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P/NP over letter grade during a COVID-19 quarter?

dastrato

New Member
May 23, 2020
2
1
1
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm a freshman at UC San Diego and so far in my academic year, it's been a transition. I went from a straight A student in a not particularly challenging public high school to a respected and academically rigorous university, and have received okay grades for it being my first year, some A's, mostly B's, some C's...

This past spring quarter has been especially challenging to focus my entire attention on my coursework given that it has been conducted entirely online. I'm expecting that I'll receive the same mix of A's and B's, and possibly a C. Given the crazy circumstances we have all been placed under this quarter, the departments for all of my classes have given us the option to take our classes for P/NP instead of a letter grade and still receive credit for graduation requirements.

My question is: should I switch my grade to P/NP for my STEM courses if I believe that I might receive a C or low B? Will this look bad to med schools, even under these special circumstances? I'd like to minimize my chances of ruining my grades this year so that I will be able to work harder the next academic year on my GPA.

Thank you for your responses!
 

KnightDoc

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Mar 14, 2019
6,496
2
7,295
126
  1. Pre-Medical
I'm a freshman at UC San Diego and so far in my academic year, it's been a transition. I went from a straight A student in a not particularly challenging public high school to a respected and academically rigorous university, and have received okay grades for it being my first year, some A's, mostly B's, some C's...

This past spring quarter has been especially challenging to focus my entire attention on my coursework given that it has been conducted entirely online. I'm expecting that I'll receive the same mix of A's and B's, and possibly a C. Given the crazy circumstances we have all been placed under this quarter, the departments for all of my classes have given us the option to take our classes for P/NP instead of a letter grade and still receive credit for graduation requirements.

My question is: should I switch my grade to P/NP for my STEM courses if I believe that I might receive a C or low B? Will this look bad to med schools, even under these special circumstances? I'd like to minimize my chances of ruining my grades this year so that I will be able to work harder the next academic year on my GPA.

Thank you for your responses!
It will look exactly like what it is -- using P/NP to mask Cs or low Bs. If your school forced you to take the entire semester P/NP, schools would understand that you had no choice. By selectively only opting in for a few courses (and STEM ones at that!), schools will know you are masking less than awesome grades, and they will assume the worst.

That said, you are only a freshman, and a few classes one semester are not going to determine the fate of your application, so do whatever makes you happy. But, yes, taking STEM classes P/NP while you have grades for other classes will look bad to med schools, even under these special circumstances. When you apply, literally tens of thousands of other applicants will have grades under these special circumstances for all of their classes.
 

dastrato

New Member
May 23, 2020
2
1
1
  1. Pre-Medical
It will look exactly like what it is -- using P/NP to mask Cs or low Bs. If your school forced you to take the entire semester P/NP, schools would understand that you had no choice. By selectively only opting in for a few courses (and STEM ones at that!), schools will know you are masking less than awesome grades, and they will assume the worst.

That said, you are only a freshman, and a few classes one semester are not going to determine the fate of your application, so do whatever makes you happy. But, yes, taking STEM classes P/NP while you have grades for other classes will look bad to med schools, even under these special circumstances. When you apply, literally tens of thousands of other applicants will have grades under these special circumstances for all of their classes.
Good point. I think I'll definitely take my classes for a letter grade this quarter then. After talking with some friends too, I think med schools will be understanding of grades during this time because as you said, most everyone will be affected by this.

Thanks for your input!
 
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