Good riddance to the quarter system at CSUEB

Tishauna Carrell,
Staff Writer

I came to CSUEB straight from high school in 2012. I grew up in Southern California and chose CSUEB to get away from home and experience being on my own. I came straight from a semester school, so I didn’t really understand what the quarter system was. I just knew that for some odd reason, I started school in September while my friends started in August.

During my sophomore and junior year of college at Cal State East Bay, I bragged to my friends who attended colleges on a semester system that in our quarter system, we spend 10 weeks in our courses instead of their long, 15-week semesters. I loved the quarter system because I could speed through the classes I dreaded and had no interest in, such as Intro to Psychology, Math and History.

But once I started taking classes in my major, Communications, my love of the quarter system started to fade. Unlike most of my GE classes, I actually looked forward to my Communication and Media Production courses. When learning how to use a camera and edit images in Photoshop, the quicker pace of the quarter system made me feel rushed. Those type of skills are technical and involve more downtime to understand.

Another problem surfaced: most summer internships I wanted to apply for revolved around the semester system. Some internships would start late May to early June, which did not align with my quarters class schedule.

However some of these issues may soon go away. Cal State East Bay is currently in the midst of a multi-year effort to transition the campus from a quarter to a semester calendar, a decision President Leroy Morishita has called a “critical strategic priority” for the University. The California State University Chancellor’s Office has been encouraging campuses to use semesters for years, for better transferability between CSU campuses, and outside colleges, university officials have said In the quarter system, students are required to complete 180 units, but when the conversion is complete, students will only have to complete 120.

Some argue that the quarter system helps students graduate within four years or faster, however some studies show that semesters may actually provide students with a better quality education.

Oregon’s Corncadia University determined that the longer semester calendar allows for better quality of instruction, giving students more time to learn beyond basic facts. Students need time to absorb new concepts, and forcing them to learn at a quicker pace proves to be inadequate, they determined.

I am a fifth-year student, graduating in June, and it’s rare for me meet other students who are graduating within four years. “On-time” graduation rates are low is because of a high demand for remedial classes and the unavailability of courses, and juggling outside responsibilities, according to a study by Complete College America, a nonprofit organization. In American higher education, the standard graduation rates at four-year colleges are now on a six-year time frame.

The quarter system has allowed me to explore a plethora of classes within a 10-month period, which allowed me to get the gist of a variety of subjects and become well-rounded. Quarter-credit systems expose students to more courses during their degree tenure, which benefits them in terms of career preparation and personal growth, according to Best, a website that provides resources regarding choosing colleges and career paths.

While the quarter system has allowed me to experiment with classes, I really only skimmed the surface in general education classes. I enjoyed many courses but did I did not gain the type of in-depth knowledge I was hoping for. I am confident with the skills I have learned, but I am concerned that my peers from semester-based schools might have more experience and knowledge than me and my classmates here.