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2020-2021 (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer) Grading Conversion Considerations

For each term of the 2020-2021 academic year (Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Spring/Summer 2021, and Summer 2021), you will have the option of converting letter grades A+ through C- to a “Pass” (P/PS).  If you earn grades of a D+, D, D-, or E, you will receive a “No Record Covid” (NRC) grade and will have the option to convert that NRC grade to the earned letter grade. And if you elected Optional Pass/Fail for a course at the beginning of the semester, you will receive either a “Pass” (P/PS) for passing or an NRC grade for not passing; you can also convert either grade to a letter grade.  

The deadlines to request all conversions are:

  • July 1, 2021 (Fall 2020 term grades)
  • November 1, 2021 (Winter 2021 term grades)
  • March 1, 2022 (Spring/Summer 2021 grades)

Whether or not to convert grades is an individual decision:  there isn't a "one size fits all" answer for students. We encourage you to think through the following considerations as you make your decision; if you have any questions or would like to talk this over, we’d be happy to help.  Please schedule an advising appointment with an academic advisor or contact your advising office.

Please also note that once you convert a course (either a letter grade to a Pass or an NRC back to a letter grade) that decision is final and irreversible. If you have any questions, we strongly encourage you to talk to us!

Should I convert a letter grade to a "Pass" (P/PS) grade?

Is the letter grade I earned consistent with the grades on the rest of my transcript?  

  • If the letter grade you earned aligns with the grades you have received previously, then you will likely benefit from keeping it as is. 
  • If the letter grade you earned is lower than most of your other grades, then you will likely benefit from converting it to a "Pass" (P/PS) grade.  
  • If you choose to convert letter grades from this academic year to "Pass" (P/PS) grades, then your grades from other semesters will hold more weight for anyone reviewing your transcript; transcript reviewers will likely assume that your other semesters demonstrate the work you are capable of doing. 

A “Pass” grade will…

  • keep your GPA (term, cumulative, major, minor) the exact same as it currently is 
  • will meet major, minor, and college requirements as long as the letter grades earned would satisfy those requirements. For example, if your program requires a grade of C or better to fulfill a requirement and you convert your letter grade to a Pass, the grade that was entered by the instructor must be a C or better in order to fulfill the requirement. In this example, if your instructor entered a C-, you would get credit (CTP) for the course, but it would not count toward your program requirement.
  • count toward the 90 credits of graded coursework requirement 

If you received a "PS," converting an Optional Pass grade to a C- grade will...

  • be included in your GPA calculation. Use caution if the converted grade brings your term/cumulative/major/minor GPA below 2.0.

Should I convert an “NRC” grade?

An “NRC” grade will...

  • protect your GPA.
  • not allow you to earn credit for the class.

Converting an “NRC” grade to a D+, D, or D- grade will...  

  • allow you to earn credit for the class, so this could be a good decision if you need to earn credit and did not earn a C- or higher to get a P. 
  • include the D+, D, or D- grade in your GPA calculation. Use caution if the converted grade brings your term/cumulative/major/ minor GPA below 2.0.

Considerations For Future Plans (Graduate School/Professional School/Employers)

Anyone reviewing transcripts will remember that a pandemic occurred during this semester and will recognize the unique and challenging situation it created. Everyone’s life was impacted. You’ll likely have an opportunity to explain your situation and resulting transcript grades, whichever decision you make. Some other considerations to bear in mind:

  • Many colleges and universities around the world have used alternate grading policies over the last few semesters. As a result, anyone reviewing your transcript will not be surprised if it looks different than terms before the pandemic. 
  • It’s impossible to know how each and every school/employer will treat COVID semesters. Ultimately, you have to make decisions that help your transcript reflect the academic experience that you had over the course of the pandemic while being compassionate and fair to yourself. Remember that your entire record will be seen. 
  • It will be easier to explain P/NRC grades as being a result of a pandemic than to explain why you think your GPA should be higher than it is. If your letter grades don’t reflect what you think you learned, then you may want to choose P/NRC grades.

Pre-Law Students should feel comfortable with P/NRC grades, bearing in mind the following:

  • Law schools do not require the unveiling of pass/fail classes; UM students applying to law school already average 12 credits of pass/fail coursework. 
  • Consider leaving as is letter grades that will reinforce or improve your GPA.
  • If you’re a junior and are applying to go directly into law school after UM, you would ordinarily have 6 terms of graded coursework to show by now. If you decide to convert your classes so that the majority have P/NRC grades, your remaining terms should be very strong or you should consider a gap year. 
  • If you have any questions, please make an appointment with a pre-law advisor by emailing newnanfrontdesk@umich.edu

Pre-health Students

  • Many health professions schools (i.e. medical, dental, etc.) have developed guidelines for handling pass/fail grades issued during COVID semester. If you have target schools, check their websites (and contact admissions representatives) to see what they are saying about alternate grading options.
  • The Newnan Pre-health Advisors have compiled some resources that will help with this process.
  • If you have any questions, please make an appointment with a pre-health advisor by emailing newnanfrontdesk@umich.edu

Additional Considerations

If you’re a graduating senior:

  • If you are short on credit, whether for the 120 you need to graduate or for a major, minor, or college requirement, you should carefully consider whether or not to uncover grades. If you convert an NRC grade to a D+, D, or D-, you will earn credit for that class. However, you should also bear in mind the impact of that letter grade on your GPA. A 2.0 is required for your cumulative GPA, as well as for any major and minor you have declared. 
  • You have through May 26, 2021 to change your grading pattern for any course and have the conversion impact your eligibility for distinction.  Eligibility for this award will be determined by your cumulative GPA as of the end of that day. If you uncover a grade anytime after May 26, your transcript and cumulative GPA will be updated accordingly but the change will not impact your distinction level. Distinction levels for the Winter 2021 class will not be determined until May 27, 2021.  You can find out more about distinction, including a link to historical distinction levels, here.  

If you’re on probation:

  • The Board will not suspend students as a result of their Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021 grades, but they will make academic status changes (e.g., moving students on or off of probation; continuing probation; or, in the event of incomplete grades, moving students to Action Pending or Special Action Pending).

If you're an LSA Honors student:

For students who will apply for the Sophomore Honors Award at the end of Summer 2021, Summer 2022, or at the end of Summer 2023, the following criteria apply:

  • P grades for Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 are acceptable and will not impact your eligibility for the SHA.  
  • Additionally Honors has waived the requirement that you take an average of 14 credits per term across Fall and Winter terms. 

All other requirements remain in place.

If you are pursuing an LSA Computer Science (CS-LSA) Major:

  • P grades (C or higher) in EECS 203 and EECS 280 will fulfill course prerequisites for EECS 281. 
  • No attempts in Winter 2020 through Winter 2021 will count against the two-take limit for EECS 203, EECS 280, or EECS 281.
  • LSA students declaring into CS-LSA must have a 2.5 minimum GPA requirement, averaging all graded pre-requisite courses. Each grade of P received (not a PS or C-) will be treated as an A for the purpose of declaring into CS-LSA.

If you are a member of one of the following groups, please see these campus offices for additional information and help:

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