College quarter system needs to be universal2 min read

Editorial Board

Currently, De Anza College divides up its academic year with a quarter system. It’s shorter, fast-paced and sometimes more grueling.

And we like it that way. In fact, we like it so much that all other college institutions should adopt it as well, thus making a universal system that is more efficient and uniform.

Truth is, the quarter system is more efficient and flexible – key characteristics for student success. The difference in length is substantial: 8-12 weeks for quarter system versus 15-18 weeks for a semester. Shorter terms prevent the inevitable mid-semester slump, and helps keep students focused.

“Semester systems are like high school and you have time to procrastinate,” says Redentor Evangelista, 20, a nursing major. “In a quarter [system], you have to stay on top of your game and make sure you don’t fall behind.” Oftentimes classes are more in depth, due to the time constraints, and are then higher energy, so students don’t lose interest.

A quarter system also allows students more variety in the classes they can take, as well as flexibility with their schedules. With De Anza students juggling their many commitments in their busy lives, it helps to have a system that leaves more room for change.

Also, the shorter time frame means less of a commitment for students, which can be an added plus. Getting courses over with faster has its own distinct advantages. For the students who have to take a class that they dread going to, they can rest easy knowing that with a quarter system their time with that class is essentially cut in half.

Having differing academic systems among universities can be jarring for transfer students who are already accustomed to their previous system. By adopting a uniform system, it eliminates the disparities between colleges and their timetables, and allows students to feel comfortable with the schoolwork load.

Universities often deal with the age-old struggle with the effectiveness between quarter and semester terms. It’s not unheard of for institutions to change systems periodically. The vast differences between colleges can also be added with their term lengths.

As De Anza College is consistently ranked as one of the top community colleges in California, it must be doing something right. The quarter system may be instrumental to its success. And there’s no reason why others can’t join in.