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You Can’t Get Retroactive Grades

The rumor of retroactive grades circulates around Bennington College regularly. According to one student “You apparently can ask to get a grade for a course that you took pass/fail after the term ended.” There is general confusion over whether this is possible among the student body with some saying that they know someone else who’s done it but there’s never a direct source. Is this possible or is it just a rumor?
Carly Rudzinski answered this question with a simple “no,” it is not possible to get grades for a course after you’ve finished that course and did not apply for grades at the beginning. “The only time we would permit it is if a student requested a letter grade by the deadline and we missed indicating that” in Populi. Rudzinski explained that often students will incorrectly submit a form, and they won’t get marked as having requested grades, and that remedying this is one of the only circumstances where grades can be assigned by a professor after the class has finished.
Rudzinski had some good advice for students submitting letter grades: “I think it’s important for students to know that when they submit that letter grade requested form, they get a copy back so if students submit the form and don’t get the form back in their email… then that can create problems…. Once you get that form back in your email, look it over and make sure that it indicates whatever you want it to indicate.”
There is one other potential source of this rumor: the Cumulative GPA Letter. This is the closest thing to retroactive grades that a student can get. Rudzinski explains, “what we provide to students is a letter stating what the range of what their GPA would have been in if they had chosen to select letter grades. We won’t go back and say a student would have earned an A in this class, a B in this class, we’ll say based on the look of their transcript and their narrative evaluations…” the GPA range is as stated in any individual letter. This may be confused by some students with retrospective GPA’s but, as described previously, they are not the same.
It seems that this rumor is not massively widespread as the registrar’s office only reports being asked about retroactive grades “once or twice a term.” Rudzinski states that typically “students are very on top of it” when it comes to applying for grades on time and correctly. For any further questions about this topic, please reach out to the registrar’s office at

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