When deciding on colleges, one factor you may consider is the school’s terms. Does the college decide divide their year up in 2 parts (semesters) or 4 (quarters)? Below is some information about each system, and the pros and cons of each. Some of this information may not be true for EVERY SINGlE college, so be sure to ask the schools you are interested about how their terms are divided.
–Schools on semester usually begin the first semester (Fall Semester) the near the end of August and end at Christmas time. Then, the next semester (Spring Semester) will begin soon after the new year, and end at the beginning of May. Pro: If you plan to have a job over the summer, finishing school in early May gives you a jump start in finding a seasonal job. Con: Going back to school at the end of August when it still feels like summertime is kind of a drag…
-During a semester a normal class load is any where between 15-18 credits. That can equate to around 6 different classes. Pro: Because semesters are long, there are often multiple tests, quizzes, projects, and papers. This means if you bomb one test, you haven’t necessarily failed the class. Pro: your classes can really go in depth on topics because a semester is so long. Con: more classes require more organization and management.
– Semester schools usually have a summer term that is shorter than a true semester. The content of the classes during summer are accelerated. Pro: summer term for semester system schools can be a quicker way to earn credits than the normal semester. Con: summer term can require a high level of discipline as it is easy to fall behind with content
-Schools on quarter systems start fall quarter during the middle to end of September, and end in middle of December. Then winter quarter begins around the middle of January, and ends mid-March. Spring quarter begins in early April and and ends in the middle of May. Summer quarters go from June- August. Pro: it can feel like you get more summer because September is still a warm month, and you don’t start fall quarter until the end of September Con: you’re still in school when all your friends at semester schools are on summer break
-In a quarter system you take only a few classes at a time. Pro: easy to keep track of assignments and a simpler schedule Pro: get classes that you don’t want to take out of the way faster. Con: quicker pace requires higher level of attendance and puts more weight on each assignment and test. Many quarter classes have only a midterm and a final.