Haas School of Business prefers undergraduate applicants take classes for letter grade

Haas School of Business
Maya Valluru/File
According to the Haas School of Business website, students who will be applying for admission to the school are encouraged to take prerequisite classes for a letter grade. This has drawn criticism from students both in the school and outside of it.

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UC Berkeley Haas School of Business published a notice on its website Friday stating that the admissions committee prefers that undergraduate applicants take prerequisite classes for a letter grade, despite nearly all undergraduate colleges having adopted a version of a policy allowing students to take classes for major requirements pass/no pass, or P/NP.

Should students opt to take classes P/NP, they would be required by the Haas undergraduate admission committee to submit a letter from their professor or the department stating the letter grade they would have received. The undergraduate business school program is a two-year program with 38 upper division units.

“The Haas admission committee recognizes applicants are facing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the notice reads. “Admission to the business major is competitive and highly selective. Grades in prerequisite courses are essential in helping us assess a student’s ability to handle the academic rigor of the business major.”

The Haas undergraduate program changed its grading policy so students already enrolled in the business school can take up to one class P/NP per semester as long as remote learning continues. It also removed the grading curve and, and the business school is allowing students to drop classes as late as Dec. 3, according to an email to students from Erika Walker, assistant dean of undergraduate programs, and Jay Stowsky, senior assistant dean for instruction.

The restriction on Haas applicants has drawn criticism from students both inside the business school and outside of it who have been lobbying for the administration to implement a more flexible grading policy in light of the pandemic.

“There is a degree of inequity now because not everyone has the resources outside school,” said Charlene Roxas, a campus senior majoring in business administration. “People are having a hard time or struggling just for the basics: a fast computer, fast internet connection. One thing that I could really relate to is having a quiet place to study.”

As of press time, the Haas school could not be reached for comment.

Contact David Villani at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @davidvillani7.