This year, students have more time and flexibility when converting classes between the Credit/D/Fail and letter grade options.
The change has been met with praise by Yale College students. Prior to the reform, students had to choose whether to enroll in a course with either grade designation before sealing their schedule. Courses could only be converted one way — from Credit/D/Fail to letter grade by mid-November or early April in the fall and spring semesters, respectively. As a result, students had to make decisions during the course registration season in the absence of first-hand experience. They could not retroactively decide to take a class under the Credit/D/Fail option.
Now, students have an eight-week-long grace period. Under the revised policy, students no longer need to specify whether they want to opt for the Credit/D/Fail designation during course registration season. From shopping period until the middle of the term, students can change up to two course credits from a letter grade designation to a Credit/D/Fail option. Thus, students have more time to decide whether they want to take a class Credit/D/Fail.
“Anecdotally … I’m hearing from many students that the extended deadline is liberating,” Yale Dean Marvin Chun said. “I am also hoping that the new policy will encourage students to persist in courses rather than withdrawing from them.”
Last spring, the Yale College faculty approved the new policy after a proposal from the Committee on Honors and Academic Standing. The new policy had been recommended by the Yale College Council. Chun told the News that the change in policy has been successful in encouraging academic exploration and helping students make “better, adaptive decisions.”
Students interviewed by the News said that they welcome the new policy.
Daniel Lee ’20 said the new policy has made Credit/D/Fail a more accessible option for him. The freedom to convert mid-semester has provided more leeway for students to make flexible choices, he said.
“I do enjoy the revised policy because I think it makes more sense to realize a class or my workload is too overwhelming later in the semester than the other way around,” Lee said. “I look forward to using it for classes I’m interested in but might not necessarily have the time or energy for.”
Jocelyn Dicent ’20 echoed Lee’s remarks, saying that the new policy helps students make informed decisions about their classes.
She said that the new policy has eased the pressure off of choosing classes and grading options.
“This extended time has allowed me to make much more informed decisions about my classes this semester,” Dicent said.
Tony Wang ’22 said that the Credit/D/Fail policy gives students “a safety net” in case they do not do well on their first few assignments.
Chun told the News that the new policy will give students greater academic freedom.
“[The policy] encourages students to pursue diverse and intrinsically rewarding learning experiences,” he said. “I believe that the extended deadline encourages students to engage with their courses in a deeper and more sustained way than when the deadline was at the beginning of the term.”
The deadline for converting from a letter grade to a Credit/D/Fail for a full-term fall semester course is Friday, Oct. 26 at 5 p.m.
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