Pass/Fail Grades due to COVID-19

Apr 29 2020
By Graduate Admissions Office

We’ve received a number of inquiries as to how we will consider courses taken pass/fail during the spring 2020 semester (as opposed to for a letter grade).

To put our bottom line up front: Do Not Worry.

We are all working through the COVID-19 response in our respective communities, and what this will mean for operations going forward.

Princeton University has allowed all its students to take any or all courses pass/fail.

The Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, one of 42 graduate departments and programs in the Graduate School, has taken a similar posture.

We want each student to decide what makes sense for themselves. We support their individual choice—some are taking all classes pass/fail, others are taking a combination of courses pass/fail and for letter grades.

The University is also planning a transcript notation about the nature of grades in spring 2020.

From our side, whether your institution makes a transcript notation, or has altered how grades are earned in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have and will continue to consider the totality of your academic performance as a part of our application review process.

No one thing is determinative here. And no one semester will make or break a decision (if one semester is, in fact, only as long as this lasts).

We consider each application for admission individually and holistically. Each committee member reviews your full undergraduate (and graduate, if relevant) academic performance. We look at all professional and volunteer experience, all test scores, and all additional required writing samples in your application. We actively read your CV and letters of recommendation.

Our holistic process takes time. It allows us to consider each applicant individually and completely. We do not reduce people to simple summations of grades and scores. The School does not have any quotas or cutoffs in any of our graduate degrees.

We will review all applications thus forward with an understanding of the academic, personal and professional challenges and disruptions faced in Spring 2020. We are sympathetic to the scale and severity of this crisis.

We stand with you during these uncertain times, and we wish you good health. Stay safe, and stay connected. Take care.