By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Quarters and Semesters, from the student’s perspectives

Many colleges in the United States run on the semester system, while CWU runs on the quarter system. What sets the two apart? The semester system is made up of two 15-week terms, traditionally, in the fall and spring. The quarter system is made up of three 10-week terms in the fall, winter and spring, with the option of a summer quarter that can assist students in catching up on courses or graduating early. 

A good portion of the CWU student population comprises transfer students, students who have come to CWU from another college and may bring a different perspective.

“It feels like quarters allow for more breaks throughout the academic year, this makes pushing to those breaks a little easier,” Logan Groves, a transfer student and third-year business administration and human resources major, said. “Quarters give me shorter class terms making burnout a lot less, in more intense classes, and align better with the seasons making my OCD like it. I dislike that this calls for three midterms and three finals rather than two. However, the finals may be easier as the quarter is only 10-11 weeks rather than a full semester.”

There are positive and negative elements of both the quarter and semester systems and students have a variety of opinions about the topic.

Melissa Porter, senior clinical physiology major, likes the time allotted with a semester system. “Because semesters are so long, I feel like you learn the topic better since it’s not being crammed into limited lectures,” she says. “That being said, I do think that semesters can feel too long, and I lose motivation a lot quicker and sometimes I feel like certain topics are covered too slow.” 

The difference in workload between quarters and semesters can affect how a student performs in a class and their learning process. “I think the class load is roughly the same, maybe slightly heavier in quarters. I think in a quarter system you often end up taking a few more courses at the same time than in a semester system,” Porter said. “I sometimes feel like the homework load is larger on a weekly basis in quarters than semesters.” Others prefer what a quarter system offers. 

Bryce Jacobsen, a senior business administration major, shares his favor.“I like them because there’s more starts and finishes throughout the school year,” Jacobsen said. “It gives you that extra chance to kind of start over and refresh every quarter and I feel like I’d rather have things change more often to, you know, keep me more interested.” 

The variety of perspectives sheds light on how students currently at a university using the quarter system feel about a conversation that is happening from coffee houses to roundtables and everything in between.

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