Is changing to semesters best for students?

Mercyhurst College a few years ago considered the possibility of changing the academic schedule to the two-semester system under which most schools in the U.S. operate.

This would decrease the number of breaks but increase their length, and decrease the number of classes students could take in a school year, but increase the number they could take in a term.

Many students, however, do not have any particular problem with the trimester system.

“Sometimes it is annoying that our breaks don’t coincide with other schools,” freshman Elizabeth Abernathy, a North Carolina native, said. “It’s spaced out better with trimesters. And I like that we get more classes in. I don’t think that we miss anything or that we learn less because it’s a smaller time period.”

Many students appreciate the ability to take more classes. Chi Phuong Bui, a freshman from Vietnam, said she thinks the workload might be lighter in a school on the semester system. She said she likes being kept busy and doesn’t mind the work she has.

“More classes in a year [means] I can learn more, which is worth for the money I pay,” Bui said.

Sophomore Nikki Sherretts said she likes how convenient the trimester system is.

“With the way the Intelligence Studies classes are structured, I don’t think I could handle 15 weeks worth of this much work at a time,” Sherretts said. “I think I’d go crazy.”

She said she feels that the system allows her to learn more specific information because it’s more focused on central themes because of how the terms are structured.

Other schools are also considering the transition to the semester system.

Jennifer Krauss is a freshman attending Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. ONU has a plan in place to phase out the trimester system and replace it with the semester system in 2011.

“It’s nice because there are more opportunities for classes, but the way ONU breaks it up, (there is) a break in the middle of a quarter and I don’t really like that,” Krauss said.

She said she doesn’t feel rushed by the schedule, though, because she expected the pace of the classes to go much faster in college, with or without the semester system.

Freshman Amanda Stafford is an archaeology major at Mercyhurst who said she likes the more relaxed schedule with trimester systems and smaller number of classes.

“I think the material is easily gotten through in the amount of time given. Sometimes with regular semester, the teachers go over the same thing multiple times and bore the students,” Stafford said. “I think with the semester system, students might feel more pressured, even though it’s what everyone has done since high school.”