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Students prepare for finals, make academic and behavioral choices

Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Coasting through the last few weeks of school can give potential colleges a bad impression.

As students journey into adulthood, choices and their consequences become more and more important. While many add to their success, sometimes decisions lead down dire paths like the tendency to stray from a focus and dedication to studies.

Using summer and college acceptance letters to rationalize their decisions, students may fail to see the last few weeks of school as an opportunity to learn and prepare for finals.

Those who choose to coast through the last couple of weeks, see their current grades as sufficient and think doing poorly or failing a final won’t affect their score. Some students start to skip classes and/or fail to study for upcoming tests. They see their class score is a B and think that a final won’t change their grade but unfortunately, a Feather poll suggests otherwise.

Asking a variety of FCS teachers, the poll found that most teachers include finals as an average of 20 percent, if not more, of a student’s overall grade. These final tests can drop scores by one letter grade or more.

Consider the following scenario.

After four years of late-night studying, applying to colleges, visiting universities, and making sure he had enough extra-curricular activities and volunteer hours, a senior’s spring semester impresses a university of choice. He rips open the letter from his dream school, staring at the eight-letter word in the first paragraph – “Accepted.”

Yet as the excitement died down, over the next couple of months, the same student settled into the comfortable feeling that comes from being accepted. Knowing that he had got into his dream school, his attendance rate dropped. No need to go as often, he thought. “I’ve got this!”

Lindsay Weimer | The Feather Online

Extra-curricular activities like sports or drama add to the stress of finals and can develop into excuses to give up.

But after ten more absences in his first period class and a couple of late, missed and sloppy assignments, along with some questionable behavioral choices, the student’s overall GPA lowers from a 3.8 and later to a 3.0. A few documented social problems also mar his transcript. And, this could have repeated itself in more than one class.

Students might not take into consideration that a lower GPA may also affect an university’s scholarship offer.

Later, with graduation complete, the senior receives a letter in the mail from his dream school. However, excitement can immediately be dashed. Reading the first line his heart dropped. Tearing up, he tried to finish the letter but hung onto the first word – “Rescinded.”

This narrative is based on stories that academic advisors frequently hear while guiding students through their college decisions. Throughout her sessions with students, campus academic advisor Evangelina Tello aims to remind them that though colleges have accepted a student, they still possesses the power to rescind applications.

In similar situations during 2017, over ten students who had been accepted to Harvard had their college admissions rescinded due to inappropriate behavior.

Jose Alejandro Cuffia on Unsplash

Students fail to see the last few weeks of school as an opportunity to learn and prepare for finals.

While coasting through the end of the year is not encouraged by teachers, the result may not always be devastating. Depending on a student’s grades, cruising through the last few weeks of school can produce sufficient marks. A student could still achieve a B in the class if a B or C is attained on the final.

FCS does not weight grades. However, there are other colleges and schools that do, so getting the bare minimum for an A in high school may not be actually be an A at a different school or at the collegiate level. This makes it essential to normalize the practice of finishing a year strong and putting forth the best effort possible.

Although maintaining the same level of effort throughout the school year is important, remember to take breaks and give yourself time to relax. Balancing school work and relaxation is important, and with the right schedule, students can still excel in their classes without losing their sanity and social life.

In the fight against end-of-school apathy, set goals and resist procrastination. Develop objectives and set up a schedule to complete homework on time. As finals pile up, allot time to study throughout the week. Whether it is getting straight As or passing that AP test, set goals and a standard that push you to do your best.

For another editorial, read EDITORIAL: Growth through giving back. For another article, check out Choices: Teen pressures, substance abuse contribute to health issues, social misconceptions.

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