When the pandemic disrupted school throughout California, the University of California ("UC") declared that it would accept Pass/Fail grades in place of letter grades for the college applicants in Fall 2020.
The UC just announced March, 2, 2021 that it will extend accepting Pass or Credit grades in A-G courses completed in fall 2020 and spring/summer 2021. This extends the rule set for any student enrolled in the high school during winter, spring, and summer of 2020.
Does this mean all 10-12th graders can switch to Pass/Fail in their a-g academic courses? (A-G explainer) It depends.
Does your high school offer pass/fail grades?
"UC strongly encourages potential applicants to take, whenever possible, A-G courses for letter grades, especially those in English and mathematics, as well as those in prospective major fields." UC Counselors & Advisors Bulletin, March 2, 2021
Your GPA for students applying for college will be calculated using letter grades earned in A-G coursework completed in 10th and 11th grade with an additional limited number of "honors" points for grades A, B and C in UC-approved coursework.
What does this mean? If you are aiming for the UCs strongly consider taking all of your academic courses that fit into A-G categories with letter grades. They will base your UC calculated GPA on letter grades. They will calculate if you have met the A-G requirements based on either passing letter grades (C or above) or Pass/Credit. Finish as strong as you can. If your grades are slipping, do what you can to revive them, but also realize that all colleges understand that the transition to on-line learning was more difficult for some students and have provided a place on the application to explain major grade discrepancies.
Seniors especially, this is not the time to stop working. Your grades do still matter. You must pass all of your required courses with a C or better. The situation varies by school, but most UC may consider withdrawing an acceptance if a student earns a D or lower in an academic course. Please check with the UC you have applied to.
What to do? Don't panic! Talk to your guidance counselor if you are struggling in a particular course. Seek tutoring and other resources like Kahn Academy. Look into the possibility of retaking a class you are failing in the summer.
As always, do the best you can when you can.