A student’s lifestyle in the quarter system is significantly different from those that are in a college with the semester system.

In the quarter system, time flies by extremely quickly. Just when you finally figure out where your classes are, it’s time to study for midterms. And before you’re even done studying for midterms, it’s time to sign up for next quarter’s classes. This fast-paced, busy schedule may not be for all people, but it does have its merits. For starters, a 10 week quarter keeps you on top of things and it means that you only need to spend 10 weeks in that class you don’t like. Survive those 10 weeks and theoretically all should be well. Also, in the quarter system you get to take a diversity of classes because you get that one extra opportunity to actually sign up for a completely new schedule. Of course, in the quarter system academic stress is always at the forefront. Fail one assignment or test and you will have to work in overdrive to bring up your grade before the quarter ends. But because there is such a limited amount of time, most of your classes will have very few assignments.

In the semester system, you have more time to bring your grades up. Also, those extra weeks mean you get to spend more time in those classes that you do like. A lot of people like the idea of spending more time on subjects and topics that they thoroughly enjoy.  This extra time can even be used to learn a subject more in depth. Furthermore, in the semester system you don’t have to constantly worry about the next quarter’s enrollment dates and tuition deadlines. Overall, the semester system is more relaxed and laidback. As to which system is better, it’s all up to your own personal preference.

Useful information:
1) Schools that run on the semester system start the year earlier, that’s why students in the quarter system and semester system usually have the same breaks and vacations.
2) Mathematically, about 1.5 quarters equals 1 semester.

Photo courtesy of Horia Varlan via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Are you on the semester or quarter system? Which do you prefer? Post comments below!

Sireena Sy is a second year undergraduate at University of California, Riverside. She is a biochemistry major and a pre-med student.