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Why do so many colleges have two super short breaks in the fall?

toomanyteenstoomanyteens 1045 replies64 threads Senior Member
It is so difficult for students that are not so local. All 3 of my girls currently in college have a fall break of like 2 school days and a weekend around Columbus Day and then again the Thanksgiving break of Wed to Sunday -- which many of these kids spend two of the entire days travelling at the most costly days I might add. Wouldn't it make more sense to have one break of like a week at Thanksgiving. And this year it is so late that they are all going back for like 10 -12 days and it is winter break!!
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Replies to: Why do so many colleges have two super short breaks in the fall?

  • KatMTKatMT 4153 replies71 threadsCollege Rep Senior Member
    I teach at a school that used to have a schedule like what you describe. About 10 or 11 years ago they got rid of fall break in mid-October and went to a Thankgiving week break.

    Next year we are starting school a few days earlier in the fall semester in order to have BOTH a fall break and a week off for Thanksgiving. I think this will be a good choice. Going all the way until Thanksgiving without a break is a long time for the students, particularly when Thanksgiving is so late, like this year. The students are mentally and emotionally fried after 14 weeks without a break.

    The Thanksgiving week is GREAT, acknowledges that students are often leaving the weekend before Thanksgiving to accommodate travel anyway, and gives some much needed down time going into the end of the semester and finals. I think the fall break AND the Thanksgiving week will be even better for student physical and mental health.

    Might be worth student, parent, and faculty groups at Ds schools starting some focus groups and make recommendations to the administration, through Student Government, Faculty Senate, and Parent Advisory groups to consider a week for Thanksgiving in addition to fall break.
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  • techmom99techmom99 3494 replies6 threads Senior Member
    My kids' schools all had a break around Columbus Day. They never came home for those breaks and after the first year, they all went to Canada with friends since it was way closer than home. Two of them went to a school that had break from Tuesday through Sunday. The current student's school ends classes the Friday before Thanksgiving and he doesn't go back till Sunday after.
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  • bopperbopper 14144 replies100 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    Labor day + 2 days of fall break + 2 days of thanksgiving = 5 days off

    Spring break = 5 days off

    I think it is to even out the semesters.

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  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens 1045 replies64 threads Senior Member
    @bopper you could even it out by having 4 days at Thanksgiving too and not having the fall break right? I just find it very unsympathetic to students that have to travel for Thanksgiving. My D that is in OH is going to be traveling tomorrow (like the worst day ever) and Sunday (the second worst day ever). And she and many others on her LAX team don't even go home for Fall break as it is too costly and too quick a turnaround to make all the travel worth it.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23415 replies17 threads Senior Member
    One daughter had the long weekend break in Oct and only W-S for Thanksgiving. One of the reasons for that was they had a lot of international students so preferred to have a very long xmas break, from early Dec to Jan.

    Other daughter went to Wyo, a school that also prefers to 'scrunch' the semester. When she first started they started after labor day and pretty much went straight through to Dec 22-23. That allowed the students to finish their summer jobs and get home for Christmas. They did have the W-Sun break for Thanksgiving. Many instate students live 8 hours away from the school (very little air service to other Wyo towns). This week they announced on Sunday that school on M-Tu would be closed due to weather (we're having a big storm) and to allow student to travel home. If this wasn't Thanksgiving week, they would not have cancelled classes. They rarely cancel class because of weather since everyone is on/near campus. They do not return to school until the last week in Jan.

    I'm fine with the scrunched schedules. It allows for longer breaks where kids can work. My kids didn't always come home for Thanksgiving. One is happy as can be this year since a cousin is visiting and she doesn't have to go to her BF home in NJ. She hates traveling at Thanksgiving.
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  • CheeringsectionCheeringsection 2551 replies80 threads Senior Member
    DS16 has a 2 day fall break, the full week for Thanksgiving and 2 weeks for spring break in March, but only 3 weeks at Christmas m. It works really well and many students do study abroad or a service trip for spring break.
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  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 13154 replies246 threads Senior Member
    Like @momofsenior1 's kid, mine appreciated the little fall break and never came home for that one. Sometimes she went to a nearby city, sometimes she just got caught up on work and relaxed.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79097 replies703 threads Senior Member
    Wouldn't the answer to the title question be "because there are three traditional holidays of one or two days each during the fall semester"? Of course, it may not be that convenient for the students (or colleges if they want to equalize the number of each day of the week).
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29813 replies177 threads Senior Member
    Why do you think your kid should come home on every break? That is what you need to work through.

    Back in the last century, my far-from-home friends and I only went home for winter break and for the summer. Fall break, Thanksgiving, and spring break were spent with extended family in the region (our own or our buddies' relatives) or with college friends whose families were nearby or with alums from that college who opened their homes to students for mini internships during spring break. This year, I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with one of those college friends whose parents invited so many of us into their home all those years ago.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4614 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Totally agree with @momofsenior1. Both kids sorta needed their mental breaks this year. Both actually came home and coming in for Thanksgiving also. Both have challenging years. Plus it's a bonus for us also.....
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23415 replies17 threads Senior Member
    If your children just need a break from class, they should arrange some weather days off. One of mine had 3 or 4 hurricanes during her 4 years in college.

    She also had the flu twice in one semester, but I wouldn't recommend that as a way to get extra days off (she was banned from classes for 2-3 days each time)
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  • wis75wis75 14168 replies64 threads Senior Member
    edited November 27
    The only fall holiday many states pay attention to is Thanksgiving. And, to finish by Christmas (barely) there are classes through that Wednesday. Labor Day is technically in summer and so close to the beginning of the start it just means more fun on campus. It surprised me to find how many different "holidays" students K-college get in some states- the ones we only knew as Fereal/bank closing days.

    Long distance to college, in a state with a different culture- things to consider when choosing a college.
    edited November 27
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  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 4110 replies28 threads Senior Member
    My D gets a long weekend fall break (F-Su or S-M). She does not come. A local friend hosts a huge group of them at her house, and they go to the beach and big away football game. The timing is always perfect; just after midterms when the kids need the short break. Thanksgiving is usually the entire week, but this year it was W-Su. Many profs cancelled class so the students could get the full week off as usual.
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1318 replies2 threads Senior Member
    My son is at a state school. They don't start until after Labor Day so they don't get any fall breaks, just Th/Fr for Thanksgiving. Luckily he's not too far because he even has his night class today until 9:30pm!!! I feel sorry for kids who are from further away! (and for myself who will be getting home at midnight from picking him up, then getting up and cooking all day tomorrow!!)

    One thing I liked about Syracuse when we toured -they get the whole week of Thanksgiving off. No other fall break.
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  • 4kids4us4kids4us 745 replies4 threads Member
    I have one in school on the west coast and one on the East Coast. West Coast student starts after Labor Day and usually has one “fall break” which is just a three day weekend. For Thanksgiving, she only gets Wed and Friday off. Her first year she had one class on Tuesday but asked the teacher if she could miss it to fly home Monday night. He was fine with that and then later ended up cancelling the class anyway. I don’t recall what she did last year - she didn’t come home for Thanksgiving but went to my BIL’s an hour away. Her finals go really late-they didn’t finish until the Friday before Christmas her first two years.

    My son on the east coast also had a three day weekend for fall break, but he had a home game that weekend so was unable to leave. It really sucked b/c the school closes everything and all but athletes and others with commitments left. We were up for the game so able to take him out to eat for dinner and breakfast the next day. He was also given money from his team to cover meals but he does not have a car and there are few places to walk to so food delivery costs ate up most of it after one order. I felt bad for the kids who had no place to go/too far from home b/c campus was deserted. His Thanksgiving break is also just Wed/Fri but off but his Tuesday classes got canceled. He was getting a ride home with an upperclassman, but there were four in the car and one of them had a Tues afternoon class so they didn’t get home last night until almost midnight.

    I would much prefer no fall break and instead just have the week of Thanksgiving totally off. Travel home, whether by car, plane or train is such a nightmare that it would be easier if they could head home early. I’d rather them come home the Saturday before, then return to school a day early (Saturday) to beat the traffic. My son’s dorm doesn’t reopen until Sunday though so that’s not an option.
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  • FarmerMomFarmerMom 88 replies18 threads Junior Member
    One daughter had a full week off at the end of October (19-27) and Wednesday-Sunday for Thanksgiving. Winter break ( 12/21-1/13) seems a bit short. School has lots of international students and typically offer service trips during Fall and Spring breaks.
    Second daughter had a long weekend for Columbus Day, Wed-Sun for Thanksgiving and Winter break is 12/14-1/12. Personally I like the longer winter break.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4035 replies27 threads Senior Member
    Didn't appreciate what a difference it makes to have the whole week off for T'giving until my younger one went to a school on that system -- travel is so much more relaxed, and the time home is actually enough for them to recharge. Same kid does have 2 days off in mid Oct with no class but, as a fall athlete, the team is still training and competing so nothing changes much. Not many kids seem to go home for that "extra long weekend" except for first years -- the rest of the students sleep in, do some day trips, and catch up on work.

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  • jmnva06jmnva06 781 replies7 threads Member
    Week at Thanksgiving isn't really a break. Given how close it is to to the end of the semester, there are papers to write and things to get done.

    Same way with a fall break. D12 had full week, she came home 1 year and the other 3 years stayed on campus to recharge/relax and work on papers that were do at the middle of the semester.

    D15 had shorter break and spent the time at home working pretty hard.

    In both cases, they had short Thanksgiving breaks. D15 was a 3.5 hour drive and came home. D12 came home a couple of times and spent the rest with her boyfriend's family.

    In my personal experience, I only went home for 1 Thanksgiving-- it was fine since I was roughly 3 weeks for Christmas break. The other years were awesome as we hung out and did our own thing on campus.
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  • Ballerina016Ballerina016 1622 replies69 threads Senior Member
    DD is attending school with large number of international students that’s why dorms only close for summer break. They don’t have fall break, get two days off for Columbus Day and just two days for thanksgiving.
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