Finals policy leaves room for interpretation

Finals week tends to be the most dreaded week of the semester. The difference between owning finals week and drowning in it comes down scheduling.

Most everyone has experienced that moment of jealousy when you find out your friend, classmate, or roommate has an easy finals schedule.

Sometimes this simply means they get out for Christmas break earlier than you do based on sheer chance.

Other times, it can seem like the system is against you, and everything is working out for them. How did they manage to take their final with the professor’s other section when your professor says that’s against policy? What do you mean they don’t have any written finals? Wait, seriously, their professor gave them their final on the last day of class instead? Questions like these might be running through your head when you hear friends discussing what their finals schedule is like, and sometimes the answers are unclear. This leaves us all thinking the same thing: finals week doesn’t seem fair.

Although the university does not publish an official finals examination policy, one would think there would be some sort of consensus for what is and is not allowed. While some students are stuck on campus until 10 p.m. a few days before Christmas, others start winter break when their last class of the semester ends, avoiding finals all together. While some policies are certainly up to the professor’s discretion, it seems the university might benefit from a concrete list of guidelines.

For instance, finals are marketed as two-hour time periods in which to take our exams. However some professors take it upon themselves to cut this time short, only allowing students an hour and a half, or even just an hour to complete their exam.  Even if the exam is short, students are promised two hours and should be allowed the whole time to complete their exam if necessary.

Another common discrepancy among professors comes about when some professors opt to give their students their finals early and don’t have them come in on the date of their final. Although, technically, students are supposed to take their exams at their scheduled time, many professors bend this rule. However, those professors that are unwilling to change exam times to accommodate for students are often resented, simply for following policy. The same goes for professors who are unwilling to allow students to take exams with other class sections. Unfortunately, the lack of consistency among professors makes those trying to follow the designated finals schedule look bad, whereas the professors that are more lenient are appreciated.

Issues can also arise from professors assigning alternative work instead of finals. In these situations, professors have students email the assignment to them, give it to them on the last day of class, or put it in their mailbox at the students’ convenience. Although it may be nice for the students, it creates the same problem as when professors change exam times for students.

Other professor policies that can frustrate students that don’t get to utilize them are policies like not having to take the final if you have an A in the class and perfect attendance, or take-home finals. Unless these policies go across the board, they will continue to cause strife amongst students.

Senior Katie Liberio noted that among different majors especially, finals schedules seem to differ greatly.

“I have a take home final, three projects, and only one exam which is nice,” Liberio said. “However, one of my roommates is a finance major, and she has both exams and projects on the day of her finals, essentially making her finals twice the amount of work. My other roommate is an English major and just has papers due, and doesn’t have to attend her finals, so obviously there is a lot of variation on what finals week can mean for different people.”

While these types are alternative finals schedules are preferred by the students that benefit from them, for other students that do have a traditional finals week, it may seem unfair. This is especially true given that our finals end so close to Christmas, when many students want to be at home preparing for the holidays. A more consistent finals policy across the board could help ensure that the finals process is fair for everyone and keep finals week envy at bay.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor