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The Pros and Cons of Winter Term

This article appeared in a November 2016 issue of the student newsletter.

Should you register for Winter Term? This decision is not an easy one. Students struggle with the choice between taking a relaxing hiatus from their studies, or using the winter break to get ahead (or catch up).

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of signing up for Winter Term. As you read through these, keep in mind there are many other factors not listed here that could be important in your decision.

The Pros:

  • Short classes.  The Winter term class schedule is different at each college. However, it typically lasts from mid-December through early January. This allows you to really focus in on a topic, which can be difficult during a typical semester that lasts 13-15 weeks.
  • Less wait listing. Courses that are hard to get into during the Fall or Spring semester are often offered over the Winter or Wummer terms to meet high demand. Seize this opportunity to take that class you've been dying to try, like Oceanography or Advanced Photoshop.
  • A relaxed atmosphere. Winter courses are usually less formal and provide a relaxed learning environment. This often translates into more hands-on activities and increased discussion.
  • Smaller classes. Taking a hard class to get it out of the way? Thanks to smaller class sizes during Winter term, professors are able to give more individualized attention to students. 

The Cons:

  • Less time to socialize. Because Winter term classes are condensed into three to six weeks, they meet much more frequently (often daily) and require a fair amount of studying outside the classroom. This means less free time during your winter for things like holiday movie marathons or lights at the zoo.
  • Procrastination is not an option. It simply won't fly in winter school! One missed class, test, or reading, can cause a domino effect where you quickly fall behind.
  • Lots of reading. If you're a slow reader, you may want to save Introduction to Shakespeare, or any class with a large amount of reading homework, for the Spring semester. It would be a shame to fall behind because you have too much reading and too little time.
  • School on warp speed. A fast-paced course can be an advantage or disadvantage, depending on your perspective. Professors will cover a lot of material in a short amount of time. You may have a quiz, a lab and a midterm in the same week. 

Students Weigh In:

  • “Register early so you get the classes you want.” - Andrea M.
  • “Final exams are easier for me in the winter. The material is still fresh." -Maya R.
  • “If you're going to take more than one Winter class at a time, make sure one is an easy class. Like, don't register for organic chemistry and calculus. That's way too intense." -Daniel T.

Enrollment for both Winter term classes and Spring classes starts Nov. 22 at all seven colleges of DCCCD. You can register for a Winter term class up until the first class meeting. Spring semester registration ends Wednesday, Jan. 11.