Classes should allow optional finals for second-semester seniors

May 9, 2018 — by Selena Liu

For second-semester seniors, the stress of college application season is over. But their academic stress is not.

The reason? Many still have to take on second-semester finals in regular, honors and AP classes, and in some cases, it’s questionable whether the finals are needed at all.

After all, second-semester seniors have already submitted their official transcripts to the colleges they are applying to. While seniors still have to meet minimum GPA requirements to avoid getting rescinded by colleges, finals shouldn’t make much of a difference, especially if seniors have shown decent effort and mastery of the subject throughout second semester.

At the very least, classes should stop giving unnecessary finals to seniors as long as they meet a certain grade requirement.

Science teacher Jenny Garcia has already implemented a no-finals system for her second-semester Physics students — students who have a 93 or above in the class by the last week of May are exempted from taking the final.

Other teachers, especially those who teach exclusively senior AP and Honors classes, should follow Garcia’s example. The grade cutoff for these more challenging classes should be more lenient, but exempting second-semester seniors from taking finals would not only reduce stress, but also reward them for not slacking off during second semester.

For one, seniors who aren’t as worried about finals can take the time out of second semester to visit prospective universities. These visits may be crucial deciding factors for seniors still contemplating about which universities to attend.

Second, teachers who exempt students above a certain grade cutoff will motivate second semester seniors to work harder before final exam week.

And finally — to be honest — seniors deserve a break. After four years of balancing rigorous schoolwork, standardized test preparation and extracurricular activities, prior to the beginning of an even more intense four years in college, seniors should be allowed to enjoy their last few weeks of high school, especially since most of them have already chosen their future schools.

As long as seniors have demonstrated proper knowledge of the information in the course, as evident from their grades, they should be exempted from taking second-semester finals. It’s the best graduation gift teachers can give.


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