The introduction of Pass / no pass this semester should help a lot of students cope with stress, especially for those with massive workloads such as pre-med students. Juan Pablo Diaz has more.


Amanda Elimian is a senior majoring in Health and Human Sciences with a minor in dance. She wants to be a doctor and is on the pre-med track. She says “pass no pass” can be especially beneficial for students just starting out in the field.

“It’s like really going to help the people who were like freshman, juniors, and sophomores because they’re taking all those like natural science classes that are really hard. So the pass no pass can really be beneficial to them.”

But medical school advisors recommend that students should consider their own personal scenario when debating whether or not to take their classes for grades or pass no pass. Dr. Kenneth Geller is at The Keck School of Medicine. He councils pre-med students.

“All of our advisors can go over their records because it is going to be different for every student. What their grades are, what their science GPA is, what their overall GPA is, where they are on the application cycle, where they are in their undergraduate foundational training... It’s such an individual thing that it is recommended, we recommend that you come in and talk to us.”

But Geller does say medical schools understand the challenges students face this academic year. And he says med schools may be more lenient when they see a pass-no pass rather than a letter grade on an applicant’s transcript.

“I think medical schools and dental schools and P.A. schools all understand that this has been a trying time for everybody in the entire world. And especially for our students that are applying. The stress that they underwent, having their MCATs or maybe their DATs canceled, now you’ve got to do all that extra studying and you go in and they tell you a day before it’s canceled again. This was very stressful. And I, personally, think that our professional schools understand this.”

Senior Amanda Elimian isn’t quite convinced. She says that even if medical schools say this, she knows how competitive they are to get into and she thinks that they would still rather see a good grade rather than a “pass”.

“Schools are saying they’re being lenient we don’t really know what that even really means. They don’t give you any specifics. They just put on their website, “We’re just going to take COVID into consideration.” I don’t know what you mean by that, because we had to apply the exact same way. We had to do all those essays, pay all that money in the middle of a pandemic.”