what is a passing grade in college

Grades at college, as in every other year of school, reflect how effectively you perform and absorb knowledge in a class. Most students wonder what is a passing grade in college? And rightfully so, as the answer can vary depending on the institution.

Some professors may grade on a curve, altering a standard grading scale to reflect how the majority of the students are performing. Others may use the usual grading scheme of 90%+ as an ‘A’, 80-89% as a ‘B’, and so on.

The grading system in college is commonly divided into five letter grades: A, B, C, D, and F. Each letter grade correlates to a number range and a grade point average (GPA). You’ll typically need a letter grade between ‘A’ and ‘D’ to pass a class, which is often the numerical equivalent of 65% or above. If you receive an ‘F’, which stands for “fail“, you will not be able to pass the class. Typically, the cutoff for receiving an F is 64%.

Let’s understand the college grading system that can help you reevaluate your grades.

College Grading System

LetterPercentage GradePass/FailGPA

The table reflects all the essential grading components you need to understand if you are enrolling in a college. Understanding the percentage, GPA, and grading system can help you plan your academic career and focus on the areas that need work. Don’t worry if you don’t get an ‘A’ on every assignment – as long as you pass, you’re doing well!

Is D a Passing Grade?

d is usually considered a passing grade

A ‘Dis usually considered a passing grade. On the other hand, receiving a ‘D’ may suggest that you need to comprehend and retain all of the course information fully. Even if your school considers a ‘Da passing grade, you may wish to retake the course if you want to take higher-level courses in the same subject area.

Passing Grade Policies

The grade required to pass a class may vary based on the following:

  • Credit needs
  • Essential curriculum requirements
  • Important requirements
  • Financial assistance and scholarship requirements

To achieve a college degree, you must obtain a particular number of college credit hours, and can only receive credit for courses you pass. A ‘D’ grade or above is often required to meet general credit requirements.

Your school may have stricter grade criteria to meet the curriculum requirements. Some colleges, for example, may require you to get a ‘C’ or above in courses linked to your major or maintain a 2.0 GPA across all courses to graduate.

If you obtain scholarships or financial help, your grading or GPA requirements may be more significant. To learn more, look into the specifics of your scholarship or financial assistance package.

Pass/Fail Classes

Students at some schools apply for courses on a pass/fail basis

Students at some schools can apply for courses on a pass/fail basis. If you select this option, you will earn a Pass or Fail grade—there is no in-between. In this example, a passing grade signifies receiving a ‘C’ or higher.

Taking a pass/fail course may contribute toward your total graduation requirements, such as the minimum required credits, but your score will not be utilized to calculate your final GPA. Therefore, if you are concerned about your performance and want to safeguard your GPA, it would be wise to take a class on a pass/fail basis.

Grade Requirements to Apply for a Grad School

When you apply to graduate school, one of the most crucial variables considered by the admissions committee is your undergraduate grades.

Letters of reference, standardized test scores, a personal statement, and other factors will undoubtedly be considered in the admissions process, in addition to grades. However, your grades are one of the most important factors since they demonstrate your understanding of the courses you took. Grades also reflect your work and commitment to a subject.

How Do GPAs work?

the grade that are requirements to apply for a grad school

Your grades are essential not just for progressing to the next semester but also for your GPA. GPA is an abbreviation for grade point average. It is computed by assigning a numerical value to letter grades and dividing the total number of classes by the total number of classes.

The GPA is calculated by multiplying the unit value for each course in which a student earns one of the above grades by the number of grade points for that grade. The total of these items is then divided by the total number of units. By dividing the total number of grade points by the total number of units, the cumulative GPA is determined.

When applying to graduate school, GPAs are essential. They can also help you stand out while searching for employment because you can mention them on your resume if they are sufficiently high. While it may vary in your field of study, a GPA of 3.15 or higher is considered respectable. This GPA is equivalent to a ‘B’ average.

Your GPA will suffer if you only pass classes but do not perform well in them. That is why it is crucial to try your best and seek assistance when necessary.

Do Grades Matter When Applying for a Job?

Some job recruiters may ask about your GPA or consider it from your resume throughout the application process. This is most certainly the case if your college degree is closely relevant to your job. It is especially vital if you have no prior expertise in the subject. As a result, you may depend on your academic credentials to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a passing grade in college percentage?

A letter grade of ‘D‘ is deemed passing because it means you did not fail the exam but you need to work harder on the subject. A ‘D‘ is any percentage between 60% and 69%, but a failure is less than 60%.

Is D a passing grade in college?

A ‘D‘ grade is often passing, yet undesirable because the minimal average at a regular undergraduate institution is a ‘C‘ grade.

Is a 60 passing in college?

Yes, 60%-69%, which is a ‘D‘ grade, is considered a passing grade in most colleges.

Is a C a passing grade in college?

Yes, a ‘C‘ grade or 70%-79% is a passing grade in college.


While searching for a college, it s important to check their grading criteria first. Understanding what is a passing grade in college is crucial for tracking and improving your academic performance. Most schools believe a D+is a passing grade, depending on your course requirements.

It is important to keep in mind that each school has its own criteria. Students should examine college and major regulations to ensure they earn credit for their courses.

In the end, a “passing grade” is simply defined as the minimum credits and GPA required to stay enrolled at your institution. This means that every student’s definition of a “passing grade” will be different based on their individual academic program. Although grades are important, it’s also important to remember that your worth as a person is not defined by a letter or percentage.

If you’re struggling in a class, talk to your professor or TA and see what resources are available to help you succeed. And finally, don’t forget to give yourself some grace – we all have bad days but you can always study harder to improve your GPA!