Pass/Fail policy put in place at SLU


Ashlee Kothenbeutel

Graphic by Ashlee Kothenbeutel

When the SLU community officially went on spring break on March 9, many students expected that they would arrive back to campus on the following Monday, prepared to complete the rest of the semester as usual. However, that was not the case, as coronavirus cases in the United States began to multiply rapidly.

Most students, besides those with special circumstances, were told to gather their things from SLU and stay home the rest of the semester. Not only did coronavirus affect students’ living environment, but it also took away all students’ traditional learning settings. E-Learning has taken the front stage of every student’s education process—including SLU. 

Even though technology and online academic resources were a huge part of SLU’s traditional campus setting, it’s a large shift to go completely virtual. While some students may be thriving with tools like Zoom and Blackboard, other students may not be. Yet, all students were expected to make the necessary adjustments to virtual learning. 

SLU, while keeping in mind a student’s ability to successfully succeed in their courses without a traditional learning setting, has decided to allow for a pass/fail option. This option allows for students to receive a pass, low pass or fail, rather than a standard letter grade. However, a student doesn’t have to make any classes pass/fail if they don’t want to. Tara Burke, freshman, commented on the optional policy stating, “I like that I’m able to keep my current letter grades so that I [can] improve my GPA.”

In the pass/fail option, there are different variations of passing and failing that will be recorded. If a student has an “F” in the class, then they will receive an “F,” or “Fail,” on their transcript. If a student has a “C-” or any variation of a “D,” they will receive a “LP,” or “Low Pass.” If a student has an “A+,” “A,” “A-,” “B+,” “B,” “B-,” “C+” or “C,” they will receive a “P,” or “Pass.”

Medical scholars at SLU are not allowed to select any of their classes as pass/fail. While having a pass/fail course may not affect a future job prospects since they typically only look at your GPA and degree rather than your transcript, there is still a chance of future consequences. 

A pass/fail class may also affect graduate school. This includes any type of medical school or law school, as well as graduate school in any other field. Stated by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Lewis, Ph.D., “Medical schools, graduate/professional schools, and future employers may interpret a “Pass” grade as a letter grade of “C” for admission purposes.”

As much as the pass/fail option is supposed to help relieve some students of the stress with the current circumstances, SLU urges students to make the decision with caution. According to the College of Arts and Sciences parameters outlined by Dean Lewis, “If you end up transferring to another institution, there is a possibility that they will not accept any coursework without a letter grade.” The same can be said for any post graduate endeavor.

If you have any further questions about the pass/fail option regarding your respective school or degree, contact your academic advisor or dean.