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Trimester/Quarter system and college sports? Any experiences?

MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,769 Senior Member
Hello all, parent of soccer player who wants to play D3 and is doing (we think) the stuff he is supposed to be doing on the recruiting side of things. As we were researching schools, we ran across a few on the trimester/quarter system (3 terms of 10 weeks each -- some schools call it trimesters, some call it quarters), generally a later start in Sept and a later dismissal in June.

I had generally discounted trimester schools, with 3 sets of exams a year, because my kid as he is not a great final exam taker so having 3 sets a year rather than 2 sets, even with fewer classes at a time, did not seem like a great model for him. However, it also seems that the later start in Sept which trimester schools have could actually be more manageable for fall sports kids.

If anyone has experience with the pros and cons of trimester based system for a fall athlete, I would be very interested. Thank you!

Replies to: Trimester/Quarter system and college sports? Any experiences?

  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 20,269 Senior Member
    I went to a quarter school for ONE quarter because I hated it. 10 weeks in the fall, but 20 weeks in the spring/summer. I know most of the sports kids have to go back in Aug, just like they would if they were at a semester school.
  • takeitallintakeitallin Registered User Posts: 3,378 Senior Member
    My son is playing soccer at a trimester school. Academically he likes it because of the variety- the quarter is intense but over quickly! Soccer wise, his schedule is weird. His school starts in very late Sept. usually. However, most of the schools that they play against start in late Aug /early Sept. The pre-season starts in early Sept. and the regular season in late Sept. As a result, he had to be back at school 6 weeks before school started this year. For those who live off campus, that means they have to pay for housing during that time. For those on campus, there were also some extra costs associated with food and housing- not a huge amount but it's something to consider. Just be sure to look at the schedules for any schools he is considering so you know what to expect. It is also wise to look at the class load during the regular season. My son tries to schedule an easy load during fall quarter and saves his hard classes for the winter and spring.
  • evertonnutevertonnut Registered User Posts: 72 Junior Member
    I think for D1 soccer, trimesters offer an academic advantage because all of the preseason and almost half the regular season occur before school starts. Normally, preseason starts in late July/early August, the first game occurs the last week of August, school starts in late September and the regular season ends early November.

    However, for soccer and social purposes, a trimester is a negative because the players are on campus and training and playing almost two months before most students are back.
  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys Registered User Posts: 3,769 Senior Member
    Thank you -- those were the kinds of issues I was thinking about. At least freshman year, having almost a month into the season before classes actually begin could make an easier transition, plus the flexibility to take an intentionally easier load in the fall trimester.

    Considering the fact that other students (besides other fall season athletes), would not generally be on campus, a student would really want to be sure they were comfortable with the team because there wouldn't be any other freshman to get to know etc.
  • takeitallintakeitallin Registered User Posts: 3,378 Senior Member
    Transitioning is definitely easier for the fall athletes. When my son was a freshman in the dorms, the fall teams all lived in one set of dorms prior to school starting and then moved into their assigned dorms a week before school started (and before everyone else arrived on campus, so move-in was much easier). In that first few weeks, they were housed with not only the members of the men's soccer team, but also with all other fall sports teams, men and women. They become a tight knit group quickly, make friends, and get to know the campus very well. By the time school started, they tend to be very comfortable with the surroundings and already have groups to socialize with. It has worked out very well for my son. He also works the 2 summer camps that the team does so is barely home during the summer. He loves everything about the schedule.
  • TheGFGTheGFG Registered User Posts: 6,219 Senior Member
    edited January 2015
    Both my kids attended schools on the quarter system, one of whom was an athlete. I agree that the schedule is an advantage on the athletic and social adjustment side of things. However, we felt it was a real negative as far as getting summer internships or housing for those internships in high rent cities. Most companies and non-profits organize their internship programs to accommodate the colleges that run on an August to May schedule. There were far too many programs that were out of the question, despite even asking to be accommodated. It's also hard to get college sub-lets in places like NYC and DC so the student can accept an internship there, since the rental availability coincides with the universities' term schedules. After the experience of the oldest, I discouraged the younger but the particular school she liked just had too many other advantages to refuse. I will NOT let the third go that route. For kids likely to care, there is also the issue of them having their college breaks at different times from their old high school friends, most of whom will be attending semester-based programs. Obviously, though, this varies by region. I think the west coast has more schools on a quarter system.
  • soccer4mesoccer4me Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Midwestmomofboys can you tell us about the recruit process for your son and how his major and soccer came into play with his choice of school?
  • fenwaysouthfenwaysouth Registered User Posts: 988 Member
    You bring up a great point about the 3 final tests per year vs 2 final tests. That would be enough for my sons to wantto be on a quarter system. The month+ break at the Holidays that a quarter system gives some Fall and Spring athletes an opportunity to take an accelerated class during that period to lighten the academic load or catch up on some classes. I'm a big believe in it and did that myself when I was a student athlete 100 years ago. Both my oldest sons took classes in their majors during our winter break and it was extremely helpful. The winter break time could also be used for a 3-4 week study abroad which is difficult for some athletes to find the time.

    One of the big pitfalls for the trimester is summer internships. It seems to me that it would be a lot harder or limiting to get a summer internship based on the trimester because of when school gets out, student apply and when most employers offer iinternships. My two oldest sons were fortunate enough to get summer engineering interernships that corresponded with the quarter system..

    Just some thoughts.
  • quarter2004quarter2004 Registered User Posts: 11 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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