I have struggled a little with what to do about the essay deadline, but after having talked with some colleagues I think I have a solution that will satisfy most:
- We can have an essay deadline as late as Jan 20. I will not have graded all the exams at that point in time.
- You don't have to write an essay for Jan 20, because there will be a second deadline, on April 20.
- You can thus wait and see how many points you have scored on the seminar assignments + home exam - and only then choose if you want to complete the essay (for April 20).
To summarize; there is one deadline for the essay on Jan 20. There is a second deadline for the essay on April 20 if you don't hand in the essay in January.