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RIT Going to Semesters?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I get a lot of email from RIT, well more than I'd like, but I wanted an @alum.rit.edu email address so I just put up with their spam. Usually I'll read the first few words before deleting, but recently I got an email that actually had some interesting news: RIT is officially switching from quarters to semesters! In case you're unfamiliar, the quarter system breaks the school year into four 10 week blocks (summer included) instead of two 15 week semesters.

Around 10 years ago they seriously thought about changing this too. One of the biggest reasons for doing this was retention rate. At the time RIT had just over a 50% retention rate (if I remember correctly) which was pitiful. I could totally understand, 10 weeks makes for very fast paced classes. If you get sick and miss a couple classes, you were screwed; you just couldn't catch up. The way I saw it, RIT would accept anyone, but they would weed out people who couldn't keep up.

Most of the reasons they gave this time have to do with standardizing. There are fewer and fewer schools operating on the quarter system and they want to make it easier transferring credits to and from other schools. With quarters, Christmas lands right in the middle of winter quarter causing a big interruption. With semesters, Christmas falls in between semesters.

This change won't go into affect until the 2013-2014 school year, so they've got quite some time to plan it out. I guess taking that much time is really necessary since they'll probably need to rewrite every course in every program to fit the new length.

Tags: RIT

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