University of La Verne faculty and administrators are considering moving January interterm to a May term for the “benefit” of students, among other reasons. However, moving the academic term to May will only create more difficulties down the line for traditional undergraduate students and their scheduling for graduation.
January interterm is beneficial for a number of reasons and is essential to the success and preparation of the University’s traditional undergraduate students.
With January interterm in place, students have the ability to get a longer winter break if they need it – as January classes are optional. The additional month that students can decide to take off can be beneficial physically, mentally and emotionally.
Whether they spend the month preparing for graduate school, taking only one class, working two jobs, or doing nothing at all, January term is vital for students to feel fully prepared and ready to tackle the spring semester.
This time is also heavily utilized for seasonal jobs, when students can get themselves back on track from the expensive holiday season. Moving the term to May would eliminate this opportunity altogether and be an inconvenience to students who use that time for this particular purpose.
For athletes January interterm is the ideal time to take their difficult classes – as this is the only down time they have from academics while trying to balance the demands of their sports.
During January interterm, a wide range of classes is offered and can give students an additional five units – which adds up over time and can allow for early graduation. This extra term is included in tuition, making it more affordable considering no additional fees are charged if a student chooses to take the extra units. With May term, there is a possibility that students will have to use a combination of summer Pell Grants – taking summer term as well as May term – with loans and financial aid, but the University has not been crystal clear on this.
The University argues that May term would be ideal for students as they would be able to graduate three weeks earlier and possibly set themselves up for jobs sooner after graduation.
However, with January interterm in place, students are able to graduate entire semesters early from the University, which saves them time and money – and places them months ahead in the job market.
The Associated Students of University of La Verne conducted research on the matter, and found that the vast majority were against moving the month-long January interterm to May. While the survey found the move would have little to no impact on graduation rates, among the 979 traditional undergraduates who responded to the survey, over 93%, or 907 students, said they enjoyed the January term and over 89%, 875 students, said they preferred to keep it in January.
The data clearly shows that the University’s traditional undergraduates are not in support of the change. Many worry that aligning semester and term classes for cross-registration will only make it harder for traditional undergraduates to register for classes that are difficult to get into.
With May being the very beginning of a summer break, it might lower May term’s enrollment rate. Placing it at the start of summer is not ideal to traditional undergraduates, especially those who live far away or want to take advantage of the summer break to work multiple jobs.
If the University were to ignore the voices of its traditional undergraduate students and proceed to implement the May term, it would be letting down the hundreds of students who rely on the flexibility and unique independence the University offers.
The University’s first and foremost mission is to serve its students, and taking away something so useful and essential as January interterm would result in failing that mission.