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Ohio State students lament over possible switch to semester system

Gordon Gee
Gordon Gee, OSU's president, approves of semester scheduling.

Spring Break is one of the most exciting and relaxing times in a college student’s academic year. Some students rush to Florida to tan on the beaches in an alcohol-induced coma, some head home to have their laundry done by their moms, and some hang out around campus and relax. For most college students, spring break comes after a series of midterms. But for Ohio State students, spring break comes after finals. Why? Because OSU is on the quarter system as opposed to semester scheduling that most schools are on.

In quarter scheduling, the school year is divided into four quarters: fall, winter, spring, summer. Quarter scheduling is nice because it allows students to take more classes in their college years and explore more topics they may be interested in, even if they have little to do with their major. Most students at Oho State really enjoy the quarter system for its flexibility.

Unfortunately, OSU may be making a transition to a semester system. According to Ohio State’s Academic Plan, “The trend is toward semesters, which give students more time for in-depth study, ease the transfer process, provide efficiencies, and save money.”

Many students are opposed to this change, as the 3,000-member-strong Facebook group “OSU Students Against Semesters” would indicate. The greatest complaint among students is that they were not included in the decision-making process. According to Lisa Bonk, a sophomore Health Sciences major, “We cover the same material, we just break it up into smaller chunks. It will also make scheduling more difficult. I am also opposed to it because they never asked the student population.” Students are also concerned that the switch to semesters will be chaotic and result in many dropped classes and an overall increase of their time in college.

However, the same academic plan that proposes the switch to semesters makes other suggestions that would actually be beneficial. For instance, students would no longer be required to complete the general education curriculum (GEC). This curriculum was implemented in a time when Ohio State was an open-admissions university, but now that the admission process is more challenging and the students are better prepared for college, they no longer need the extra classes. Under this plan, students would be able to focus more on their majors, rather than having Chemistry majors floundering in a first-year writing course, and English majors struggling to meet their science requirements.  

Luckily, the new Academic Plan is really only a proposal, and the future switch to a semester system has yet to be made official. Gordon Gee, the university’s president, pushed for semesters during his first tenure in the 1990’s. Now that he’s back at Ohio State, he is aiming to make the switch again. Perhaps, as in the past, the switch will be overturned and quarters will remain. 


  • Wayne Laughlin 4 years ago

    This is also happening at Ohio University and the same cocerns are being heard here. But there is one more issue that I really think is being missed. The quarter system and the (GEC) allow for students to get a much more rounded education. Why shouldn't students be required to take some science, some history, and some english? This system creates great thinkers that are capable of making informed decisions in many different areas not just their major. Isn't this what we built universities for to bare our next generation of great minds?