Fail Option

Have you ever heard a professor say that you can make their class “pass/fail,” but have no idea what they’re talking about? Let us explain.

To get a degree, colleges often have a set of courses or credits you must take outside of the ones required for your major. Some of these classes do not require a graded system, so instead, you can elect for the pass/fail option, where your transcript will only say “pass” if you pass, and “fail” if you fail.

So, why or why not choose the pass/fail option?

Pros

The pass/fail option was created for two reasons: to allow students with a declared major to take courses of interest outside of their major, and to allow students who haven’t yet decided on a major explore potential areas of interest. Let’s say, for example, you’re majoring in Finance but you have a deep-rooted interest in Art History. You’re worried that if you take an Art History course and aren’t good at it, your GPA is in trouble. This is where the pass/fail option comes in handy; you might not do well in the course but as long as you pass, you’ll get the credits and it won’t affect your GPA. This is a great way to reduce some stress and allow some academic leeway for students wanting to explore new fields.

 

 

Cons

Since there’s really no incentive to give 100% while taking a class pass/fail, choosing this option might increase the temptation to slack off a bit. You have to do the work no matter what, so if you don’t pay attention in class or don’t show up, it’ll be tough to do so. The pass/fail option also doesn’t look so great on your transcript if it’s there multiple times. One or two pass/fail courses should be fine, but more may appear like you’re not willing to try hard enough to work for a letter grade.

 

Now what?

The pass/fail policies are different for every school, so be sure to do your research before making the decision to make your class pass/fail. Weigh out the pros and cons, and make your decision based on what you feel is right. You should be very selective about which classes you want to make pass/fail, so make sure it’s worth it!

Do you still have questions about the pass/fail option? Let us know in the comments!

*Written by Emily Binder, Tulane University. 

0

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Popular Articles
9 Study Hacks to Help You Nail Your Next Exam

9 Study Hacks to Help You Nail Your Next Exam
10.01.18

Exams in college are inevitable, but that doesn't mean everybody will hunker down for a thorough study session before their big test. After all, studying can Read More…
9 Books to Add to Your Winter Reading List

9 Books to Add to Your Winter Reading List
11.30.18

We can't think of anything cozier than curling up indoors with a good book on a cold winter day. If you're on the same page as Read More…
7 Most Common Financial Mistakes College Students Make

7 Most Common Financial Mistakes College Students Make
08.08.16

Brought to You by Our Partners at College Ave Student Loans Managing your finances without the close supervision of a parent can feel both exhilarating and Read More…
5 Expenses You Might Be Able to Cut Back On

5 Expenses You Might Be Able to Cut Back On
11.12.18

Brought to You by our Partners at College Ave Student Loans It's a well-known fact that one of the best ways to save more is to spend less. Unfortunately, Read More…
The College Juice © 2018