Taking finals after graduation poses pros, cons for seniors

Katherine Johnston, senior in journalism and mass communications, is graduating Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Gabby Browne)

On Saturday, a goal will be accomplished for many students at Kansas State. Saturday is December graduation, and when those graduating seniors hear their names called in Bramlage Coliseum, the book will be closed on their college careers.

Well, sort of.

While the students will walk across the stage and turn their tassels to show they have successfully finished college, it is not quite over yet. Those same students will have to return to campus next week to take their final exams for the semester.

With that being the case, a day that is supposed to be full of joy and celebration, could quickly lose its glamour.

“Usually, graduation is a time to celebrate your accomplishments with friends and family and the closing of a chapter in your life,” Dalton Savage, senior in civil engineering, said. “However, this can be tough knowing finals are looming right around the corner.”

While some students think that having finals after graduation can take away from the fun of receiving the diploma, others think that with how the semester schedule falls with the holidays, taking finals following graduation is more than acceptable.

“In terms of fall graduation, I think it’s fair to have students come back to take finals because of the timing of everything,” Katherine Johnston, senior in journalism and mass communications, said. “If graduation were placed the weekend after finals week, it would be too close to Christmas and much too difficult for people to attend. It’s annoying, but I think, at least in this instance, it’s acceptable.”

The way the schedule falls also affects how faculty thinks of the current situation.

“While it would be nice (to finish finals before graduation), it is helpful for students and faculty to not have to stick around campus for the rest of the week if they were to finish their finals early in the week and have graduation late that same week,” Sarah Riforgiate, assistant professor in communication studies, said.

After walking at graduation, some students could lose motivation to finish out their exams strong, whether or not their finals will have a big impact on their grades.

“I imagine it will be extremely difficult to stay motivated after walking across the stage and tossing that graduation cap into the air,” Savage said. “At this point in time, many students have already accepted jobs and made plans for after graduation so all they need to do is pass their remaining classes. Instead of shooting for that A, the motivation is to do what it takes to pass and receive a diploma.”

Students’ motivation levels can also be affected by which classes their finals are in.

“If (my final) was a class for my major that I was doing poorly in, I would definitely study like crazy for it,” Johnston said. “But since it’s a gen ed and I already have a solid ‘A’ in the course, I’m not really planning to study that much for it at all.”

The opinions of students and faculty vary when it comes to taking finals after graduation. Some think it is fair, and some would like to do away with it.

While the status of when finals are taken will likely never be changed for the fall semester, Savage said he would like them to be taken before graduation.

“I think it would definitely be beneficial to hold the commencement ceremony after finals,” Savage said. “This way, graduates can focus on enjoying their time with friends and family and celebrating the years they’ve spent at Kansas State instead of worrying about upcoming finals.”