Ten weeks is not enough time
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Fourteen pages to write a week, for 10 weeks, along with 150 pages of reading assigned each week for 10 weeks. That adds up to 140 pages of writing, maybe more, and 1500 pages of reading all in 10 weeks. Mom said college wasn’t going to be easy but she said it was going to be worth it. Say goodbye to weekends and a social life: welcome to the quarter system.
Cal State University, East Bay currently operates on a four-quarter system divided into fall, winter, spring and summer. Each quarter lasts 10 weeks. However, the university will convert from a quarter system to a semester system in 2018. I will probably have graduated by then, but I think it’s the right choice because students in a semester system are allowed more time to study and connect with professors and classmates.
A semester system is two 16-week sessions with an eight-week summer session. The longer time span of a semester enables students to receive a stronger education by giving them more time to comprehend and absorb the information.
According to a report from Concordia University in Portland, 71.2 percent of colleges in the U.S. use the semester system and this is a good thing. The semester system allows students to go more in depth and go through the learning process at a slower pace, not just rush through it. Students have more time to study their readings and study for exams.
With semesters, students only have two midterms and two finals for the whole year. On a quarter system, we can have up to 12 exams by the end of the full school year. On a semester system, students only have to complete 120 units, as opposed to 180 units in the quarter system.
I attend CSUEB and I feel rushed throughout the year, going to class and completing all my assignments on time while also having a mid-term in five weeks, possibly another midterm two weeks later, then a final in two more weeks. The stress builds up, winter and spring break feel like a breath of fresh air. I chose to attend summer classes this year, so I only get a two-week break before fall quarter starts.
The quarter system may work for those who are on their toes and do not procrastinate. Keep in mind that what is covered in a 16-week semester is covered in 10-week quarter. If a student misses just one class it can be detrimental to their grade. Also if a student does not understand one section they do not have the time to go over that material for a few weeks because next week the professor is going to move on with or without the student. The student has to attend office hours as soon as they do not understand the material. This is not the case with semesters.
With the semester system a student has a chance to breathe and not stress right away when they do not understand the material early in the semester. They have time to ask fellow classmates and build relationships within the class. It is suggested that every student attends their professor’s office hours if needed but there are schedule conflicts where students cannot attend office hours. Also a student has more time to connect with their professor over the course of 16 weeks and get more comfortable with the class and the material rather than just flying by. If a student feels that 16 weeks is still too slow, then they can take optional eight-week summer courses.
A majority of the nation is already using semester system. It is beneficial for universities and students so lets not fear a change and support it.