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Exam Schedule

prettyhappyprettyhappy Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited September 2010 in Swarthmore College
My daughter has a full week between her first 3 exams and her last exam. Her professor said that the exam cannot be changed. Any thoughts on how she should proceed? All the other selective liberal arts colleges my child applied to allow for self scheduled exams. Thanks
Post edited by prettyhappy on

Replies to: Exam Schedule

  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch Registered User Posts: 2,169 Senior Member
    It's kind of a pain but so it sometimes goes. She's unlikely to be the only one in that situation. It's neither that unusual nor that terrible, so really my suggestion for "how she should proceed" would be, just as everybody else does. And be glad she has some extra time for that last one. :)

    Also, note that it's possible that the other three professors may have different plans. Sometimes a final appears on the Registrar's schedule, but the prof assigns a paper or a take-home or something else entirely.

    I think I might also suggest letting go of the idea of how things work at the other schools she applied to. Dwelling on that won't help her.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    My recommendation to your daughter would be to write a politely, lovingly worded e-mail to her parents reminding them that she is a capable young adult now, no longer in high school, living on her own at one of the top colleges in the world, and is, therefore more than capable of sorting out her own exam schedule.

    As a practical matter, the vast majority of "finals" my daughter had during her four years at Swarthmore were in the form of a final paper or a take home "open book" essay question. My favorite was her final exam in American Politics which consisted of one question, "What good is judical review, really?"

    As a second practical matter, I think the majority of Swatties need the full week (and for many, even longer) to complete all of their papers. I don't recall that my daughter ever scheduled her flight home before the last day of finals. There may have been a semester or two when she had everything done a day before that, but she was more than happy to use the extra day to sleep late, veg around, and just generally bask in the warm glow of being done. In any case, she always booked her own flights to and from Swarthmore, sometimes while on the phone with one of us, checking schedule preferences for picking her up at the airport.

    As a third practical matter, I'm assuming your daughter is a freshman. So, if she really ends up with free time between exams, send her a little train money so she can take the train into Philadelphia or New York City and explore the many museums and historical offerings that college students are usually too busy to enjoy.
  • shellfellshellfell Registered User Posts: 3,010 Senior Member
    S always planned to stay until the end of finals, regardless of his exam schedule. He usually had at least one paper due by the end of exams, so he used whatever "free" time he had during exams to work on papers.

    (cross-posted with ID)
  • prettyhappyprettyhappy Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thanks for the reply. Sounds as though she will have plenty of time to prepare for that fourth exam. "just as everyone else does" - so students cannot/never do request any flexibility on scheduling? On my noting (dwelling?) of self scheduling, it just seems that the trend is towards self scheduling...She is the first child to go to Swarthmore/college so the ways of Swarthmore are new to both her and her parents.
  • prettyhappyprettyhappy Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thanks for the additional replies. I'll pass along these experienced Swarthmore parent comments on the exam schedule and its fixed nature.
  • nngmmnngmm Registered User Posts: 5,708 Senior Member
    Out of my 3 kids one attended Swarthmore. Out of their 3 schools I'm now well familiar with, Swarthmore was the most flexible BY FAR (so much so, that I worried that my Swarthmore student will never realize that the word "deadline" has a real-world meaning).

    At Stanford, for example, if your 2 finals get scheduled at the same time, and you can only be present for one of them (duh...), you are likely to get a 0 on the other one, because, according to them, it is your responsibility to choose your classes in a way that there are no exam conflicts. And if the assignment is submitted on line 30 seconds late, it counts as "late".

    Believe me, Swarthmore is very nice to its students...
  • prettyhappyprettyhappy Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thanks nngmm. Did I imply Swarthmore was not nice to its students? I certainly had not intended to.
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    so students cannot/never do request any flexibility on scheduling?

    Flexibility? I know one Swattie friend of my daughters who graduated three years ago and still hasn't turned in a paper from freshman year. My daughter once met with a professor during exam week and told the prof, "don't you dare offer me an extension, I wanna be done..."

    To answer your question, it may or may not be appropriate to ask for flexibility. It depends on the situation. Every freshman is assigned a Student Academic Mentor (SAM) and I believe there are SAMs living in every dorm on campus. This would be the perfect question for a Swattie freshman to raise with his or her SAM, who could quickly assess the appropriateness.

    Again, I can't speak for what all Swatties do, but as a general rule, my Swattie daughter and, I believe all of her friends, always just planned to travel on the last day of exam week. They are home for nearly a month at Christmas You will be sick of them and they will be sick of you before they head back for second semester.
  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch Registered User Posts: 2,169 Senior Member
    so students cannot/never do request any flexibility on scheduling?

    Sure they do, and as interestedddad and others pointed out, they often get it when they ask. Generally speaking, that applies more to papers and other kinds of assignments than to course finals. Either way, I think i'dad's suggestion of checking with a SAM is a good one for a first-year. And again, as I (and others) mentioned, your daughter may find that a sit-down final on the scheduled date is not what one or more of her other three professors have in mind.

    When, however, it *is* what the prof has in mind, then the date of the final is unlikely to change, and that's why others here stress that it's wise to plan to be on campus through the last day of finals. It's definitely the policy my recent grad and my current student follow(ed).

    In any case, good luck to her with her first round of finals. I hope she's prettyhappy at Swat so far.
  • prettyhappyprettyhappy Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    Thanks again! I've emailed her a summary of your comments. It is good for her to have a bit of background information as she decides what/if to do anything. And, yes! She very much loves being at Swarthmore (classes, friends,professors, roommates, dorm, etc) and is so very happy.
This discussion has been closed.