To P/D/F or Not To P/D/F?

Is there a class that’s killing your buzz?

Since program-filing starts next week, you might be up to your neck in classes you’re thinking about taking next semester. But before you get carried away with next semester’s course load, don’t forget to take sometime to evaluate your current one. The deadline for P/D/F’ing a class is next Thursday, November 15th Tuesday, November 20th.

UPDATE: P/D/F deadline has been extended by Dean Hinkson due to hurricane postponements.

Here at Barnard we can opt to Pass/D/Fail up to 23 credits (22 if you’re a transfer). When you do this, any grade you receive in a class from an A to a C- appears on your transcript as a “P,” but the letter grades “D” or an “F” won’t be softened. There are, understandably, restrictions. First-Year English and any course for a major or minor can’t be taken P/D/F. A course in your major field can be taken P/D/F if you have already exceeded the number of points for your major, you aren’t using it for a major requirement, and you get the department chair’s permission. Courses that are automatically P/D/F (such as P.E.) count in your total. (Note: Dance classes count for your P.E. requirement, but are not automatically P/D/F.) So what are the pros and cons of doing P/D/F?

To P/D/F or not to P/D/F…

Pros
Saving Your GPA: Sometimes in the service of fulfilling the Nine Ways of Knowing you have to take some courses that are not your forte (hello, math!). P/D/F it and you don’t have to freak out about a C messing up your GPA. Don’t take this too far though, a D or an F would still be factored in.
Take Something Hard: Love a class but the exams are kicking your butt? P/D/F lets you enjoy the course, and worry less about the exams.
Relieve Stress: By taking a class P/D/F you can worry less about your grade in the course, which can relieve a ton of stress.
Your Professor Won’t Know: Don’t worry about your professor; P/D/F is something between you and the Registrar.

Cons
Hurting Your GPA: This may seem counter-intuitive, but keep an eye on how many courses you P/D/F. Since a P is not factored into your GPA at all, every grade counts more because it makes up a larger percentage of your GPA.
Can’t Undo: Once the P/D/F deadline has passed there is no undoing it. End up acing the course? Awesome, but there’s no getting that A on your transcript.
No Motivation: With the lack of a grade you might let some things slide, and before you know it that P is suddenly a D.

Samantha is a senior at Barnard and Co-Founder and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Images courtesy of Bowling Roller Coaster.

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