Patrick McDowell, Ashleigh Porter-Exley, Lucy Beauvallet and Maria Doran, who are all aged between 16 and 18, responded angrily to the suggestion that they should be enjoying their childhoods rather than trying to start businesses and win money on a TV show at such a young age.
[Maria Doran and Ashleigh Porter-Exley - Young Apprentice finalists]
"At my age, my mum already had a child. You can't win as a kid. We are either anti-social thugs on street corners drinking, or you're up yourself because you have the determination and ambition to go on a show like this," Ashleigh told Digital Spy.
"We get criticised if we do and criticised if we don't," said Lucy.
Maria commented: "I hate that statement. There was a show, The Wright Stuff, and they said the Young Apprentice was cruel and that these kids should have a childhood. But you can leave school and get a job at 16. So why shouldn't we work hard and start businesses?
"People criticise us for being unemployed teenage nuisances, but now we're on a show like this, people throw that accusation at us. It really winds me up."
[Lucy Beauvallet and Patrick McDowell - Young Apprentice finalists]
Patrick added: "What is hanging with friends and doing nothing going to get you? I'd prefer to do something with my time."
The foursome, who are competing for £25,000 in tonight's final, also heaped praise on the show's main star Lord Alan Sugar.
"A lot of people say things that they don't mean, but Lord Sugar always says what he means and that's refreshing," said Patrick.
Maria described the millionaire as "firm but fair", adding: "He doesn't do anything sneakily. With Lord Sugar you always get what you see."
The group admitted that relations between the candidates have sometimes been frosty, confessing that living together has been a tough experience.
"After living with each other for weeks and weeks, there are things we hate about each other. Some people spend too long in the bathroom, some people fake tan too much," said Ashleigh.
Maria joked: "Is that a dig at me?!"
Ashleigh added: "We did learn that you have to put up with other people in life and work with other people with strong personalities. That's something we'll all take away from this show."
Speaking about their career plans beyond the show, Maria said that she would like to work in the media, while Lucy claimed that she would love to work in food and bakery. Patrick said that his passion remains in the fashion industry, while Ashleigh claimed that her dream job would be in a marketing company.
However, the finalists haven't ruled out working together again in the future.
"Me and Maria were actually talking on the phone last night about projects for 2013. It's going to be a big year for us," said Lucy.
The Young Apprentice final airs tonight (December 20) at 8pm on BBC One.
Watch video previews of the final episode below: