Quarters are going away. It’s about time.

Photo Courtesy: Josh Adamson
Photo Courtesy: Josh Adamson

Photo by: Josh Adamson

By Josh Adamson |Staff Writer|

I am celebrating CSUSB’s imminent switch over from quarters to semesters.  The change cannot happen soon enough.

The quarter system is an archaic, compressive and needlessly dense approach to the organization of higher education.

Quarters represent a dying way of scheduling the academic year.

Only 14.7 percent of universities use the quarter system, while 71.2 percent use semesters, according to an article by Inside Higher Ed.

The same article also notes that the number of colleges that utilize the semester system increased from 62 percent to 70 percent between 1990 and 2001.

Such findings are not surprising in light of the benefits of semesters over quarters.

Semesters facilitate more depth into coursework due to the extended 18-week calendar.

Quarters stifle any depth by forcing professors and students to compress their work into 10 rapid weeks of instruction.

Students also have more leeway to pick the classes they really want in the semester system, stated Student Marlen Covarrubias.

The coursework itself is superior in the semester system as well.

“Assignments [in semesters] help us to have knowledge instead of just depending on the syllabus,” added Covarrubias.

Quarters increase the likelihood that transfer students – many of whom matriculate from 2-year schools on the semester system – will struggle to maintain good grades and a high GPA.

I can attest to those difficulties as a transfer student and semester system alumnus.

I was warned by many professors at my junior college that it would be difficult for me to keep up my grades in the quarter system.

Although I have maintained my high grades and GPA, such maintenance involved immense difficulties and feelings that many of my academic struggles were unnecessarily induced by the quarter system.

After three weeks into a given quarter, I would already be stressing about an impending midterm or term paper due date.

I would either be on track to attain a good course grade or too far behind in class to possibly recover.

Every assignment and project would be due at the same time by the ninth week, which stymied my ability to really focus on one task at a time.

This is not the right way to schedule higher education.

The spring quarter does not conclude until several weeks after the semester has already ended.

That added time pointlessly intensifies the competition that recent graduates encounter on the job market.

It is an anachronism that our university still uses the quarter system at all.

Most CSU’s are on semesters, and only four, San Bernardino, Pomona, San Luis Obispo, and East Bay, still use the quarter system, according to an article by EdSource.  

Sister CSU’s Los Angeles and Bakersfield converted to semesters in Fall 2016.

Plans are underway for each remaining CSU to adopt the semester calendar over the next few years.

The benefits of semesters are not lost on students.

“Semesters make an even playing field with other CSU’s,” stated student Abraham Garcia.

“Since most [CSU’s] are semester based, it would make it easier in terms of transferring credits and classes,” concluded Garcia.

This is just another bonus of the impending semester switch over.

Our university will be a better place once the conversion finally happens.


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