quarter system, better or not?

<p>do you think the quarter system is substantially more work than the semester system?</p>

<p>Yes, because you basically cover in 10 weeks what other schools cover in 13 or even 16 weeks.</p>

<p>I went to college that was taught in semesters and I went to one that was taught in quarters. You covered the same amount of material in a year: 2 semesters of chemistry = 3 quarters of chemistry, so that wasn't a problem. I personally liked semesters better, because then I had to take finals and write term papers only twice a year instead of three times.</p>

<p>I have taught in both systems. It doesn't make any difference. The amount of work you get per week as a student is roughly the same in both systems. The fact that quarter-long courses are shorter doesn't mean that profs push a semester of material into 10 weeks. Instead, they just cut back the amount of material.</p>

<p>That said, there are some differences between quarter systems in terms of how they do this. In some, such as U of Chicago, students generally take only 3 or 4 courses in a quarter (each bearing the equivalent of about 4 credits per term). In others, they may take 5 courses (each bearing about 3 credits per term).</p>

<p>I think semester systems are generally desirable not because of less work but just because there's less wasted stopping-starting time per year. A semester system has one less registration period, one less final exam period, etc., per year than a quarter system. Also, it's easier for profs to offer a variety of assignments, such as research papers in addition to exams, in a semester system.</p>

<p>To reiterate, your assumption that quarter systems are more demanding isn't true.</p>

<p>Well that's how it was explained to me by the head of the Chemistry department at my school...and something tells me that none of my professors are interested in cutting back on any material.</p>

<p>At my high school, we have the trimester system, but at the Junior High, which includes 9th grade in my county, they have the semester system. The quarter system is more work than all of the above because of the time factor. However, there are exceptions to this case: If a class is 2 quarters long, than it will be a significantly faster paced class, but if it is 3 quarters long, than it will be less fast paced, and a bit more relaxed. I personally like the semester system, because you spend more time in each of the classes, so you can learn much better.</p>

<p>well trimesters seem the same as quarters cause you still just have three quarters during regular school year, the 4th quarter is summer quarter. Quarters seem more managable, cause you have a shorter period of time from which to pace your projects, term papers etc. In a semester it can be easy to think you have all the time in the world, then when your final comes up and you are tested on material that you studied months ago, it can be a lot of info to try and keep in your head ( for some of us anyway)
In a year you cover same amount of material, but some students perform better in a quarter system</p>

<p>I attended a school that had a quarter system and two that had symester system ( if grad school counts). There are advantages to both.</p>

<p>1.Semester system: If you get sick, you don't miss as much as with quarter system. Only two midterms and two finals per year,but you need to know more for each midterm and final than for quarter system. Less hassle in registration. If you get a bad instructor, you are stuck with them for a longer period than that of a quarterly system.</p>

<li>Quarter system: Moves at very quick pace. Missing a day can be quite costly. Three finals and three midterms per class,but you have less material to study for each test. Best advantage is that it lends itself well for internships. Schools that offer quarterly system have a lot of classes in summer too, and have internship programs. Quarterly systems are ideal for internships and co-op programs.</li>

<p>As always, there are advantages and disadvantages. I think the quarter system works better than the semester system for kids who do better getting a more intensive dose of the classes over a shorter period of time. My boys always started out strong but would fade as the term went on. A quick pace really kept their attention. For my girls, it would have been deadly, as they do not learn as quickly and need the time to absorb the material. </p>

<p>I have found kids who have done very well in quarter systems at college, especially those where you take fewer courses per quarter than you would per semester. It allows them to focus more on the courses at hand. The biggest disadvantage I have seen with this system is that because it is non traditional, it is hard to mentally calculate the equivalency to the system as I know it. My brain is calibrated to the semester system with a 3 credit class as standard and a 12-18 credit load each term being the norm with an average 15 credit load necessary to graduate in 4 years without any outside credits.</p>

<p>I think Reed requires 30-32 credits to graduate, most classes are one credit but some are .5 this requires students to take a little over what would be a full load at a quarter system ( 15 credit or 3 classes).
My daughter has been trying to keep to full time not full time + , by taking a half time load in the summer as well.
Financial aid at public quarter system schools however usually requires 18 credits per quarter, as that is the maximum you can take without overenrolling. However, since most classes are 5 credits finding a 3 credit class just means that you are adding filler and taking away from your available time.</p>

<p>Whether it's a quarter system or a semester system, certification requirements generally assume a credit represents an hour of class time. So a five-credit quarter-system class would mean 5 hours of lecture/class per week for ten weeks (total 50 hours); a four-credit semester-class system class would mean 4 hours of lecture/class per week for 13 weeks (total 51 hours). A full load in a quarter system can mean fewer courses than in a semester system--but the same number over the year.</p>

<p>Many schools using the semester system have two or even three exams during the semester. Choosing a school on the basis of which system is offered doesn't make sense.</p>

<p>some students do like the increased course selection of the quarter/trimester system.
Carleton I believe has trimesters ( perhaps they aren't called quarters if no summer session is offered?) </p>

<p>At Reed fall semester is broken up quite a bit, fall break and winter break, which can either give you more time to get your work done or more time to get off track.
(don't get me started on public school with all the holidays, teacher work days, early dismissal, late arrival it is a wonder they remember their locker combination let alone their classwork)
Quarter schools seem to have breaks in between quarters. I prefer quarters actually as I like to know by the break I am done with the class, but some students probably prefer knowing that they have breaks scheduled when they can get some rest or get ahead/caught up.
It really depends with instructor what test schedule is, for instance the class my daughter is taking now, doesn't have labs or graded homework/papers, but has tests every week ( along with a final)
as with everything it seems mileage may vary</p>

<p>I love the three term schedule at my daughter's school because of the long break between the fall term and the winter term. This year she comes home on the Thursday before Thanksgiving and doesn't have to be back until the Monday after New Year's.</p>

<p>This is great for her bank account because she can put in some meaningful work at her job (which she also has during summer) and bank some meaningful paychecks. It is also great for keeping the family relationships strong.</p>

<p>Academically, she likes the quicker pace of the 10-week terms. Although the only thing she has for comparison is the semester high school courses.</p>

<p>Emeraldkity, Reed's way of reckoning "credits" is very different from the norm. For them, a unit (as I recall it being called) is equivalent to what at most colleges would be 3 or 4 credits for a full academic year (i.e., 6 to 8 semester credits hours). So a student who takes, say, 4 units of courses would have taken the equivalent of 28 to 32 semester credit hours. A typical one-semester course would be just a 1/2-unit.</p>

<p>Also Reed, at least in the old days, had a huge number of year-long courses. That was the norm -- a course typically ran over two semesters. Even Hum 110 was basically a 2 unit course, with 3 lectures and 3 seminar ("conference") hours per week for the entire year.</p>

<p>I attended two universities, OSU which was on the quarter system and Cornell which was on the semester system. I personally preferred the semester system for the following reasons. Two finals vs three. Earlier start and earlier finish. A spring break and longer interterm break. The pace seemed more frenetic in the quarter system but perhaps that is because of my dim recollection of frosh/soph engineering. </p>

<p>I read recently that OSU is considering the semeter academic calendar.</p>

<p>A graduate school professor pointed out a big disadvantage for anyone needing portfolio work submittals for graduate school admissions ( graphic design, interior design, architecture, etc.). Projects completed in 10 weeks typically have far less finishing touches as those completed in 15-16 weeks. Typically, committees which are comparing portfolios, cannot help but be more impressed with projects completed over longer periods. They simply look more "polished". Some schools get around this problem with a "senior thesis", which is completed over the course of the entire year.</p>


<p>Can you explain how a year-long senior thesis will help in grad school admissions? By the time a student applies for grad school, only half the year has gone by. At most, a student has a chapter written by then. It's a bit like senior year in high school.</p>

<p>kjofkw, I would tend to disagree. Although my daughter didn't go directly to grad school but instead into the economy, she had plenty of stuff for her portfolio based on a number of courses and projects she had completed over the last 2-3 years at RISD. Her major was in industrial design, but she had some fine pieces of graphic design, jewelry, ceramics, and metal casting -- all from class projects -- as well as from ID. What students put together in their senior portfolio isn't just work they do in senior year.</p>

<p>Marite, you are correct, the year long senior thesis would only help if you have 1/3 ?year into it (and the work shows). (I forgot when graduate school applications are due). The level of the project, however, is typically more ambitious than any term project, and while the finish work is not shared, committees can at least see (or discuss) the students' approach and direction. I assume it is similar to discussing medical research with someone who has not (yet) made an important "discovery", or to evaluating the strength of senior year high school classes (even if the student has barely started).</p>

<p>To see "finished work", the projects from earlier years become more important as Mackinaw stated. I never experienced the year long thesis in college, but I did experience both quarter and semester projects (in architecture). Perhaps for some smaller design projects (jewelry, graphics, etc.), the time frame is not as important. However, a 10 week architecture project is typically quite different from a 16 week one. In 10 weeks, depending on the scope of the project, much of the initial time is spent researching, programming and designing, with a short time available at the end for the actual presentation. Even an extra 2 weeks to focus on presentation can make a significant difference in the look of final product. Granted, the student can allocate their time differently by planning, and blocking out more time for presentation, but something else (typically research or design) then suffers. </p>

<p>I never even considered the difference in portfolios when I applied to graduate school. It was a professor in graduate school (I assume he was one who evaluated portfolios), who pointed out that the time frame can make a significant difference in the "look" of the product submitted for review.</p>

<p>My Daughter has the same quarter as Bigdaddy. She'll be home the Saturday before Thanksgiving and then back to school the Monday after New Years. Seven week break! Last year she was able to earn quite a bit of money working a part time holiday job. She takes 3 classes per quarter, each one has a 5 credit value. Since she's our first child in college, and it was a LONG time since my husband and I were in college, it's working fine. I don't think I would make a semester or a quarter a big priority when choosing colleges.</p>