Undergraduate Studies
Office of the Provost

Dear Pitt Students,

The midterm period can be challenging––especially in a pandemic––and I want you to know that I recognize how hard you are working. I commend your resilience and perseverance, and I am rooting for you to succeed.

Here are some tips and suggestions to help you prepare for midterms:

  • Consider using one of the many open study spaces on campus, either in preparation for exams or to have a quiet place in which to engage in them. This will allow you to focus on what you need to get done.
  • Reserve a group study room in the library (max. 2 people).
  • Prioritize your mental health. Rest, drink water, get some exercise and take breaks as needed. Remember, there are many wellness services, resources and offerings available to students, including counseling, workshops and more.
  • Reach out to your instructors or other faculty, advisors, mentors and staff at Pitt. We are here to help and can answer your questions.
  • Use the Student Self-Care Day on Wednesday, March 24, to relax and recharge. I absolutely recognize that this is not a replacement for a traditional spring break, and I appreciate your joining together with the rest of the Pitt community to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe so that we can all finish the term strong.

It might seem hard to believe, but it is time to start planning for the fall term. Here is a quick list of some items to think about.

  • Schedule a meeting with your advisor. Fall enrollment appointments for all undergraduate students begin on Monday, March 22. Reach out to your advisor to schedule a meeting so that you have a plan in place before your appointment.
  • Consider summer coursework. We will continue offering a flat rate for summer courses to facilitate catching up––or even finishing up––with a broad slate of classes offered this summer under the Flex@Pitt model.
  • Plan accordingly. Use Degree Planner, a new tool in PeopleSoft/HighPoint Campus Experience (“CX”), to see what courses you need to take to graduate. This tool allows you to make a detailed plan for the remainder of your course of study to ensure that you finish up as efficiently as possible. Also, it allows you to try out “what-if” scenarios to see how various decisions may impact your graduation timing and more. Find Degree Planner in myPitt: Search for “CX,” log in to CX, and from the left side menu select Academics, then select Degree Planner. This provides a great way for you and your advisor to jointly create several plans so that you are prepared for any future possibilities.

Learn more about Degree Planner in this 60-second video:

Press play to watch the Degree Planner video

Finally, we want to support your academic success in any way that we can. We also recognize that things don’t always go according to plan during this difficult time. As such, and as we did in the fall term, we will be allowing a “late withdrawal” window after the completion of the term to allow students who experience significant challenges during the term to withdraw from a class even after the term ends.

In addition, if you run into problems trying to complete a course, we will be modifying the “G grade” (incomplete for extenuating circumstances) process to facilitate taking a bit more time to complete a course, if needed. This new process will allow a “fallback grade” to be recorded in cases where a student has done enough to achieve a passing grade in a course but would like more time to finish some well-defined final assignments. As with all G grades, you will need to work out those details with your instructor.

Please email me at vpmccarthy@pitt.edu if I can help you with your academic goals.

Keep up the great work!


Joseph J. McCarthy
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies