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Pass/No Pass Class at Berkeley Question

  1. Dec 23, 2015 #1
    Hi everyone, so I goofed. I ended up taking a pass/no pass one unit course at berkeley called the berkeley connect program for physics. The class was designed for physics majors to collaborate and talk about physics and do activities and such. So I ended up not passing the course and I'm devastated. How bad will it look for grad school that I did not pass a simple one unit seminar course?
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  3. Dec 23, 2015 #2
    Pretty bad.
  4. Dec 23, 2015 #3
    Great...Would it be worth my time then to contact the professor and try to get him to change my grade?
  5. Dec 23, 2015 #4
    If I were the professor, I would find that very annoying and I would never change your grade. You can try, I guess. But you failed the course, just suck it up. Yes; it won't look good for grad school. No, it's not a disaster. If you get really good grades on other courses, good recommendation letters, nice research, etc. then this won't harm you much.
  6. Dec 23, 2015 #5


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    In my experience contacting a professor about a grade will result in a change if you have a legitimate argument. For example, if there was an error adding up marks on an exam, if a homework assignment appears not to have been given a grade when it was handed in, or if there appears to be inconsistent marking between your result and that of a colleague for the same answer.

    Simply making an argument or a plea against a reasonable grade won't get you much and will essentially waste everyone's time.

    So it's up to you to figure out if you have something legitimate to bring to the professor's attention that could increase your grade. Normally with smaller classes though, professors think long and hard about failing a student, at least in my experience.
  7. Dec 23, 2015 #6
    Thanks for your guys' insight. I'm just hoping that it turns out to not be that big of a deal as I feel like a one unit class that doesn't pertain to my major requirements or prereqs will not have such a big impact later on.
  8. Dec 23, 2015 #7
    Just curious, did you not go, or just not say anything in the class?
  9. Dec 23, 2015 #8
    Didn't really talk in class, was shy
  10. Dec 23, 2015 #9
    So how was the course graded? Were there actual grades, or just a pass/no pass grading scheme based on how much the professor thinks you contributed?

    If it's the former, you're toast and should've brought it to his attention earlier, and only protest the grade if, like Choppy said, there was an error on the professor's part. If it's the latter, you might be able to make a solid case about how you contributed much more than he thinks you did.

    For instance, if there was a lot of working in groups, maybe explain that you are too shy to speak in front of the class but contributed a lot to group projects and discussions. If you just sat there like a bump on a log, then you rightly failed.
  11. Dec 23, 2015 #10
    It consisted of showing up to class and attending optional seminars and panels. I went to 3/8 of the panels and 4/5 of the classes. Still unsure why that constituted a np. But I emailed my professor and he's a genuinely nice person, so I'm hoping it was a mistake or something of the likes.
  12. Dec 23, 2015 #11
    Come on. You didn't even show up to half the seminars. And it's the only thing that mattered for your grades you said. And you don't get why that's a fail? And you actually want to bring this up with the professor???
  13. Dec 23, 2015 #12
    I said they were optional panels, if that's the reason I failed then I'll take the fail. But I feel like when they say "optional" then that is supposed to be the case.
    Edit: I said the class consisted of those two.
  14. Dec 23, 2015 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    Your argument is not that you actually did the work that should have entitled you to pass. It's that you didn't do the work and you don't like the consequences of not doing the work. I suspect that this argument will not be successful.

    If you look at the online syllabus, it pretty clearly states "Berkeley Connect Students will be required to attend in person at least 50% of these events and to review the webcast if they cannot after the panels/seminar. Attendance will be taken!" You didn't go to 50% of them. That doesn't put you in a very strong position.

    The fact that this class is essentially a gift of one credit doesn't help either. Both for the optics and for the chances of getting the grade changed.
  15. Dec 23, 2015 #14
    Ah I see, I thought that they were considered optional as I had several conflicts with scheduling. Thanks for your information
  16. Dec 23, 2015 #15


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    Whether pass/NoPass or for a letter grade, if you still need the credit for some type of certification program or professional development program, you need to re-take the course and EARN the credit. The course still needs to be taken seriously.

    When someone enrolls in a course, he should reasonably expect to be able to attend the activities assigned for the course. If he fairly judges ahead of time that he cannot reasonably attend what he needs, then a better choice is to postpone enrollment for another time.
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