Health Professions Advising at WWU

Grades

COVID-19 related information about taking courses P/NP

Healthcare programs rarely accept prerequisite coursework taken with a P/NP grading – until now. With the current pandemic, most schools will accept prerequisite courses taken P/NP in Spring 2020 and possibly into next year as well. This is mainly because some undergraduate institutions did not give their students a choice – they converted all coursework to P/NP status.

Because you have been given a choice, Dr. Spiegel and I recommend the following:

  • If you think you will earn an A or B in any course (prerequisite or not), take the course for a grade. Taking the P will suggest that you were earning a C.
  • If you think you will earn an F in any course, convert the class to NP in order to save your GPA.
  • If you think you will earn a D in a prerequisite course, convert the class to P/NP to save your GPA, as you will need to retake it anyway because you likely did not retain the information.
  • If you think you will earn a D in a non-prerequisite course and do have the time to retake the course in your graduation plan, convert the class to P/NP to save your GPA, and retake the class later.
  • If you think you will earn a C in a prerequisite course, my basic recommendation is to keep taking the class for a grade. However, if converting the class to P/NP will decrease your anxiety substantially, go ahead and do that.

If you are earning a C in a core course, you should think carefully about why. If it is due to the stresses resulting from the pandemic or due to personal issues beyond your control, then a C is completely understandable. If C’s are your “norm”, however, you must reassess how you are studying and make some changes. See the study skills resources available from the Tutoring Center and here. And of course you are welcome to make an appointment with a pre-healthcare advisor by sending an email to careers@wwu.edu.

Undergraduate grades are critically reviewed in the application process, but they are only one component of holistic admissions. Students planning a career in one of the health professions must strive for good grades, but there is no particular grade cutoff that will guarantee your acceptance into professional school (although an overall grade point of 3.5 and a strong score on the admissions exam will likely result in an interview). You will be evaluated on both your cumulative grade point average and your "science" (biology, physics, chemistry) grade point average. While grades should not affect your choice of classes, you should be realistic in how you manage your course loads. The Health Professions Advising office can help you create a balanced course schedule.

Also, majoring in a field you enjoy can positively influence your grades. Why struggle academically in an area that you don't like or where you can't do well?

Pursue your personal academic interests at the undergraduate level, because there will not be time to do so while in professional school. Try to get the most out of your undergraduate experience!

Avoid establishing negative flags on your academic record (e.g. patterns of course withdrawals and repeats). Occasionally, there may be a legitimate reason for not staying with a particular class. Don't wrestle alone with your decision about what to do. Seek advice from your instructor, departmental advisors, the health professions advisors, or the Academic Advising Center when making critical choices and decisions. Advisors cannot predict what will be the right thing to do in the eyes of the professional school admissions committee, but they can help you identify and evaluate your options.