Going through different types of academic calendars from different colleges can be confusing. Some colleges talk in terms of semesters. Others talk in terms of trimesters and quarters, and still others in terms of 4-1-4. Here’s an explanation of what these various types of academic calendars mean.
In a semester system, the academic year consists of two terms—spring and fall. The spring term typically begins in January to the end of May, while the fall term typically runs from mid-August to the beginning of December. There may be a few variations in the start and end date from one college to another.
In a trimester system, the academic year is divided into 3 terms of 10 or 11 weeks each. One of the benefits of the trimester system is that it allows you to go to school in the summer so that you can graduate earlier.
The quarter system is similar to the trimester system, with the only difference being the summer terms. In a quarter calendar, there is one summer term and 3 primary terms of about 10 – 12 weeks each, making it a total of 4 terms in a year, hence the name.
4-1-4 or 4-4-1 Calendar
The 4-1-4 or 4-4-1 system has 2 of about 4 months each with a short mini-session that may be included either between the two long terms or at the end of the spring term.
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