According to data from the class of 2011, the option to take a class Credit/D/Fail is most popular among seniors, the News reported today. While only 37 members of the class of 2011 used the Credit/D/Fail option in their first semester at Yale, 531 members of the class took at least one course Credit/D/Fail last fall. While the Credit/D/Fail option is intended to encourage academic exploration, some seniors say they view it as a way to lighten their schedules. What do current freshmen, sophomores and juniors think? We took to Bass Café to find out.

“I took a class last semester Credit/D/Fail, because it was a class that I was really interested in, but I didn’t think I’d have enough time in my schedule to really commit to it. I took Econometrics — that’s not really my specialty. I’m more of an English person. I thought it’d be something useful, but not necessarily something I’d do well in.

The first half of the semester I was pretty interested. I was doing most of the homework. Then as the semester went on [and other classes got harder], I started putting it on the sideline. I was behind on the lectures and reading and there was not really an incentive to catch up. A lot of the value is lost when you leave it in the back of your mind. I think [the Credit/D/Fail option] is a good thing. But going into it, know that you have to motivate yourself as the semester goes on, because you don’t have the grade to motivate you.”

  • Lisa Wang ’12

“I’m only a sophomore, but what I’m planning to do is use them [Credit/D/Fail classes] to ease the workload of junior/senior year. I’ve already used one, but I’m essentially saving the others, to take it easy. The one I used was for a history class that I thought wouldn’t be that difficult but would be extremely easy if I took it Credit/D.”

  • Dakota Meyers ’13

“This semester I went in with two classes Credit/D/Fail, one of which was in my major and that I wasn’t too worried about, and one that was completely out of my major, but that I thought was interesting. I ended up converting the one in my major [“Heidegger: Being and Time”] and keeping the other [“Global Fictions and Social Systems”] Credit/D/Fail. I was talking about it over Christmas break with a friend, and the advice I got was to start off the semester with two classes Credit/D/Fail, and after midterms to reevaluate. The “Global Fictions” class requires a lot of effort even to get into the C range, and even doing it Credit/D/Fail has detracted from my other studying, but I don’t think I’d be able to take it otherwise, so I appreciate the option.

[In general] I think Credit/D/Fail is better for science classes, or classes where you are qualitatively measured, because it’s easier to see how much you need to study to get a C, or how much you need to study to get an A. With literature classes it’s hard to know.”

  • Jacy Tackett ’13

“I haven’t taken a class Credit/D, but I think what the dean said in the article [about academic exploration] makes sense. If you’re not a science person, it does give you the chance to try a science class with relatively little risk. But practically, I think it’s mostly kids who don’t want to put in the effort. I haven’t taken one yet, but I definitely will in the future. I need to get some science prerequisites out of the way for my graduate school plans, and I will probably take them Credit/D.”

  • Charlotte McDonald ’14