For Major Advisors

COVID-19 Updates


Penn's Coronavirus COVID-19 Updatesthe college's COVID-19 response

The College is here to support you and your advisees as we manage the transition to remote instruction, advising, and support.  We know that as a community we can do this if we continue to be informed, responsive and engaged with our advisees. 

We ask that you advise your advisees through Advance Registration (March 30-April 12) and serve as a first responder for their questions.  The information below should help

Advance Registration course requests begins at 7:00 AM EDT on April 14th and ends at 11:59 PM EDT on April 24th

Prior to entering course requests on Penn InTouch, students are asked to explore potential courses, build mock schedules and contact their pre-major or major advisor to discuss their plans and to have registration holds removed.

Summer registration opens at 7:00 AM EDT on April 14th.

What do I need to know about changes to the pass/fail deadline and policies for spring 2020?

  • Any course may be changed to pass/fail, including courses fulfilling Major, Minor and General Education Requirements 
  • You may take as many of your spring 2020 courses pass/fail as you choose.  
  • The deadline for making this decision is 11:59pm EST on Monday, April 13.  
  • To change your grade type you must go into Penn InTouch and take the action. To do so, choose "Registration & Planning" from the left-hand menu in Penn InTouch, choose "Register for Courses" and click the "Change" button for the course you want to make pass/fail. As of 3.24.20, there may be some courses from other schools at Penn (Wharton, SEAS, Nursing and graduate schools) that cannot be changed through Penn InTouch. Please contact those schools or departments directly with questions about changing your grade type for those courses.
  • Any course taken pass/fail during spring 2020 will not count against the total number of courses you may take pass/fail (for the College, that limit is 8).  
  • Study Abroad: The expanded pass/fail options also apply to undergraduate students on Penn-sponsored study abroad programs during spring 2020. The last day to change an abroad course to pass/fail is Monday, April 13, 2020 at 11:59pm EST  (The exception being course taken as part of four abroad programs – LSE, Yonsei, Keio, and Hitotsubashi.) Email your College study abroad advisor ( to request an abroad course pass/fail by that date. 

Will my advisee be able to use a pass/fail course from spring 2020 to fulfill a major, minor, or College General Education requirement? 
Yes, for this semester only, a course taken pass/fail can be used to fulfill any requirement.  

If the course is used in a major or minor, can the grade be uncovered at graduation, as pass/fail courses taken in other semesters are?
No, pass/fail courses from spring 2020 that are used in majors and minors will remain pass/fail— there is no option to uncover the grade. Please note that courses used in the major or minor from other semesters must still be uncovered in order to count toward Major Requirements.

If my advisee changes their mind later can they switch the grade type of the course back?
You may change the grade type of any course up to the new pass/fail deadline (11:59pm EST on Monday, April 13). After that date, no further changes can be made to the course’s grade type.

What is a P equivalent to?
A P is equivalent to any grade from an A+ to a D.

Will the P and F grades work the same as in other semesters?
Any passing grade, from an A+ to a D, will be converted to a P, which will confer a credit toward graduation but be g.p.a. neutral. If a student fails a pass/fail course, the F will count toward the g.p.a. as with any other course.

Is there any risk to taking a course pass/fail this semester?
Students should remember that they will still need to learn the content of a given course if they intend to pursue further studies in that field, especially if the course is a prerequisite for one they intend to take later, or if the course is part of a larger sequence.

What should an advisee know about taking a course P/F for graduate school (including medical and law school) this semester?
Career Services has been staying apprised of the how p/f and academic performance during the spring 2020 semester will impact graduate school applications.  Please refer to their home page ( which has advice and updates on this question.

I am submatriculating into a graduate program at Penn. Can courses taken pass/fail now count for requirements within the graduate program?
Any spring 2020 course that counts for credit on the undergraduate transcript, including courses also counting toward a graduate degree, can be used to fulfill requirements in the College even if taken pass/fail. However, submatriculants should be aware that graduate programs may have different policies. It is strongly recommended that students check with their graduate program before committing to changing a particular course’s grade type to pass/fail. 

How will courses taken pass/fail this semester at Penn be looked at in the future by graduate and professional schools evaluating my application? Is it better to take these courses for a grade now?
The interpretation of pass/fail grades by other institutions as part of their application evaluation processes will vary. Students are strongly advised to consult the website of the Career Services office and to connect with one of their staff to discuss their particular situation.

Some courses at the University cannot normally be taken pass/fail. Can I change one of these courses to pass/fail grading this semester?
All undergraduate courses at Penn may be taken pass/fail during the spring 2020 semester. The ability to take a graduate course pass/fail will depend on the department or Penn school to which the course belongs. In this case, students are advised to inquire with the course instructor. 

I am taking a two-semester course in which the final grade for the fall semester is not posted until the end of the spring (such courses typically post an “S” or a “U” as a temporary fall grade). If I change the grade type of this course in the spring to pass/fail, will the fall grade still be visible on the transcript?
Yes, the letter grade earned for the year will still replace the “S” or “U” in the fall semester. The spring semester will show as P or F. It is possible that individual departments may still consider the grade covered by the P when determining eligibility for departmental honors. 

Students interested in taking a leave of absence should email CaseNet at A College advisor will be in touch to provide guidance and explain the process.

If you have advisees who are struggling and deciding whether to stay in a class, you should talk with them about where the course fits in their curriculum and how they plan to supplement it in future semesters.

Students are directed to submit a withdrawal form to the College office via email.

If you or they have further questions or have further questions, please refer to information on the College website ( or their College Contact.

You should contact your advisees now if you haven’t already.  You should determine how you will make and hold appointments with your advisees. We strongly urge you to use video chat or phone for appointments rather than email but we also support flexibility for students who cannot make synchronous times that also work for you.  Some options for remote communication are:


  • Email
  • Consider WhatsApp ( and Skype ( or Zoom if your advisees have those apps. 
  • Activate your Zoom account.   (
  • Phone: You can use call forwarding from your direct office phone number in case you have advisees who don’t have internet access Choose “Features & Voicemail” and then choose “Call Forward...” and enter your cell/home number.  You can send your advisees your direct office phone number and when they call it, it will forward to your cell/home phone.  Callers will not see your number.  Remind advisees to pick up the “blocked” call from you at the time you agree to talk.
  • Consider adding your remote app IDs/links (e.g. Skype: jane.doe; Zoom:; Calendly: to your email signature.
  • Appointments: Calendly ( is recommended for scheduling appointments.  You can set it up so that Calendly feeds from your Outlook calendar and students can make appointments with an url. 

In order to use some of this technology, you may need to:

  • Update your home computer's operating system and web browsers.
  • Test your computer's video camera and microphone.
  • Consult with your School or Office computing support to request remote access.

The College Contact is a member of the College’s professional advising staff. You and your advisees share this contact. That person’s name and contact information is listed on the advisee’s record in Penn InTouch. The College Contact can answer your and your advisee’s general or complicated advising questions.

If you get questions from your advisees that you cannot answer, refer them to their College Contact (back-up) by email.

Students should continue to use the Course Absence Report system, which will remain in effect.  Students should consult their course syllabi for any course-specific changes as a result of moving to remote learning.

Students missing more than five days of class meetings, should email

You can refer your advisee to their College Contact or CaseNet directly, at

The 24/7 Student IT Support desk provides support for all students with a focus on Zoom, BlueJeans, and Canvas.  You can find that information here. This page, also has a link specific to SAS student remote IT support.

For more on remote learning see the College's COVID-19 page.

 Previous Announcements for Advisors


General Content


Basic Advising Expectations

referring students to the right resources

The following will help you guide your advisees toward appropriate resource centers and support services:

Annex Links

For staff who update departmental information on the College web site.