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Reward For Naught

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For the non-honors student, sans thesis and sans final examinations, the second half of the Senior year is a loaf. Three hour exams and a general examination early in May are the only hurdles between him and his diploma. On the last day of generals, all his formal academic endeavor comes to an end. Because he writes no thesis, his college career has endured little longer than three and a half years.

The honors candidate is also excused from final examinations in courses in his field. But for him the month of "vacation" between departmentals and Commencement comes as a reward for labor performed on a thesis. Since that entails far more work than has been shirked by "course reduction," the honors candidate is entitled to have May and June free for the informal education which he missed during his thesis grind. He deserves, that is, the chance for a rest which his excuse from finals grants.

That adds up to saying that under the present system, the non-honors Senior gets a reward he has not earned. He is let off from finals simply because he is a Senior and "can be trusted" to work without the fear of finals hanging over him. Unfortunately, pleasant though this ideal may be, it doesn't work out. Lecture courses taken by large numbers of Seniors are practically unattended as soon as hour exams are over. It is a rare student who will do work which isn't going to be checked up on. The only remedy is to treat the honors and the non-honors Senior by different standards, giving the one the exemption from finals which he deserves and keeping the other on the job by threatening him with a Memorial Hall checkup at the end of the year.

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