Applying to grad school with Ps instead of Bs


Hi everyone, 

I'm currently a Junior undergrad student with another year before I start applying to grad schools, and I'm not sure if I should let a class grade be seen on my transcript. (FYI I am thinking about applying to schools with joint degree programs in M Arch as well as MUP/MCP.

For some background info, because of COVID, all grades for the Winter 2020 semester at Michigan were automatically set to P/F with an option to be switched to your letter grade at the end of the semester. Out of my 4 classes, I ended up doing well in 3 of them, prompting a change from Ps to As. However, in my upper-level writing level Urban Planning class I got a B+, which would drop my cumulative GPA. Would it be it smarter for me to keep the "P: Covid" mark on my transcript along with my other As for that semester, or should I just bite the bullet and make it a B+ to show how I did in an Urban Planning related class, for academic integrity, etc? 

Because I'm applying to grad schools for M Arch and MUP/MCP, both my portfolio and transcript will probably be looked at very carefully, so I'm just trying to be as careful as possible even if it probably won't be the deciding factor in the end. 

Anything helps, thanks!

Jun 22, 20 3:27 pm

What would your GPA be without the P and what would it be with the P? Since you mentioned that that it would drop if you include the B+. 

Jun 22, 20 3:32 pm  · 

It would go from a 3.613 to a 3.598. As someone who is pretty OCD, this REALLY bugged me. However, I'm taking three online classes this summer (doing the prerequisite classes now, lucky me) that I'm doing very well in so far. If all goes well and I get As, my GPA should sit around 3.65 - 3.69. If I add the B+, that would drop to 3.61 - 3.65


Grade inflation to the max. Used to be a B+ was a good grade and all but one or two students in the class would be lucky to receive it. 

When I was teaching B+ meant "thorough, above-average and accurate work, you should be proud."

Jun 22, 20 3:52 pm  · 
1  · 

Lol yeah I mean its everywhere now, so if I want to stand out for the competitive programs I have to do everything I can.


I personally would keep the B+. Your GPA is already really competitive and a B+ is a good grade. Only reason I asked how much it would drop was because I was assuming your GPA was lower, which then I would say take the P. Completely up to you if you want to keep it though!

Jun 22, 20 3:55 pm  · 
2  · 

Thanks for the feedback! Ik GPA doesn't really matter for M Arch applications, but for MUP/MCP I think its weighed more and I wasn't really sure what I was gonna do. I'm leaning towards the B+ though!


If I was looking closely at your transcript and saw letter grades and P/F in the same semester, I'd wonder what the deal was. If I saw a B+, I wouldn't care.

I'd stick with the B+. Your GPA is fine.

Jun 22, 20 4:11 pm  · 
3  · 

First:  the M.Arch programs aren't completely unfamiliar with this system, and will not be confused by a "P".  Some undergrad programs have that conversion to Pass/Fail option as a regular choice for some courses and situations - it's supposed to help students to feel less cautious, and break out of their comfort zones and actually learn for the sake of learning - i.e. if you feel you're bad at languages but want to take Hungarian, or if you don't have a great voice but want to take choral arts for credit, you could elect to do it Pass/Fail.  

Nobody in admissions is going to overthink this - and realistically they may never even see your individual course grades at all.  Some programs' admissions committees only see everybody's cumulative GPAs and whether or not they've got their pre-reqs, in a spreadsheet of all 800 applicants - the transcripts themselves are just checked for these things by admin staff and filed.  What usually matters most, for most applicants, are recommendations and portfolio.  If those are weak then even a 4.0 won't help much, and if they're great then as long as you're above the program's minimum cut-off you've got as much of a shot as anyone.

Given the COVID situation, and that everybody in academia knows that there's no consistency in how each university has handled it, there's probably going to be even less focus on grades from this past semester than there ever is on grades in the first place.

Jun 23, 20 11:18 pm  · 
2  · 

^ This.


Have you tried calling any of the schools you want to apply to to see their policy on P/F? 

Grad schools have a pretty good flex over what they can/will make you do. You could end up having to retake that course at your grad school, even though you passed, because it may not be assumed that it meets the prerequisites. 

They also may assume you're hiding a worse grade, though realistically since your grades are solid anyway, I doubt it. 

I'd just take the B+. It's a pretty good grade, and based on what you're saying probably what you earned... so why try to be tricky? 

Jun 24, 20 3:07 pm  · 
1  · 

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