This has been a hard year for everyone but chin up; we’ve got one good thing going for us. After a long debate and a hard push from us students, the University of Texas at Dallas has made an exception to the grading policies and allowed for a Credit/No Credit exception for students.
Before you go mad with excitement, however, it’s important to take a good look at the specifics of what the C/NC announcement reveals to us about the changes to the grading policy and what we can expect.

Undergraduate students can elect to change up to three courses taken during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters from receiving a letter grade to being recorded as credit/no credit. These three courses can be any from the fall semester or spring semester, or both, and can be applied at any time between January 11th, 2021 and May 20th, 2021. If you did manage to receive a passing grade, it would be counted towards the core curriculum requirements/major prerequisites.

Say you’ve read all this and want to change your letter grade to a credit/no credit marking. If you earn a C-, D+, D, or D-, even if they’re seen as passing grades, and choose to use your Credit/No Credit on this course, you’d receive a No Credit (NC)! You will not receive credit for the course and the C-, D+, D, or D- would not be calculated in your GPA. 

In this scenario, using your CR/NC for that course would only be advisable if the withdrawal deadline had passed, and if you didn’t pass the class. You’d receive an NC regardless and would need to retake the course, but you’d be able to save your GPA the hit.

If you earned a C or above, you’d be able to receive a Credit In the course, which means that the course would be applied to a degree requirement, but wouldn’t be applied to your GPA. For example, if you got a C+ in Mathematics, you’d still receive credit in that class, but it would tank your GPA. This would be the prime opportunity to use a CR/NC for this course, as you would be able to get credit for the course without taking the blow to your GPA.

However, say you received a grade that would that increase your GPA, and for some reason, you chose to use a CR/NC to that grade. The same effects would apply, with you receiving credit for that course, and all impact that grade had on your GPA being lost. Don’t use your CR/NC on grades that would increase your GPA!

If you’re a graduate student or plan on pursuing something akin to a pre-med or a pre-law, it’s important to keep in mind that CR/NC notations may not look the best on your transcript when applying to graduate or professional schools. Make sure to do research on the CR/NC policies of your grad school of choice. Do not switch a class to CR/NC if it’s a requirement to enter your degree of choice! Most schools require a letter grade of C or higher in all prerequisite coursework.

For those of you on scholarships or are receiving financial aid for your schooling, contacting the Office of Financial Aid about any impact CR/NC would have on your aid/scholarship is a good idea.

This semester and this year as a whole have not been the kindest to us. We’ve all been through struggles, some unique to us as a person, and some that all of us have faced. But all those challenges are challenges that we’ve overcome. And thanks to this decision, we have a little more breathing space for next semester.