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Semester vs. Quarter

singinizzysinginizzy Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
What are the pros and cons of the semester schedule? the quarter schedule?
Post edited by singinizzy on

Replies to: Semester vs. Quarter

  • starryqt22starryqt22 Registered User Posts: 576 Member
    I've been wondering this also...any opinions?!
  • masterchiefllmasterchiefll Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    haha thank god you started this thread. (I was gonna start one on this topic yesterday too...but i forgot)
  • kk19131kk19131 Registered User Posts: 2,233 Senior Member
    Quarters are better. Why? Because my school uses them. :)
  • masterchiefllmasterchiefll Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    wanna expand more on [why] it's better...? lol
  • joevjoev - Posts: 2,924 Senior Member
    Semesters I think are better because you have less start stop times, and the schedules are simpler to figure out. The good thing about quarters is that the winter quarter ends right before spring break, so you can party hardy in Cancun without having to worry about classes when you come back.
  • Romo1Romo1 Registered User Posts: 202 Junior Member
    The quarter system usually means you have more exams.
  • TheDadTheDad Registered User, ! Posts: 10,228 Senior Member
    Joev, some schools schedule semesters so that they end at Winter Break too; my D's school is one of them.

    Quarter system you can take more classes (duh!), which is really nice if you want to explore different areas as electives. For a year-long sequence, it doesn't matter...you cover the same material, just sliced differently and with three sets of finals/papers, not two.

    Having done both, the biggest thing about the quarter system is that it's brutally unforgiving if you get behind on "getting" material, reading, get sick, whatever...it doesn't matter. A semester gives you time to recover...a quarter system always has mid-terms or finals seemingly on top of you.
  • purpletransiencepurpletransience Registered User Posts: 145 Junior Member
    my personal opinion was always that quarters are better, because first of all, a quarter-based calendar makes more sense: the year breaks naturally into four quarters with one off, which means that you can take classes during the summer and do internships during the winter if you want to, theoretically. and for someone like me, who does most of my learning on my own, having fewer classes more intensely seems like a better way to learn.

    brown, however, uses semesters. so someone give me a reason why i shouldn't be disappointed! :p
  • kfc4ukfc4u Registered User Posts: 3,415 Senior Member
    quarters are good because you wont have to be stuck with a bad professor or a bad class for a long time. it also does allow you to explore more electives

    quarters are bad because if you fall behind, you will remain behind. thats what happened to me my first quarter in college, and i never caught up.
  • efilsiertaehtefilsiertaeht Registered User Posts: 195 Junior Member
    As to what someone said above about "less breaks" in the semester system, if you look at Harvard or Princeton they start super early, have a fall break, then thanksgiving, then winter break, then finals, then a semester break, then spring break... to me that seems much worse than having 3 defined breaks, thanksgiving (just a couple days, usually), winter, and spring.

    Quarter system is awesome. It allows you to work/intern all the way through August into September and you have a super long summer (3.5 months). Also, taking more classes is SO nice when you're at a college with lots of opportunities. If I only had 8 semesters I would be very sad, cuz I wouldn't be able to take a ton of the classes I want to take.
  • collegefan87collegefan87 Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    if u fall behind in a quarter system it simply eats u alive. .its not a joke.. for me, the professor rushed throughout the material to finish the required syllabys and it was like a nightmare. Its good though that u finish ur classes quickly. but for me , for a chem engineering major i would rather prefer a semester ,since u need time to understand the material and not rushing it. I am gonna experinance the semester system this spring, i hope it wont be bad!!
  • mikemacmikemac Registered User Posts: 10,189 Senior Member
    I went to a school on the quarter system and I think the semester system would be better. The pace is just so rushed on the quarter system! You don't really have time to digest material, its rush to get homework and papers done, cram for midterms, and then its the finals.

    Today, for example, is Dec 30th. How far back does the weekend before Xmas seem? Yet had you started a quarter system on the Monday after that weekend then you would be having midterms in many of your classes next week!
  • chelsea 2005chelsea 2005 Registered User Posts: 226 Junior Member
    I know someone who went to a school that was on quarters, and she said that the main disadvantage was the rushed pace. She said that when she went into class on the first day, she was already be behind. There were reading assignments no one knew about that were technically due the first day of class! Also, winter break tends to be shorter when you are on quarters.

    A couple things to remember when choosing between quarters and semesters:

    1) If you have other siblings in college you may want to be on the same system. Christmas break is much easing and more enjoyable if you are all home at the same time. Family events are also much easier to plan.

    2) If you are planning to transfer to a different college, for whatever reason, make sure both colleges use the same systems. To successfully transfer your credits, both schools will have to be on semesters or both on quarters.
  • masterchiefllmasterchiefll Registered User Posts: 532 Member
    So if I went to a school w/ a semester calendar and I take 5 courses per semester, I'd take around 20 courses during my 4 yrs. but if i went to a school w/ a quarter calendar, I would've taken like 80 courses by the time I graduate??? whoa...Do schools w/ a quarter calendar (like the UCs) require less credits to graduate since students are taking more classes during the school yr?
  • purpletransiencepurpletransience Registered User Posts: 145 Junior Member
    I think your math is a bit off. Standard load in a semester system is generally 4 courses, 3 hours a week, for 15 weeks, = 45 hours per course, 180 hours per term, 360 hours per year. Standard load in a quarter system (at least this is what my friend at Stanford said) is 3 courses, 4 hours a week, for 10 weeks, = 40 hours per course, 120 hours per term, 360 hours per year.

    Theoretically, you wouldn't graduate faster, because you're the same number of credit hours per year—the quarter courses are each 5 hours shorter, which over 9 courses adds up to 45 hours (i.e. the length of a semester course). In practise, some schools condense material into less time. Intro physics at Harvard might have one term (45 hours) of mechanics and one term (45 hours) of E&M, while intro physics at Stanford might have one term (40 hours) of mechanics and one term (40 hours) of E&M, meaning that you learn 8/9 of the material in 6/9 the time, and thus have 2/9 of crunch.

    So, in the quarter system, you end up taking nine classes per year standard instead of eight. If you overload every term in a semester system, you have two extra courses per year = 90 extra hours of class. If you overload every term in a quarter system, you have three extra classes per year = 120 extra hours of class. In semester terms, then, overloading at a semester school means you take 40 courses over the course of college, and overloading at a quarter school is equivalent to taking 43 courses - only 3 extra, not 60. :D
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