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Feb 12 2018
by Kalysa To

Pros and Cons Students in the Quarter System Know All Too Well

By Kalysa To - Feb 12 2018

The quarter system. Those words sound so foreign to those of us who went through a semester-based high school system. Instead of two sets of fifteen week classes a year, the quarter system jumps through just ten weeks of classes, three times a year. 

The school system that works best for you depends, ultimately, on your preferences and desires. There are, however, some pros and cons of the quarter system that we cannot deny. 

Pro: You finish classes faster. 

Instead of spending 15 weeks on a certain study list, you can finish those classes in just 10 short weeks. If you don't like the subject, don't worry! Just hang on tight for 10 weeks and you're out. 

Con: Everything moves so fast. 

A caveat to finishing classes faster is that one quarter will just speed through. You just stepped into class on the first day, and before you know it, midterms are here, then finals, and then it's all over. You really cannot fall behind because trying to catch back up is so much more difficult in the quarter system. 

Pro: You can take more classes. 

The quarter system moves really fast, and the classes are much shorter, but this may be beneficial in allowing you to take more classes. You can explore different subjects that you may be interested in, and delve into different classes. 

Con: The pressure is real. 

Once midterms come, they never really seem to end. It seems like you blink and there's another exam waiting for you. This means procrastinating or cramming, which probably not a good idea. At least you'll learn how to manage your time and deal with pressure.

Pro: You can focus on the subjects you enjoy. 

Whereas semester-based school systems typically have students take 4-5 classes per semester, most students in the quarter system only take 3 classes each quarter. Fewer units means more time to focus on the classes that you care about, making school much more enjoyable. 

Con: An extra week of finals. 

And midterms. And papers. Having one more school session than the semester system not only means that we move on to a different set of classes faster, it also means that while students in the semester system prepare for the dreaded finals week twice a year, students in the quarter system get to look forward to finals week three times a year! 

Pro: School starts later than schools on the semester system.

In the semester system, school typically starts early to mid-September. But in the quarter system, school usually starts at the end of September. This means a couple more weeks to enjoy summer before diving back into your academic schedule! 

Con: School ends later than schools in the semester system.

It's an equal exchange, starting school later also means getting out of school later. While all your semester-system buddies are celebrating the end of finals week and the end of their academic year by May, you'll still be entrenched in homework and exams in June. 

Although the quarter system has its pros and cons, it's ultimately up to your personal preference! Consider these advantages and disadvantages as you make your college decisions, but no matter what school system you end up in, make sure not to buckle under pressure and don't fall behind. 

Lead Image Credit: Pexels

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Kalysa To - University of California, Los Angeles

Kalysa is a student at UCLA who loves writing, reading, and sea salt caramels. Follow her on Twitter at @kalysa17!

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