News of the University administration’s intention to eliminate January Interterm and replace it with a similar May term starting in the 2025-26 academic year was an unpleasant surprise to 23 of 25 La Verne students who responded to an informal survey last week on campus.
The students participating in this unscientific “person-on-the-street” poll called the planned schedule change unnecessary, and they raised concerns about potential burnout and mental health challenges they felt could arise from a shortened break between semesters followed by an extra month of class tacked onto the end of spring semester.
“January term works better with my schedule and gives me a much-needed break in between the two semesters, which is absolutely crucial for my mental health,” freshman criminology major Jonathan Rivera said. “I don’t want to overwork myself for weeks on end only to have what feels like a few days to recuperate and do it all over again.”
Students’ reasons for wanting the University to maintain January term varied. Some said it was important to have the month off to spend some downtime with family and friends, while others said it was important for them to take Jan term classes to catch up or get ahead.
“Jan term works better for me because it allows me to complete some GEs, which allows me to graduate early,” sophomore kinesiology major Eliana Ramirez said. “It also offers a break between fall and spring that allows students an opportunity to de-stress and mentally prepare for the upcoming semester. All factors that make the University look better with the success rate of students.”
The current academic schedule – including January term – gives students a six-to-seven week break between semesters, including a two-to-three week break from the end of fall semester until the start of the four-week January term. During January term, students can take up to five academic units, and those units are included in their Spring semester tuition.
University administration is still studying when in January the spring semester would start following the elimination of January Interterm. They said that the switch from January to May terms would not change the financial calculus for students, whose May tuition, and room and board if applicable, would still be covered by spring semester tuition.
“Having a Jan term gives us a longer break between semesters… I wouldn’t want a two-week break before starting a new term,” senior chemistry major Dezeree Gil said. “Especially if it’s in exchange for a lack of motivation during a time I would already consider the end of the year.”
January term is not unique to the University of La Verne. Among the other colleges that offer similar winter intersession opportunities are Chapman, Johns Hopkins and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with some Cal States.
“During Jan term I only take one class so it’s less stressful,” said sophomore digital media major Mark Morales. “Realistically, if this period is moved to May, I would much rather just have my summer break.”
And while the vast majority of students said they will be sad to see January term go at La Verne, a couple are anticipating potential benefits of the move to May.
“If I had to pick one, I would choose May term,” said freshman biology major Mia Buckley. “Coming out of high school it would be the same kind of transition, with an early summer that I’m not totally against.”
Junior business administration major Jimena Suarez added, “With the switch to May term, students (could) get a longer summer, (though) housing will also be difficult if we do end earlier, because students wouldn’t want to pay for an extra month of housing if they aren’t taking any classes.”
“There’s a lot of downsides to this change,” Ramirez said. “An upset student population, no early graduation, risk of burnout and low return rate of students in the spring semester.”
Ramirez added that she hopes the administration will consider students’ concerns.
Brittany Snow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.