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Old 04-08-2005, 04:22 PM
MSKKG MSKKG is offline
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Quarter System vs. Semester System

My son is a junior in HS right now, so we have just started visiting colleges. One of the four he has chosen is on the quarter system. I was wondering what the advantages/disadvantages are.
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Old 04-08-2005, 04:36 PM
AchtungBaby80 AchtungBaby80 is offline
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In college, I had some friends who went to schools that operated on the quarter system. Basically, they liked it; they seemed to always be having some sort of school break, while my university only had Spring Break, Winter Break, and a short fall break. I never heard any of them complaining, except for the ones who went to a college that had been on the quarter system most of the time they were there but was switching over to semesters...that was a nightmare, because they had trouble getting the classes they needed to graduate since there were only two opportunities per year to sign up for them, whereas on the quarter system they had more. Maybe someone whose college is on quarters can help you out a little more; that's about all I know.
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Old 04-08-2005, 04:44 PM
MSKKG MSKKG is offline
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That is a good advantage. I've also heard that at one university (not one he is considering), they only let the students take 3 courses per quarter and final exams are spaced out. Big advantage not having to juggle 5 or 6 courses and having multiple final exams on the same day. They go to the same 3 classes every day instead of MWF or TTh, from what I was told.
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Old 04-08-2005, 04:50 PM
jhujenn jhujenn is offline
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The quarter system overall is good I think. At the school I attended you could take 3 or 4 classes and we had class on MT RF. Yes we did get more breaks, but we also ended up doing homework over winter break because we were still in school. I think it just depends on how the school calander is set-up. If you start later you could have Christmas break free. Over all it was good because we were on ten-week quarters so everything moved pretty quickly.
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Old 04-08-2005, 05:43 PM
AChiOAlumna AChiOAlumna is offline
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I worked and attended schools at both quarter and semester systems. Here are the advantages/disadvantages of the quarter system:


Moves quicker so if you don't like a teacher, you're done with him/her in 10 weeks. If you don't like the class...same thing.
Doesn't allow you to slack.
Teaches you good time management.


Many freshman have difficulty adjusting to such an accelerated pace straight from high school.
Easy to feel overwhelmed.
Many classes base grades solely on midterms/finals due to lack of time for professors to read lengthy term papers. (this isn't true for all classes, but many are)

Hope this helps!
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Old 04-08-2005, 06:33 PM
Speechpath Speechpath is offline
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When I was at UGA we were on the quarter system. I loved it! The one disadvantage was that we didn't get out of school until June which was much later than students at other schools. But overall I liked the shorter amount of time for courses, but it is concentrated and you do have to keep up.
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Old 04-08-2005, 06:51 PM
DeltAlum DeltAlum is offline
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I have a unique perspective since the school I attended changed from semesters to quarters between my sophomore and junior years.

Some of this will likely be redundant because I don't have time right now to read the rest of the posts above.

It's been quite a while ago, but my distinct memory is that mid-terms seem to come much more quickly on the quarter system because they're four weeks shorter than semesters. But we often had two midterms per semester in those days as opposed to one per quarter.

There was no 3 class maximum for us -- basicially the same load (15-18 hours normally) as under semesters. In order to get the amount of subject matter in, some classes met five times a week instead of three on quarters.

One negative thing for quarters is that you have three sets of Finals per year instead of two -- with all the nerves, etc. that they bring on.

At the end of the day (or the year, I guess in this case), you've spent the same amount of time in class and had about the same number of tests. Generally Christmas break happens between Fall and Winter Quarters and Spring Break between Winter and Spring Quarter.

One good thing I remember is that if you had a particularly bad class or professor, you only had to put up with it for twelve weeks instead of sixteen.

As I think back (a long way back), I'd give the nod to quarters -- mostly for the last reason.

Because of the pace of the quarters, the year seemed to go by a little faster as I recall.
The above is the opinion of the poster which may or may not be based in known facts and does not necessarily reflect the views of Delta Tau Delta or Greek Chat -- but it might.
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Old 04-10-2005, 01:15 AM
alphaalpha alphaalpha is offline
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i started out at a quarter school and finnished at a semester school. There are a lot of things that i liked about both. It was hard switching between the two. I really liked quarters cause you did not start until late september. With semesters school started in late august. The hard thing about that was that it was nice and sunny and very hard to go to classes.

I think basically it just depends on what you like. There are good and bad things about both. such as in a quarter school if you dont like the teacher then the class is over quicker, but at the same time if you like the class you finnish quicker and get less time in a class.

Personnaly i felt that the quarters with only 4 classes i could focus on those classes more, but at the same time i had to do the work quicker and when i wanted to write a big term paper for a class i felt rush and that i could not devote the time to it as i could have been able to do in a semester school with more time.
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Old 04-10-2005, 03:00 AM
DZviol DZviol is offline
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I'm on the quarter system, and though i'm used to it now, it was difficult at first. Everything is very fast paced, you only get 10 weeks and everything is really crammed. Also, instead of buying books twice a year, you have to buy them 3 times, and that adds up.
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Old 04-10-2005, 01:33 PM
squirrely girl squirrely girl is offline
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ditto on most of what everybody has already said - i started at a school on the quarter system and ended at a school on the semester system. i just thought i'd add a couple of things...

good -

- at least in our case, certain courses flowed throughout the whole school year and you used the same book (like english comp. or biology/anatomy)

- lots of breaks and a long ass winter break (great for those part time jobs during the christmas/new years season.

neutral -
- kinda fast paced in certain courses. if you hated the class then yeah! if you have a hard time staying on track, bad.

bad -
- that third quarter starts to impede on your summer break a little...

hope that helps,

- marissa
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she's mine she's yours
she's an alpha gam girl...
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Old 04-10-2005, 04:32 PM
Glitter650 Glitter650 is offline
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I went to schools both types of systems and I preferred thesemester system. It's easier to schedule your classes so you have at least 1 day off a week, and there's more time to catch up if you get behind. I did like that there was more of a chance to get a class done if you needed to, like if you REALLY need that english class there's more chances to sign up for it. I didn't like getting out for the summer later though.

Last edited by Glitter650; 04-11-2005 at 04:24 AM.
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:41 PM
trojangal trojangal is offline
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I loved the quarter system, and had it at both undergrad and graduate levels.

I found that the school year went by a lot quicker, and you only had to put up with those classes you hated for 3 months.


shorter terms
more "credits" over the year--up to 60 credit hours with approval at my schools with 15 credits being "average" load and 20 being an "overload" for undergrad.

more breaks than the semester--we always finished up before a major "break"


carrying hours over to a semester school--some friends of mine had to really push to keep some of their credits when they transferred

extra tuition cost and housing because we had to pay per quarter on the housing/meals/fees etc

Personally, the quarter system worked best for me.
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Old 04-10-2005, 06:13 PM
navane navane is offline
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I went to an undergrad university with the semester system. I really liked it and I don't think I would enjoy the quarter system. Our schedules/courses often landed on a M-W and T-TH timetable. I really liked that as it gave me plenty of time to complete assignments for a particular class. If I had to attend the same lecture everyday, I might have felt more pressure. Plus, depending on how the schedule panned out, I had entire free days for work, errands, homework, and fun.

Only occassionally did I have a M-W-F class. Those were usually the lower division general ed courses that they needed to pack into the schedule somehow. I only had a few of them.

At grad school in England, it was set-up more on a "semester-style", but our terms were only EIGHT weeks long. I don't feel I learned as much as I could have had we been able to have more time with the instructors.

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Old 04-11-2005, 11:16 AM
AOIIBrandi AOIIBrandi is offline
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I went to a school that was on the quarter system and was in transition to semesters when I left. I LOVED the quarter system.

Normal credit classes were worth 5 hours and a full load was 12 which would be like 2 normal classes and a PE. You did go to the same class 1 hour/day 5 days a week, but coming from High School I thought it was easier (I only had to take 3 compared to the 6 that I had been taking). Classes were over quicker if I didn't like the teacher/class (you can do anything for 10 weeks to get it over with), and there was opportunity to graduate early if you went all 4 quarters or took an overload on classes (20-25 hours). Summers on the quarter system were hard because they still did A, B, & C terms, A & B were 5 weeks and C was 10, so you had to be ready for a VERY fast paced class if you took it in summer A or B.

When I transferred to a semester school all of my quarter hour classes transferred in at 4.5 or something, so I have way more hours than I actually needed to graduate - but it also kept me from having to take some classes.
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:42 PM
MSKKG MSKKG is offline
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Thanks for everyone's input--keep 'em coming!
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