Opinion: Students should have more extra credit opportunities

As a college student, I have to constantly juggle multiple things at once: classes, homework, my job, well-being, relationships and more. Since I have so many things weighing on my shoulders, I find that I sometimes don’t have the time to put the most effort into my papers and homework and studying for tests can also be a struggle. This leaves me constantly worried and stressed about my grades, and I sometimes fear the worst — failing my classes.

It is when I hear my professors say that I have the option to do extra credit that I regain hope. This doesn’t happen often, though, as a lot of professors choose not to offer extra credit even when their class consists of only a few grades on a midterm, a final and a paper. 

This puts a lot of pressure on students to do well on these few grades and will lead them to intense stress and anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, there has been a 30 percent increase in students seeking out counseling, and 61 percent of students report they are seeking counseling for anxiety.

Offering extra credit in every class would help to relieve some of this stress and anxiety. It is not always that students are lazy or don’t care when they get sub-par grades, but sometimes is because of the stress from the overwhelming amount of work they have and having to balance the work with their everyday lives.

I have a few friends who have failed classes due to doing poorly on one test and that one test score tanked their grade in the class completely. If given the option to make this up with extra credit work, that failing grade would no longer be on their transcript and they would have been able to pass. 

These friends also suffer with anxiety and stress and it has been shown that at USC, 27 percent of students who reported having stress said it affected their academic performance negatively. Extra credit is always a reassuring thing and can relieve a bit of the stress that so many students are feeling.

As classes get more advanced, additional instruction is always helpful. Students normally take about five classes per semester; therefore, they are having to retain information from a multitude of subjects. This can sometimes lead to confusion and lack of focus in classes and the student most likely will need additional instruction.

A professor’s office hours are always an option, of course, but when a student has already received low marks and has possibly lost interest, what else can they do? 

A professor can offer this student extra credit and can even do it in the form of attending an event, like a lecture or open discussion. This can spark the student’s interest in the subject and they’ll be more inclined to work hard if they are understanding and are interested in the subject. 

Even if a student has good grades in a class, they can still attend an event that could expand their knowledge on the topic and possibly interest them in some future endeavors, like research.

Extra credit opportunities can really make a difference in a struggling student’s life. It can relieve a lot of stress, usually caused by the fear of failing classes. No student is perfect and we all have things that come up in life that make it hard to focus on work. Allowing students to make up for normal human mistakes can make a world of a difference.

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