What Is a Passing Grade in College: A Helpful Guide

It’s far too often students find themselves asking, “What is a passing grade in college?

When transitioning from high school to college, it can be quite a shift in student expectations.

Depending on your institution, you might find your college’s grading system significantly different or similar to high school.

Why Do Grades Matter in College?

There are several reasons grades matter in college, especially for professional and personal development.

Although post-secondary learning is often portrayed as a fun and exciting way to find your true self, academics are important.

Too many failing grades could lead to expulsion, the inability to obtain a degree, and a waste of time and money.

Let’s explore the most important reasons you need passing grades in college and answer, “What are passing grades?

Post-Graduate Studies

If you’ve chosen a career path that requires post-graduate degrees, your grades are of the utmost importance.

For example, if you intend to obtain a master’s, Ph.D., or any other type of terminal degree or doctorate, grades are essential.

Students who aren’t passing or barely passing their undergraduate studies aren’t as likely to be accepted to post-graduate programs.

It’s important to remember the competition in college is significantly higher than in high school.

Most institutions can have ten to 20 times more students than high schools with highly talented individuals.

Not only will you need to ensure your grades are suitable for your skills, but that they’re also good compared to your peers.

Space in post-graduate programs is often limited to the top achieving students interested in furthering their studies.

If you’re failing, you’ll find it’s relatively impossible to pursue post-graduate learning.

This reason is why it’s essential to ask, “What is ad in college?” as it could mean you’re failing.

Losing a Potential Degree

Like high school, you cannot progress through college and obtain a degree with failing grades.

With that said, the process is slightly different than it is in high school, depending on your area of study.

In high school, you’ll be required to pass every course provided to you to graduate.

In college, you need to obtain a certain number of credits when you pass. For example, your psychology course could provide two credits out of the 60 required to graduate.

If you were to fail your course, you could opt to take a different, easier course, depending on its importance.

Most degree programs have a list of required courses that you have to take to obtain your degree.

For example, anatomy is a core subject for obtaining a B.A. in Psychology.

If you were to fail a core subject, you have to retake it, while students can switch supplementary courses.

Furthering Your Studies

Not only do you need to consider passing grades for a degree, but to also continue your studies.

The majority of college courses are structured so that there are introductory, intermediate, and experienced classes.

For example, Anatomy 100, Anatomy 200, Anatomy 300, and so on; to enroll for Anatomy 200 in your second year, you have to pass Anatomy 100.

If you continually fail your courses, you’ll never be able to progress through your studies to the next level.

This lack of progress will result in you being unable to obtain your degree in a reasonable time.

It’s also important to note that you might not take other courses along your degree journey.

For example, a passing grade in Anatomy 100 might require you to take Abnormal Psychology 100.

Without the first credit, you won’t be able to diversify your learning opportunities into other courses.

Loss of Scholarships

One of the most important reasons to pay attention to a pass or fail grading system is to maintain scholarships.

The vast majority of scholarships require answering, “What are passing grades?

Otherwise, you could lose your funding for school or be kicked out of the program entirely.

Keeping an eye on your GPA is a great way to determine whether you’re at risk of losing your scholarship or not.

The majority of programs require scholarship students to maintain a GPA of a certain amount to receive funding.

what is a passing grade in college

What Is a GPA?

A GPA stands for Grade Point Average. It’s a number that shows you how well you’re performing in your courses using an average.

The majority of institutions provide a GPA between one and four, depending on the school and country.

It’s important to note that a GPA is more than just a number since it’s a critical assessment tool.

Institutions use them to determine whether students meet the standards and expectations of their university or college.

You can also use it to determine future job prospects and allow you into post-graduate degree programs.

There are different types of GPAs you might come across during your studies.

You might have a GPA for specific classes or a total GPA that spans all of your courses.

What Is a Good GPA?

On average, you’ll find a 3.1 or 3.0 GPA to be considered “Good” as this translates to a “B.”

Students who have achieved a GPA higher than 3.1 typically perform above average, which is essential for your transcripts.

However, just because you have a GPA lower than 3.1 doesn’t mean you’re automatically failing your classes.

It can be simpler to answer, “What is a pass/fail grading system?” by considering GPAs compared to letter grades.

Also, you can answer, “Is ad failing in college?” using this chart to help:

Letter Grade






















80-82 2.7
C 77-79



73-76 2.0
D+ 70-72



67-69 1.3




E/F Below 65


What Is Pass/Fail Grading System?

Pass/fail grading systems is another area of discussion when thinking about GPAs.

Not all schools use them, but they can be beneficial in some cases and quite harmful in others.

Your GPA is unaffected by this grading system as long as you receive a passing grade in your classes.

However, if you fail, your overall GPA is significantly impacted.

The most considerable advantage of these systems is that it encourages students to take courses outside of their major.

They will be able to explore different avenues of study and take courses that interest them the most.

It can also help remove the stigma around bad grades since those with low grades will still pass.

Students who achieve A’s and B’s will still be rewarded with an unchanging GPA, but low-performing students benefit as well.

The most significant issue with a pass or fail grading system is that it encourages students to achieve the bare minimum.

Since they don’t need to worry about anything other than passing, it doesn’t establish a good work ethic.

Also, it can negatively affect your transcripts, as specific GPAs aren’t included.

If you intend to sign up for a graduate school, you could be required to retake courses.

Although it quickly answers, “What is ad in college?” it doesn’t suit high-performing students well.

What Is a Passing Grade in College: Final Thoughts

When you’re exploring, “Is ad failing in college?” you also need to answer, “What is a passing grade in college?”, the majority of institutions agree a D+ is a passing grade, depending on your course requirements.

It’s important to ask, “What is pass/fail grading system?” because if your school uses one, passing grades differ.

Besides passing college courses, financial help is also an important factor for students. One of these forms of financial aid is free laptops. Best Universities has compiled a comprehensive list of schools that provide free laptops to students, which can assist you in achieving college success, especially if you require financial assistance to purchase one.

Compare your school options.

View the most relevant school for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to find your college home.