Maintaining your GPA: Is VCU’s pass/fail option right for you?

Hannah Eason, Managing Editor

Friday is the last day to choose the pass/fail option for spring semester courses. Here’s how you can determine if that’s the right choice for you.

Determining final grades

Final grades are due Tuesday at noon, but many professors have already posted final grades in eServices. To check final grades and your current GPA, visit eservices.vcu.edu. Once you’ve logged in, click on the “student” tab, then “student records,” then “final grades.”

On the “final grades” page, you’ll see any final grades that have been posted, along with your current GPA.

How will my grades affect my GPA?

To see how your grades will affect your GPA, you can visit the GPA calculator on DegreeWorks. In eServices, click on the “student” tab, and the “DegreeWorks” link at the bottom.

Once you’re in DegreeWorks, there are three tabs under the student name and personal information: Audits, Plans, and GPA Calc. 

In “GPA Calc,” your course names will be listed in one column, credits are in a second column, and grades will be in a third column. Each course has a drop down menu where you can calculate any letter grade, including “P” for pass, “PS” for pass satisfactory, and “F” for fail.

In DegreeWorks, you can determine your GPA with your earned letter grades and pass/fail options under “GPA Calc.” Photo by Hannah Eason

To calculate your GPA with the “pass” option:

  • First, enter “0” in the credits column. This is important — if you leave it as “3,” for a 3-credit course, it will calculate the grade as an F with the pass option, hence lowering your GPA in the calculation.
  • In the grades column, select “P” for pass.
  • Click “calculate.”
  • A new page will list the calculated GPA and show if the pass option will maintain your GPA instead of lower it.

A high letter grade is still a good thing, and keeping those As will still raise your GPA. For classes with lower grades, make sure to calculate the earned grade and the pass option to determine the effect on your GPA. If you have any questions, schedule an appointment with your academic advisor.

What are my options?

For the spring semester, opting to pass/fail your classes is optional, meaning if you don’t choose the option, it will default to your earned letter grade. Here’s what the pass/fail options mean for undergraduate students:

  • “P” stands for pass, which is available for letter grades A-C, and does not affect GPA.
  • “PS” stands for pass satisfactory, which is available for a D letter grade. This option does not affect GPA, but will not pass prerequisite courses that require a C or above.
  • “F” stands for fail and will affect GPA.

How do I select the pass/fail option?

To select the pass/fail option, you must fill out an online form. For undergraduate students, click here. For graduate students, click here

You’ll be asked to list the subject, course and section. Example: ACCT 203-001.

Then, you’ll list the course’s 5-digit CRN.

Do this for all courses that you’d like to pass/fail and click submit.

More information on the pass/fail option can be found online from the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management. 

When do I have to decide?

Students can opt to pass/fail until Friday at 5 p.m. 

If you have already chosen the pass/fail option for your classes but want to reverse it, email the Records and Registration office at [email protected] or [email protected] from your VCU email. Include your name, V#, and the course’s CRN and section number. These requests are also due by Friday at 5 p.m.

Here is a video from Betsy Seymour, associate director of declared advising with University Academic Advising, further explaining the process:

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