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How will taking pass/fail classes affect my chances for admission?

BearlegdairyBearlegdairy Posts: 54Registered User New Member
edited January 2008 in Law School
I'm currently a Sophomore going into my 6th quarter at UCLA. I have a 3.93 GPA but this quarter I took two classes on a pass/fail basis (72%+ counts as a pass). One I took because it was a general education science class and the other because the TA assigned to my section was one of the worst I've ever had and was an absolutely terrible grader and did not know how to do her job.

I don't plan to take any more classes on this grading basis, but I would like to know just how bad these classes look on a transcript. In both classes I would have gotten high B's if I had taken them for a regular grade, but that won't show on the transcript, obviously. Should I retake these classes later for a regular grade or will that look even worse?

Also, I'm not involved in community service or campus events or anything like that. Is that going to be a problem? I'm not looking to get into Harvard/Yale or any other private institution, but I've been looking at Berkeley and UCLA. Are my chances good for those if my LSATS turn out well?
Post edited by Bearlegdairy on

Replies to: How will taking pass/fail classes affect my chances for admission?

  • marny1marny1 Posts: 2,235Registered User Senior Member
    bear- This is just a gut feeling--
    If you limit your pass/fail to just these 2 classes, you should be ok. But I strongly suggest, you stay away from other pass/fail grades. It may look "suspicious" if you have too many on your transcript.
    I would not re-take the classes over. I think that will make it look worse and bring more attention to the situation.
    Don't become too obsessed by feeling you have to stay in the 3.9 GPA range.
    a couple of B+/A-'s won't keep you out of law school. Lots of kids get into top law schools with a 3.6 GPA.
    Good luck!!
  • BearlegdairyBearlegdairy Posts: 54Registered User New Member
    Thanks for your assistance; it helped to calm me down a little bit, although I'll be unhappy with that woman for the rest of my days.
  • cherokeejewcherokeejew Posts: 402Registered User Member
    I got into Berkeley (and better) with more pass-fail than that.
  • PeaceFreakPeaceFreak Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    Yeah I have a very similar concern. I'm currently going into second semester sophomore year at Brown. At Brown, its a pretty common practice among students to take one class pass/fail and three / four graded per semester. So far I have a 4.0 in all of my graded classes but have in fact taken one class pass/fail per semester. Is this trend detremental, and would people suggest I just start taking everying on a graded basis if I'm looking at Top14, hopeully Top 6 law schools?
  • StlHotPocketStlHotPocket Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    How does the grading work at Brown? I've heard a lot about Brown not calculating GPA and the the grading is just fail, satisfactory, or satisfactory with distinction.
  • PeaceFreakPeaceFreak Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    First of all students have the option of taking classes either for a grade or on a pass/fail basis. If a student takes a class for a grade, he will recieve either an A, B, or C. We don't have intermediate grades such as A minus, B plus, etc.

    If a student elects to take a class pass fail, he will take receieve either a pass or pass with distinction, if the student has "done extraordinarily well," as mentioned briefly on the dean's website. In two classes I have taken on a pass/ fail basis where I had a A average in the class, I ended up with an a pass and a pass with distinction. I have no idea how the distinction is made, and tend to believe its completely arbitrary. That being said I don't know whether law school admissions make a distinction between pass's and pass's with distinction. I certainly hope not, as any such distinction would be completely unformulaic and ambiguous.

    Its furthermore true that Brown does not calculate GPA's. Being as we do send a large number of graduates to Top14 law schools every year, there must be some evaluation system for Brown's grades in place among law school admissions boards. I would really love to know what that system is, including how much pass/fail classes count in their gap calculation if at all. As I mentioned in all of my graded classes I've recieved A's up to this point, and have two passes and a pass with distinction. Should I stop taking classes pass/fail? Should I be at all worried about the seeming arbitrary and underused pass/ "pass with distinction" distinction?
  • marny1marny1 Posts: 2,235Registered User Senior Member
    Peacefreak- when I first responded, I assumed that grades were the "norm" and a pass/fail was the "exception to the rule".
    as Brown (and maybe other schools) uses the pass/fail method with fair regularity, you need to check with a "law school advisor" at Brown.
    I am sure there are many Brown grads who go to T-14, so the pass/fail system at Brown may be a non-issue.
    BUT-- talk to a Brown advisor.

    I can tell you that LSAC/LSDAS will recalculate all GPA's based on their own grading system.so an A = 4.0; A- = 3.66 (or something like that)

    again- check with LSAC or your Brown advisor.

    As a parent, I know general info. But there are times, you kids really need to check with your Law school advisor to get the correct info regarding law school admission and your UG school.
  • chocomanchocoman Posts: 2,293Registered User Senior Member
    Two p/f classes in one semester might be concerning. You'll be fine though.

    I'm taking my first P/F next semester. I got my GPA above 3.7, which means that even an A- will hurt it. I will be taking a class in Wharton next semester and there's no way I could even get an A, let alone an A-. So P/F.
  • StlHotPocketStlHotPocket Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    So what happens if you get D or an F? Would it automatically be a C, or would the class not count?

    The grading system seems kind of cool.
  • PeaceFreakPeaceFreak Posts: 23Registered User New Member
    The fact that you took the class wouldn't even show up on your resume. They would leave it off your external record completely
  • StlHotPocketStlHotPocket Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    Thats cool. So you can't fail at Brown? What if you fail a pass/fail class, does it not show up either?
  • marny1marny1 Posts: 2,235Registered User Senior Member
    folks- there is a difference between your Brown GPA, and your LSAC GPA.
    LSAC converts EVERY grade on your transcript.
    I don't know the conversion GPA #'s- but I'd venture a "D" would be converted to a 1.0 GPA and would be reported by LSAC.
    --not so cool!--
    I have no clue how a "real" pass/fail grade gets converted, but my gut feeling is to limit your # of pass/fail, as I can't imagine it will impress T-14 admission officers.
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