As most students are just getting back into the swing of all things academic, the winter term pass/fail deadline is rapidly approaching. This Sunday”s deadline comes less than three weeks after the first day of classes and leaves students with far too little time in which to make these decisions.
Students drop courses for a variety of reasons: Course loads turn out to be heavier than anticipated, classes aren”t always as interesting as their descriptions made them out to be or students don”t want to risk earning a low grade. These reasons aren”t always obvious, though, and students need sufficient time to decide if they warrant dropping a class.
As of the drop/add deadline, there will have been 13 days of normal class sessions. A Monday discussion class would have met only once thus far, and most classes have barely moved into the assignments and exams that carry the most weight. Students are thus forced to make their decisions with little class work completed and without a firm grasp of grading or exam styles.
The option to take a course pass/fail is also an important decision. Using it allows students more flexibility in their workload and eases some of the risk of taking classes outside of one”s concentration. It reduces a class” emphasis on grades and allows students to focus on learning with less anxiety. Again, students need ample time to make this sort of decision.
The current time schedule often works as a deterrent to taking diverse or extra classes. It discourages students from taking risks because it does not allow students enough time to experiment or assess new classes. Dropping a course or taking it pass/fail is no small matter. The University should allow students to make informed and accurate decisions. In order to do so the University should extend the drop/add and pass/fail deadline.