Get the Grade You Want
College grading systems can be especially confusing when coming straight from high school. The biggest difference between the public school and college grading scale is the +/- addition to the traditional As and Bs. At USF, the plus/minus grading scale adds weight to the letter grade. For example, the difference between an A- and an A is 0.33 points (see USF grading scale here). You may be wondering how professors differentiate between a grade within the same range. Though every professor is different, the most traditional way they denote grades is as follows:
98% to 100% = A+
93% to 97% = A
92% to 90% = A-
89% to 87% = B+
86% to 83% = B
82% to 80% = B-
79% to 77% = C+
76% to 73% = C
72% to 70% = C-
69% to 67% = D+
66% to 63% = D
62% to 60% = D-
59 and below = F
However, not every class uses a plus/minus system. Grading scales for specific classes are at the discretion of the professor, degree program and university. As a student, you are able to find out the grading scale for your specific class by looking at the class syllabus.
USF does have standards when it comes to what constitutes passing a class. At least a C- is required to get passing credit for Gordon Rule courses. Each major has requirements when it comes to grades as well. Though each college is different, most colleges do not allow students to receive more than 2 C- grades in their major courses. If more than two C- grades are received, the student will be dropped from the respective program.
Additionally, most colleges at USF require a student to have at least a 2.5 GPA to be admitted to their college. Though the popular saying is “C’s get degrees”, the type of C received will determine if a student receives the degree of their choice. To see your specific degree program requirements, see the USF website. When it comes to graduating with honors, getting an A or A- may mean the difference between graduating Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude. USF explicitly states that they will not round grade when it comes to honors denotation at graduation. If your goal is to graduate with honors, you have to be mindful of the weight of each letter grade. See the other specifics regarding honors at graduation here.
Though it may seem that the +/- system has a lot of negative impacts on your GPA, it can sometimes be a good thing as well. As a graduating senior, I have found that many times getting a B+ instead of a B in some of my classes has boosted my GPA and made me a stronger candidate for graduate school.
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Written by Jordan Philyor, Intern, HaveUHeard