Semester change survival guide
What you need to know about the impending move away from quarters
By Tyler DavisPosted Sep 28, 2011
The switch to a semester is rapidly approaching, even if it is a little less than a year away.
As the Semester Conversion Coordinating Committee said in an email to OSU students and faculty, the change, which arrives June 18, 2012, will mark the end of 90 years on the quarter system.
Understandably, a system that has endured for almost an entire century cannot be replaced easily or quickly, and while there are still many holes in the upcoming semester system, there is a decent amount of information available as to what we can expect at OSU next June. And with a change this big, it’s never too early to start thinking about how these moves will impact your life.
So let us guide you on this transition with the following:
One of the biggest questions returning students have about the semester change is, “How will it affect my tuition?” Based on billed expenses from the 2010-11 school year, the annual cost of tuition at OSU will not change. However, instead of an Ohio resident paying $3,140 in tuition per quarter, that same student will now pay $4,710 in tuition per semester.
According to the same report, financial aid on the semester system will be split into two payments instead of three, much like tuition. The semester conversion will not affect the amount of a student’s financial aid. This was one of the first questions answered by the SCCC, but many more questions remain for many students.
To answer some of those questions, the SCCC commissioned MySwitch.osu.edu, a website created by Undergraduate Student Government with input and support from the offices of Academic Affairs and Student Life.
The site has specific and informative answers for questions about studying abroad during the summer of 2012 and the following years. It also provides students with an extensive calendar detailing breaks, commencements, finals weeks and more from this autumn up through the end of the 2013 academic year. Finally, there are links and FAQs about what the semester change will mean for university internships, semester start dates and on-campus housing.
For many students, the main concern that has yet to be answered involves how the change will affect their graduation.
Unfortunately for those of us not graduating before the semester change, there is no clear answer to whether we will still be able to graduate on time. MySwitch says it’s possible if you work closely with an advisor, but now if it takes longer to graduate than expected, you will almost be paying an extra $5,000 because of the change to semesters.
The main issue with this comes from the conversion from credit hours per quarter to credit hours per semester. MySwitch states that, “Credit hours taken on the quarter system will multiply by two-thirds to calculate total semester credit hour equivalent,” and while you may technically be receiving the same amount of “credit” for the classes you have taken, the confusion with how to organize your new semester schedule may end up costing you.
According to MySwitch, for the transition from quarters to semesters, each college and department is working individually. The problem with this is that there are issues inside of departments and involving how various departments are connected to other programs.
Hannah Solomon, an Ohio State graduate who works at the OSU College of Medicine, has seen firsthand the barriers to the transition between quarters and semesters when it comes to classes.
“My boss is working on a new curriculum,” she said. “She can't decide on new classes until the med school does, and they're waiting to hear from other programs.”
A fourth-year Japanese major, Laura McGhee, is not content with the lack of clarity when it comes to advisors’ lack of knowledge about the effects of the semester change.
“Whenever I talk to an adviser about it, they say, ‘I don't know what's going to happen, but don't worry,’ but I am worried,” McGhee said.
Even if these classes were selected and semester changes continued without issue, those semester classes themselves would differ greatly from the quarter classes to which we have all become so accustomed.
Your classes will change in several major ways after the semester switch. According to MySwitch, students will be expected to carry five classes per semester. This also means that choosing classes will be more important than ever as you will have fewer opportunities to take required coursework for your major.
The classes themselves will change too in that there will be longer amounts of time in between assignments, and many of those assignments will increase in size. If you thought a term paper for quarters were bad, wait until you have to try and write one for an entire semester.
The change’s advantages
The changes coming from the transition to semesters from quarters at OSU will cause quite a few issues for students and faculty alike, but there are some advantages to being on the semester system.
Students will finish their school year in the end of May instead of in June, and the breaks will match up more closely with other schools around the country giving people a greater chance to reunite with friends and family. Classes also won’t feel so rushed because there will be time to plan out and prepare for larger assignments. And if the entire university is backing the change, it has to be good for something, right?