Main Advantages and Disadvantages
Some of the main advantages of the college trimester system include flexibility, diversity of available classes and the structure of year-long classes. Students generally have more flexibility in the classes that they take, since there are more open slots for new classes during the year when compared with the semester-based setup. With 12 available slots, students have more opportunities to take a more diverse range of classes than they otherwise would. This not only enables them to take more classes in subjects they love, but it also means that unpleasant classes or difficult general education requirements are shorter in length. Additionally, year-long classes are broken up into three segments, rather than two, which places less pressure on students during midterms and finals.
The main disadvantages of the trimester and quarter schedules are course load, academic pressure, and start and end times. Some students feel like their course load is too heavy with a trimester or quarter setup, as they are required to learn material at a faster pace. Midterms and finals occur back-to-back, and it can be difficult to find time to catch up on the material if a student gets behind. Similarly, the wide range of available courses can place more academic pressure on some students, who feel more obligated to double major, take on an extra minor, or participate in demanding certificate programs. Last, colleges on this schedule start and end later in the year, which can make summer internships, vacations, or time spent visiting friends at other colleges much more difficult to coordinate.
Overall, students should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the college trimester schedule to see what learning style works best with their individual preferences.
Source: author’s own experience