The differences between school semesters, trimesters and quarters


Chloe Couch, Writer

Schools around America are set up one of two ways: trimesters or semesters—some schools split the semesters into quarters as well. Many schools, such as Linden, have switched to trimesters for different reasons, but Fenton remains following the semester schedule. 

The difference between trimesters and semesters is how they divide up the academic year. Trimesters are 3 sessions of 12-13 weeks while semesters are 2 sessions of around 20 weeks. Junior Brooklyn Ahearne went to Linden before she transferred to Fenton in her sophomore year—experiencing both trimesters and semesters.

“Personally, I like trimesters more because it gives the students the ability to switch classes after each trimester, which is three times a year,” Ahearne said.

As Ahearne stated, trimesters let students switch their schedule three times a year whereas semester classes only switch twice. However, FHS doesn’t offer very many semester-long classes, so students don’t usually get a change throughout the year at all.

“If we had trimesters, we would be able to take more classes,” senior Sarah Dzadzio said. “With our current schedule, oftentimes students have so many classes they want to take but they can’t fit them in throughout the course of high school.”

Along with high schools, colleges also have either a trimester or semester schedule. This can play a role in a student’s decision when choosing their future college. 

“I looked into this debate with my top two college choices—DePaul and University of Michigan,” Dzadzio said. “It wasn’t a huge factor in my overall decision, but it was definitely something I thought about during the process. I ultimately decided on the University of Michigan, which is run by semesters, but DePaul had trimesters which was a positive for that school.”

Although Ahearne and Dziadzio prefer trimesters, schools around the country choose different methods for organizing their school years, allowing students to attend a school that suits their preference.