With most people taking several or all online classes, learning during a pandemic can be a struggle.

You might be worried (I know I am) about how your semester grades might look like while you’re adapting to a new learning environment.

For example, I personally have all online classes and currently live about an hour away from campus.

I’ve found learning where I live to be hard because of distractions that we don’t usually have in a classroom setting. This, added to stress and concerns about COVID-19, leads to more distractions when I study.

If you’re in a similar situation, you might be thrilled to hear that the deadlines to change class grading methods and drop classes has been extended through the end of the semester.

But just because you can switch to a Pass/No Credit grading option, should you?

Darcie Anderson is an advisor in the WSU Warrior Success Center and she often has conversations with students who are thinking about changing the grading method for a class.

Here are some of the pros and cons she asks students to consider:

Pros

  1. Changing the grading method of a class to Pass/No Credit does not hurt your GPA
  2. You can take up to 6 Pass/No Credit credits per semester. This includes classes that are already set up as Pass/No Credit and classes that you decide to take as Pass/No Credit.
  3. Pass/No Credit classes do count toward graduation requirements (you need at least 120 credits total)

Cons

  1. Usually, you can’t take a class that is required for your major or minor, or a professional course, as a Pass/No Credit class. However, the department chair may decide to grant you an exception.
  2. If you receive a No Credit grade, you can retake the class another semester. But when you repeat the class, you have to take a letter grade and that grade will count toward your GPA.
  3. Letter grades do tend to “look better” on your academic record, as they better represent your progress in a course.

It is always a good idea to talk with your advisor and the instructor of the course before changing the grading method of a class. Your advisor will help you navigate these pros and cons based on your specific situation.

You can also talk to your instructor if you’re concerned about your grade (and honestly, they might be concerned too since they do the grading). Professors and instructors are taking student struggles into consideration to make the most of our learning.

The decision to change the grading method of a class can be hard to make.

However, as students it is our responsibility to do what we think is best for our learning and success. Thankfully, there are advisors at WSU who can guide us when we need help with decisions like changing grade methods.

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Brooklynn Howell

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