• Novel Corona Virus - COVID-19 Crookston Campus Updates

Spring 2020 S/N Grade and Withdrawal Option for Students

Updated: March 31, 2020, 4:55 p.m.

As a means of supporting our students during these unprecedented times, the University of Minnesota Crookston is providing degree-seeking students the option to change the grading basis for Spring 2020 courses from A through F to “S/N” (satisfactory/not satisfactory). Some campuses refer to this as a “pass/fail” option. Additionally, UMN Crookston is providing students additional time to withdraw from a course with a “W.”

S/N options will be available to students through April 30 and W (withdraw from a course) until May 1.  The extended deadlines will provide you with more time to consult with your advisor before making a final decision.  Student Success Center advisors have received training to help students consider all aspects of their options. Answers to common questions regarding S/N grading options are listed below.

What is the difference between A/F and S/N grading?

  • Unlike A through F grades, S or N grades will have no positive or negative effect on your GPA.
  • Under the change in policy for Spring 2020, you may use S/N grades to count toward your requirements for liberal education, a major or minor, or electives that you need to graduate.
  • If you elect S/N grading, you will receive an “S” grade for any course in which your letter grade would be a “C-“ or better, and you will receive an “N” grade for any course in which your letter grade would be a “D+” or lower.
  • Note that an “N” grade is like an “F” in that courses with an “N” grade will not count toward any of your degree requirements. The only difference is that whereas an “F” hurts your GPA, an “N” has no effect on your GPA.

What practical issues should I consider before making my decision?

  • Are you likely to earn a strong grade in the course? Many faculty have been asked to be flexible and if this is your experience, your grade may not be negatively impacted.
  • The decision to change one’s grading basis cannot be reversed. If you choose to change grading basis from A/F to S/N, it will not be possible to reverse your decision at a later date, even if your performance is very strong.
  • At UMN Crookston, you may count up to two “D” grades toward major requirements. Note that if you elect to take a course as S/N and earn a “D” for the course, that grade will be entered as an “N” and will not count toward liberal education, major/minor, or elective requirements.
  • Students must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or higher in order to graduate. S/N grades will have no positive or negative effect on the cumulative GPA calculation. 

What if I want to apply for graduate school? Will an S/N grade hurt my chances to get in?

  • This is a complex question and the answer will ultimately vary depending on the schools to which you apply. At this time, it appears that most graduate and post-baccalaureate professional programs will accept S/N grades from Spring 2020, but the University of Minnesota Crookston cannot guarantee this for programs outside the University of Minnesota System.
  • The most important advice is that you consult with your faculty advisor before making a decision if you intend to pursue a post-baccalaureate degree. Here are a few questions you may wish to discuss:
    • How competitive is the graduate program to which you intend to apply?
    • Is the course one that might be more heavily weighted by an application review committee?
    • How many “S/N” courses are you considering for the term?
    • “A” grades are always preferred, and “B” grades will likely look better than “S” grades. 
    • How might you address “S” grades for Spring 2020 in narratives or essays when applying to graduate school? How might you explain a lower letter grade for a course in Spring 2020?

What will future employers think about S/N grades on my transcript?

  • In many professions, employers do not review the courses on your transcript or the letter grades earned for those courses. At most, a typical employer will consider your overall GPA. That said, there may be specialized industries where an employer will screen your transcript. If you think this may be the case for you, please consult with your advisor. You may be able to address the question through a cover letter or during an interview process.

How might S/N grades affect my ability to secure licensure in a field such as education, criminal justice, or healthcare administration?

  • If you intend to use coursework to meet licensure requirements, you should consult with an advisor before requesting S/N grades for courses, especially those within the major.

What if I am a PSEO or College in the High School student?

  • Postsecondary enrollment option (PSEO) students must inquire with an advisor in the Student Success Center before requesting S/N grading to ensure that the change will not negatively affect progress toward a high school diploma.
  • If you are a UMN Crookston College in the High School student, your principals, counselors, and teachers have received information regarding how to request an S/N grade for a course. You can also direct questions to Elizabeth Gregory at: grego162@crk.umn.edu.

What do I need to know about the late withdrawal option?

  • Because late withdrawals from a course can affect financial aid, students are strongly encouraged to speak with someone in the financial aid office before withdrawing from a course.
  • Late withdrawals for Spring 2020 will not count toward the “one-time drop” policy. Thus, if you have already used your one-time late drop option, you still may withdraw from courses by May 1. If you have not used your one-time drop option, withdrawing from a course in Spring 2020 will not count as your one-time drop.
  • If you exercise a late withdrawal, you will receive a “W” mark on your transcript.

How do I go about changing one of my courses from A/F to S/N or withdrawing from a course?

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