Cameron McCue and Caleb Sanderson will be graduating this spring from high school and will look out into the crowd and know one member of their family is not there. Their sisters, Besty McCue and Tabby Sanderson will not be attending this significant moment in their brother’s life. Instead, they will be taking finals.
Because the semester ends in the fourth week of May, many students at Augustana will miss important events and opportunities or will have to rearrange their finals. The last day of finals is May 23 and Augustana commencement is May 25.
Some students are missing out on internship opportunities. Junior Tabby Sanderson was told not to apply by a hospital internship administrator in Moorhead because she would be unable to be there for the full internship. Instead, she found a job working at a camp in the Black Hills, but still has to leave the day after taking her last test.
“It’s a little stressful because I feel I have no transition period,” Sanderson said. “There’s no space to gather myself. There’s no rest period.”
Sophomore Melissa Soe also has been affected by Augustana’s academic calendar. Her 10-week leadership program for Campus Crusade for Christ in South Carolina starts May 22. Soe has arranged with her professors to take her four finals in two days to arrive in Myrtle Beach on time.
“I will be extraordinary stressed when it gets to that part in the year,” Soe said.
The scheduling of spring finals week depends upon which day of the week January 1 falls. Classes begin on either the next Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday that is not January 2.
According to Joni Krueger, registrar, classes do not begin Thursday or Friday because some students feel like it is not worth it to come back and missed one or two days of class in January, which is equivalent to one or two weeks of class during the semester. Their absences can cause great distress for both the students attempting to catch up and the professors trying to help them.
Another factor that affects Augustana’s finals is interim semester, which lasts three and half weeks. Many state schools, such as South Dakota State University or University of South Dakota, that end three weeks earlier do not have an interim.
Sue Hasseler, academic dean of Augustana, recognizes that students face difficult dilemmas because of spring finals’ timing.
“Make sure you communicate very carefully with the people with whom you’re speaking that it’s a parameter at your institution, and it’s not your limitation as an applicant,” Hasseler said.
Both Hasseler and Krueger recommend that students do their best to plan ahead.
This year, a projected academic calendar was created to help students and the rest of the Augustana community plan ahead for the next six years. This calendar was made with input from the Augustana Student Association, President’s Council, department chairs, athletic and music departments, and admissions.
“I think the calendar took into account all the variables as well as we could because you always have competing goods,” Hasseler said.
“There’s so many important things that happen in the academic year. You want to give them all enough space.”
The projected calendar can be found online at ww.augie.edu/registrar under the Academic Calendar link.
According to the projected calendar, Augustana will still hold commencement and finals towards the end of May, and students will still struggle dealing with the dates.