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Student Advising

Peer Adviser Post: When to Pass/D/Fail

When to Pass/D/Fail
By Jen Bai CC ‘13


Thursday, March 28 is the last day for CC students to pass/fail a class. Inevitably, on this day there will be a long line of students waiting in Kent to turn in the P/D/F form. A good question to ask ourselves before joining the queue is how are we supposed to use the pass/fail option?

(Keep in mind that we are only allowed to pass/fail one course per semester, not including ones that are automatically pass/fail, such as physical education classes.)

The main reason for having the option to pass/fail is that it gives us the freedom to venture outside of our academic comfort zones. As a student body that is in general highly concerned with GPA, we are often reluctant to take courses that might jeopardize this number. Pass/fail offers the opportunity to take a course that is challenging or different without fear of your GPA being penalized. At the end of the semester, you can choose to either keep the course grade as pass/fail or uncover the grade, without leaving any evidence that it was once pass/failed.

My advice is to try to use pass/fail only for courses that you take just for kicks. I recommend against pass/failing classes that are within your major or minor because those are the classes into which you should be putting the most effort. However, sometimes a class within your field is much more challenging than anticipated, and pass/failing is understandable.

Good luck with midterms, everyone! Spring break is right around the corner (followed soon by the pass/fail deadline)!

If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at: csapeeradvising@columbia.edu


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