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nostaglic0galnostaglic0gal Posts: 2Registered User New Member
I would appreciate it if you guys could help me make an important decision...I'm currently studying at the Ohio State Uni which runs on quarters. I am an international student. I've been on the annual system all my life. We had 9-10 classes the whole year through.
I did pretty well back home but now that I'm on the quarter system at OSU, I've been totally freaked out. I am an undergrad...I'm majoring in Molecular Genetics and have a minor in Psychology.
The classes are SO fast-paced, it's incredibly overwhelming. I hardly find time to adjust myself to the new schedule each quarter. I don't remember much of what I learned my last two quarters.
I'm the kind of person who likes to review the material taught in class over and over again. It helps me retain information. But, I can only dream of doing that right now. I'm doing poorly on almost all my classes.
Do you think a person like me would do better in a semester school since I come from an annual system?
Someone told me that there's no difference between the two systems. You're basically covering the same amount of material in both the systems. Is that true?
I've been thinking of transferring to a semester college which is going to be a big change for me since I would have to move to a different city and since this is my first time in the US, it will take a bit longer for me to get adjusted to the new place.
So is it that if I'm taking a general chem class in a quarter college, I would get a mere 10 weeks to go over the material whereas if I were in a semester school I would get close to 15 weeks to cover the exact same thing?
I'm a pre-med student so I HAVE to retain the information that I'm being bombarded with.
I found people here talking about getting done with a class sooner in a quarter system. I personally want to enjoy the whole process of learning instead of thinking about getting done as soon as I can.
I would really be grateful if you could advise me on this.
Should I transfer to a semester school?
How often do you have quizzes/midterms/finals/assignments in a semester?
Thanks! :)
Post edited by nostaglic0gal on


  • mario2485mario2485 Posts: 50Registered User Junior Member
    When I was on a campus visit last week, I was on a campus tour and one of the current students mentioned that for a typical student, the quarter system offers 3-4 classes for 11 weeks while the semester system offers 5-6 classes for 16 weeks. Also the quarter system is more fast paced than the semester system.

    According to your situation, it seems that the fast paced quarter system is not working for you. The semester system would probably work better for your needs.

    Think hard about this before you make a decision. Good luck!
  • MidwestMom2Kids_MidwestMom2Kids_ Posts: 6,673Registered User Senior Member
    A semester school covers one year of general chemistry in a year, two semesters. A quarter school covers one year of general chemistry in a year, three quarters.

    I wonder if you might be carrying too many credits. How many classes are you taking?
  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,612Registered User Senior Member
    Just for the record, all ohio state schools will be changing to the semester system by 2013 or earlier if it can be implemented. This was done to allow easier transfers between schools and to coincide with sports' schedules. Be advised of this.
  • The SpeakerThe Speaker Posts: 184Registered User Junior Member
    ^ taxguy, have you a link for that information? I don't doubt you, I'm just curious what their stated reasoning is.
  • taxguytaxguy Posts: 6,612Registered User Senior Member
    Here is the plan posted by University of Cinciinnati.
    Semester Conversion, University of Cincinnati

    I was told that part of the reason they are switch is because other Ohio schools such as Ohio State will be switching.

    See also the academic plan by osu:OSU AAUP index and also

    The Academic Plan - The Ohio State University
  • kelseygkelseyg Posts: 786Registered User Member
    Personally, I love the quarter system because I get bored easily but also like to take a lot of classes in a year (which the quarter system makes easier if you do it correctly.)

    Perhaps you would do better at a semester school if you need more time to adjust to a schedule change... how many classes are you taking per quarter now? Most people have no problem managing 3 but 4 can be more difficult for some.
  • ChrysChrys Posts: 112Registered User Junior Member
    kelseyg, how do you do it "correctly"? How can you still get a lot out of a short class? I've been thinking about the ins and outs of a quarter system lately, so I'm curious.
  • kelseygkelseyg Posts: 786Registered User Member
    Well, correctly is perhaps a more loaded word than I meant to use... I don't mean anything very complicated. At OSU, you can usually take 3 or 4 normal-credit-hour classes a quarter. I think most people opt for 3.

    If you take 4 each quarter you can get in an 3 extra classes a year without too much difficulty, with adds up to 12 extra classes (over a year's worth of 3-class quarters) over 4 years. That would be pretty tiring if they were all difficult classes, though, but it's kind of nice for electives.

    I think on the semester system it would be more burdensome to fit all of those classes in (one semester you'd have to take 2 extra courses, after all.)
  • nmikenmike Posts: 53Registered User Junior Member
    I have never been on the quarter system, but I think I could relate with kelsey that the quarter hour system seems nice because it is faster paced BUT that means you can stay more focused on just a few things at a time.

    You are going to be a taking a similar load either way and for that reason it may not be best to transfer just because of OSU's term schedule. There is a lot you are probably adjusting too and this might just another one of those things.

    I'm coming from a semester schedule and this is how I see it. Many 3-4 semester hour classes that each might only take a bit of your time every week will be faster paced 5 quarter hour courses. Instead of taking 4 or 5 of those 3-4 semester hour classes each term you will only be taking 3 classes that are 5 quarter hours each. Many sequences will finish in a similar amount of time, example 1 year of chemistry is 1 year of chemistry in either system, 1 year of abstract algebra is still 1 year of abstract algebra, calculus 1-3 is 1 year and 1 semester or 1 year and 1 quarter either way, and accelerated calculus 1 year either way (all with one more final and one more break between terms)

    However if you get lost for a few weeks on the quarter schedule it's going to be much harder to get back up when on the quarter system since it is much faster paced. That's a legitimate downside.

    I hope that if I go to OSU they will keep the quarter system at least until I graduate. I, also, have a short attention span :) (this current semester has already been dragging on for far too long!)
  • North2SouthNorth2South Posts: 98Registered User Junior Member
    I am an OSU alumni. I too hated the quarter system and still do. I am thrilled to hear that OSU is moving towards semesterd (sorry for those of you who liked it) The pace of the quarter system is a grind and every time I turned around I was taking exams compared to my friends in semester based universities. It really depends on your personality. For me, hands down go for semesters. You do, however, get used to the pace by junior or senior year, so if you decide to stay, you will acclimate :)
  • RMGsmomRMGsmom Posts: 514Registered User Member
    Personally, I like semesters because there is less testing, less time wasted on scheduling/registrations and making payments, and sometimes less time/money spent on books/materials. However, if you get a bad professor, you are stuck with him for a longer time, and even if you drop the class, you may have fewer options about when you can retake it if needed.
  • quarter2004quarter2004 Posts: 11Registered User New Member
    My experience with the quarter class scheduling system at Savannah College of Art and Design.

    I attended SCAD from 2001 to 2004 studying architecture in the Master of Architecture program. Since I was a student with an undergraduate degree in a related discipline, I needed to go for 3 years to meet the requirements. For anyone considering to go to SCAD I can provide some first hand experience that can help anyone make their own decisions of where to go to college. I am going to list the major things that someone should consider before going to SCAD.

    1. SCAD has the quarter scheduling system. A quarter system class scheduling system is a lot different than a semester system class schedule. A quarter system academic year is three quarters: fall, winter, spring. A full time class schedule is 3 classes. This sounds reasonable but each class is 2.5 hours long. Studio classes are 5.5 hours long. If you schedule a studio class and a regular class back to back you are in class all day. In architecture studio classes. we spent a lot of time discussing our own projects or other students projects with the class which limits your own time of getting your own projects completed.

    To make up the time, students have to spend long hours into the night to get their projects complete. Eichberg Hall where the architecture department is located at SCAD was open 24/7 when I was there. Students had to do a lot of all nighters because the quarter system class periods are too long.

    I personally did at least 100 all nighters in 3 years while attending SCAD. I look back and consider that torture. I would never go to a quarter system college again. All nighters become a very painful experience after a while. I still suffer from all of the sleep deprivation. I did not waste time going to parties. I worked on my projects as much as I needed to do to do my best considering the time constraints of the quarter system. I managed to get straight 'A's my last year and my GPA was over 3.7.

    2. Another downfall of the quarter system is that professors have difficulty maintaining a class for 2.5 hours. I had some professors at SCAD cancel class after about 1 hour of teaching. But I paid for 2.5 hours of class time. SCAD is very expensive.

    I also think the quarter system is not flexible. You cannot take extra classes over full time like you can a semester system.

    I went to a semester system college for my undergraduate degree. Class periods are only 50 minutes long 3 times a week or 1.5 hours long 2 times a week. Since the class times are shorter I had much more time after class to do my work. I only needed to do 1 all nighter and that was because I was taking extra classes over full time. I was able to take 1 or 2 classes over full time each semester in order to study business classes outside of my major and complete the required elective classes for my major.

    3. Quarter systems are designed to prevent you from taking free classes like at a semester system. At a semester system, you pay for a full class load of 12 credits. Since the class times are shorter, you can easily take an extra class a semester. Since you only pay for 12 credits, that extra class is free. The quarter system at SCAD is virtually impossibly to take an extra class. So, no free classes. I paid for my own college education. I greatly appreciate being able to take an extra class a semester at the semester system college.

    4. The scope of classes at SCAD is limited compared to a college such as Penn State University. Do your research on what classes a college offers before choosing a college.

    To any student considering going to college, I highly recommend going to a semester system college.

    I think the quarter system at SCAD is a fundamentally flawed educational system.

    Since I graduated from SCAD, I have finished the Architecture Registration Exams and became registered. I passed all of the exams on the first attempt. Most importantly, I have not experienced an all nighter since 2004. I do not miss the all nighter life at all. I would never ever consider going to a quarter system college again. If I take any college courses in the future, I will certainly go to a semester system college.
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