Opinion: Finals week schedules shouldn’t be a mystery

I’m not saving any money on tuition, so the least NYU could do is let me save money on flights home.


Yuna Baek

(Yuna Baek for WSN)

Naisha Roy, Deputy Opinion Editor

The end of the spring semester involves a lot of moving parts. Students have to worry about surviving finals week, packing and leaving dorms and — for those who live outside of New York City — booking flights home. NYU adds one extra difficulty during this already stressful time: The university doesn’t release final exam dates until midway through the semester, leaving students to scramble for airline tickets.

On Feb. 14, NYU published its final exam schedule for its Washington Square campus. Seven days later, it followed up with the Tandon School of Engineering’s schedule. By releasing these dates so late in the semester, the university prevented students from purchasing the optimal flight tickets for their summer break and overcomplicated the moving out process. If NYU released finals dates earlier, students could worry less about arranging flights and the potentially increased ticket prices.

Typically, it’s best to buy tickets for domestic flights about three months in advance for departure dates in the summer, with tickets bought at the last minute averaging a $220 increase. This timeframe is usually even earlier for international flights, which tend to be more expensive and more difficult to reschedule. Students could book their tickets for the end of the final exam period, but they risk wasting extra days in their dorm instead of with family if their exams fall at the beginning of the week.

Because these dates are released near the end of February, students tend to book flights in the beginning of March. However, a study by University of Southern California’s Illumin Magazine found that flight prices tend to be the most expensive near the beginning of months. Despite being the U.S. university with the highest amount of international students, NYU doesn’t seem to consider the hundreds of dollars these students could save by booking their flights even a few weeks earlier.

There are other issues with NYU’s finals release schedule as well. The university didn’t advertise that the document was released, so students did not know they had access to the information unless they were specifically searching for it. This may have further delayed their end of the year plans, as they would have had to wait for the news to trickle down from their professors. 

The NYU housing agreement also states that students need to move out 24 hours after their last final exam. This doesn’t give students a lot of leeway to pack and figure out storage — which the university doesn’t provide — unless they know well in advance. If students knew how much time they had to leave their dorm by the beginning of the semester, they could make arrangements much earlier and focus on studying during the week of exams.

NYU could finalize exam dates in advance and publish them when registration opens on Albert, NYU’s course management system. This would also give students another factor to consider when selecting more low-stakes classes like electives. Just as people avoid 8 a.m. classes or Friday classes, they could avoid classes with finals on later days in order to see their families earlier.

By giving students a glimpse of their finals well in advance, NYU would add a little stability — and maybe some more family time — to an otherwise very tumultuous few weeks.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Naisha Roy at [email protected].