Semester vs Trimester: The Subtle Differences

Last year Delbarton switched from the trimester to the semester. Was it the right move?

Semester vs Trimester: The Subtle Differences

William Du, Staff Writer

This year, Delbarton changed its marking periods to a semester from a trimester calendar. While the trimester divided the school year into periods of three months, the new semester contains around 4-5 months. The quarter system, which divides the school year into four parts, is also heavily popular among schools. All of these systems has its merits, and both are employed in highly prestigious universities. Ultimately, whether or not the Delbarton administration made the right decision in switching is up to the students to decide.

The most tangible impact of different marking periods is the course selection and length of courses. While a trimester system allowed for more courses to be squeezed in, the pacing of these classes may have sometimes felt rushed or too short (granted, this may also have its pros for those who don’t enjoy the course). Meanwhile, the semester system allows a much more leisurely pace, with theoretically one less benchmark test to take care of. Personally, this year has felt a little bit less intensive, especially in the math and theology classes. Add in an extra few weeks of gym and fewer grades to worry about, and so far the semester system has seemed like the right move.

That’s not to say that no one will look back at the golden time of yesteryear and reminisce about having an extra column on their report card. The trimester system allowed students to meet more faculty members, and it was in one of those rotating classes last year that I met the incomparable Father Demetrius (make sure to subscribe to his youtube channel). The trimesters also matched up better with the fall, spring, and summer sports cycles, and avoided the imperfect shoving of the dubious months of May and June into the spring semester. Due to the semester system, Iwe also celebrated last Christmas in the fall semester, an atrocity. To most students, however, these are minor details that plague the mind of only academic fanatics with an essay to write.

While the Semester v. Trimester debate may not seem to hold much substance at first, an in-depth dive reveals how the different marking periods affect the class dynamics and academic life of students. Such attention to minute differences is perhaps what makes Delbarton a tier above the rest of our competitor schools. Both systems present compelling arguments, as well as fruits that require full sacrifice to eat. Next year, will it be the exciting taste of an extra class, or will the fruit be bittersweet, tainted only by an unsatisfactory naming system? It’s up to the students to decide.