right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: AMALehigh is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, majoring in Finance. He answers questions about academics, networking, finance, Greek life, or Lehigh in general. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Pass/Fail choice for high school

LuanneLuanne 81 replies5 threads Junior Member
Our high school runs 2 semesters/year. No quarter grades are given. For this 2nd semester, the kids have a choice of pass/fail or a letter grade. The choice is per class. S22 has 3 AP classes that are weighted. He has all A grades. He is currently ranked #1 in his class. Mathematically he should just pick the 3 AP classes for letter grades, as it's a .02 difference in GPA for ranking. I'm encouraging him to do all letter grades so that they are on the transcripts. I've communicated with the school that I don't think this choice should affect final ranking, but nothing has been said about whether it will or not.

Would taking them as pass instead look bad to colleges? Does it really matter what he does for those classes?
16 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Pass/Fail choice for high school

  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1741 replies2 threads Senior Member
    I don't see why you would take an A as p/f. Colleges see P, they have no idea if it's an A or a D. I would never cover an A. I wouldn't even worry about ranking.
    · Reply · Share
  • LindagafLindagaf 10846 replies588 threads Super Moderator
    I don’t understand why a student getting all A’s would choose pass-fail. Hardly any colleges care about ranking these days, except Texas schools, I believe. He shouldn’t choose pass-fail.
    · Reply · Share
  • AlwaysMovingAlwaysMoving 717 replies7 threads Member
    I think the OP's son is trying to remain the valedictorian. Perhaps they live in Texas or another state where it matters.

    OP, have you talked to a guidance counselor about the importance of having the highest gpa and how they handle class rank on college apps? At my kid's school they lump the top students together and say they're top of their class for applications, and the valedictorian is selected some other way. So at my kid's school you would take the grades. I hope that helps.
    · Reply · Share
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2984 replies5 threads Senior Member
    " S22 has 3 AP classes that are weighted. He has all A grades. He is currently ranked #1 in his class. Mathematically he should just pick the 3 AP classes for letter grades, as it's a .02 difference in GPA for ranking."

    I see the concern if you think the .02 would cause him valedictorian. But are you saying that an A in a weighted AP class would hurt his ranking or is he getting B's in the class? imo, p/f is all in kind of thing - either you p/f in all your classes or none, any mixture would cause adcoms to possibly be concerned.
    · Reply · Share
  • jenericjeneric 396 replies0 threads Member
    It's a hard choice because others could just chose to only calculate their weighted grades. D21 has the same choice- she has 2 electives (they are unweighted) that she has high As in the 1st Semester and high As in the second, but taking them will mean her GPA will drop more than a .1 - since they are electives and she shows an A for 1st semester, I'm inclined to tell her to take the pass/fail and get the higher GPA- she is not even close to being #1- are you in Texas or a state that it really matters?
    · Reply · Share
  • LuanneLuanne 81 replies5 threads Junior Member
    To answer some questions - an A in an unweighted class will lower the GPA. His personal goal is valedictorian. I'm good regardless, but I support him that he has that goal. We are not in Texas and I don't think the rank matters, except for his personal goal.

    I did email his counselor about 10 days ago, but haven't heard back yet. He has a week before he has to put his request in, so a little time yet.

    I think he should take the letter grade, because who knows what a college might assume those pass grades are. I really wish there wasn't a choice.
    · Reply · Share
  • jenericjeneric 396 replies0 threads Member
    @Luanne How many classes is he taking?
    · Reply · Share
  • jenericjeneric 396 replies0 threads Member
    I'll just share a story about the last year we had a valedictorian (we've gotten rid of it, all though we still report class rank). Junior year we had a student come into school from another country. The student couldn't transfer their grade GPA and took all top weighted classes. No one could compete with it- it wasn't possible. There was so much anger/backstabbing. People lied about their rank because they didn't want to be hated. It wasn't fun being at the top.

    If your son takes a Pass/Fail, there could be those who say he "cheated" his way in by not taking all his grades. If after all is said and done he doesn't make Valedictorian- how much will those P/F hurt his college applications?

    I agree that I wish it wasn't a choice- class rank is going to be a mess with kids doing all kinds of crazy things. My D could drop 100 spots if she takes all her grades and others don't- just ugh.
    · Reply · Share
  • LuanneLuanne 81 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited May 26
    @jeneric He has 7 classes total.

    You gave some good reasoning that I think will sit well with him. He won't want to have people think he's the one gaming the system to keep his rank. And, yes the pass probably would hurt more than the valedictorian part.

    The other wrinkle that I had forgotten is that SAT score goes into ranking too. So, likely the small gain from taking a few classes as a pass won't really change anything.

    Sorry you have the choice too. It is hard.
    edited May 26
    · Reply · Share
  • jenericjeneric 396 replies0 threads Member
    Wow- the SAT as well- yikes! Our school has over 600 kids in one class, maybe yours is smaller. If he can make it through with all As, he should be very proud no matter what his rank!

    Good luck to him. In a couple of years we will look back on this and laugh that we stressed out about it!
    · Reply · Share
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2984 replies5 threads Senior Member
    ok, first is to see if the school or district will not consider the semester due to all the stuff going on, remote learning etc.. If they do consider, then you need a heart to heart, as showing the grades will help more in college admission but there is a sense of accomplishment in being a val or sal. I wasn't close to either but a lot of kids do look fondly on the recognition those bring.
    · Reply · Share
  • LuanneLuanne 81 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @jeneric they have just under 500 kids. GPA is 80% and SAT is 20% of ranking. SAT doesn't factor in until end of 11th when they have all taken it (most years anyway).

    @theloniusmonk I've asked and at this point, they do not know if they will do anything to reconsider how this semester is calculated. I do think that if it comes down to being the difference for him, that they would have to consider it. I would totally "be that parent" and fight for it for him, too.

    He's mostly sure he'll do letter grades. There is a part of him that keeps thinking pass is better.

    We're pretty sure he's tied for #1 now. If that changes in June, we'll at least know someone did the pass instead. If he was anything lower, we couldn't be sure.
    · Reply · Share
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 2984 replies5 threads Senior Member
    you can definitely advocate with other parents and students to the school or district, it was done here in the one of the high school district and they got some changes to the policy, which was at that time, everything pass/fail. good luck!
    · Reply · Share
  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 2149 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Sounds like some crazy policies. I’d tell him to take the grades. Life is about doing the work and getting paid for it. Worrying about what other people are doing isn’t a positive outcome. Honestly the fact that your school takes SAT’s into account for Valedictorian invalidates their ranking for me. ( My kids are naturally super high testers with zero prep but one is an A+ student, the other an A with some A minuses. Neither would chase down that title if it were available).
    · Reply · Share
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10193 replies119 threads Senior Member
    D's school didn't use SAT/ACT in class rankings but it did for their academic "wall of honor" which was a much bigger deal to the students than class rank because of the way the school chose to weigh courses. AP and honors courses were weighed the same and there were plenty of students in the top 10% who never took an AP course and didn't have close to the same rigor. The academic wall was high GPA along with 98th percentile on standardized tests.
    · Reply · Share
  • LuanneLuanne 81 replies5 threads Junior Member
    edited May 30
    He took them all for letter grades. I do think the school and district will make things right if this decision negatively affects him or someone else.

    Thank you for the input!
    edited May 30
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity