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Semester Conversion FAQs





What is the difference between a quarter system and a semester system?
The quarter system divides the academic year into 10-week periods. The semester system divides the year into fall and spring semesters, each with about 154 weeks on instruction in addition to a summer session with about 15 weeks of instruction.

Fall semesters will begin in late August and end in mid-December. Spring semesters will begin in early January and end in late April. Summer session will begin in early May and end in early August.


What is the definition of a credit hour?
One semester credit hour will be awarded for a minimum of 750 minutes of formalized instruction that typically requires students to work at out-of-class assignments an average of two hours for every hour of formalized instruction. The instructor bears the primary responsibility for formalized instruction.

Credit hours may be awarded on a different basis for other types of instructional activities (e.g., labs, clinical, studio and independent study).


Can transition students choose the “old” quarter-based or the “new” semester-based curriculum?
Quarter-based courses will no longer be offered as of Fall 2012. All students will complete their degree within the semester system starting at the end of August 2012.


How will the transition to semesters affect my financial aid?
While annual amounts of financial aid awarded will remain the same, the amounts will generally be divided into two semester payments rather than three quarter payments.


Will class size increase as a result of semester conversion?
There may be some larger classes because of changes in enrollment patterns, changes in scheduling of courses, or changes in departments’ instructional models. On the other hand, some classes may be smaller.


How will semester courses differ from the quarter classes?
A semester course (about 15 weeks of instruction) covers more material than a quarter course (about 10 weeks of instruction). Students will spend about the same amount of time per week in class but for about 14 weeks instead of 10 weeks.


What will the new academic calendar look like under semesters?
See the online academic calendar. The first day of classes under the semester system will be Monday, August 20, 2012.

View the online academic calendar for the 2012-2013 academic year.


What will the summer session preceding the Fall 2012 conversion to semesters look like?
The summer session preceding the conversion to semesters in Fall 2012 will be an accelerated quarter of less than 10 weeks. In general, under the semester system, summer terms will begin in early May and end in early August. 


What can I do to prepare for semester conversion?
If you are close to graduation, make every reasonable attempt to complete your degree prior to the conversion to the semester system. If you cannot finish under the quarter system, make every attempt to complete all sequences of courses on the quarter system or delay beginning sequences until the conversion has taken place. Finally, consult with your academic advisor regarding questions you might have.


How can I tell if I will still be at NCSC when the conversion occurs in Fall 2012?
If, in Fall 2010, it will take you longer than two years to graduate, then you will likely be impacted. 



What safeguards are guaranteed to students who will transition from quarters to semesters?

See  Pledge to Students Details



Why change to semesters and why now?

As Ohio moves to the University System of Ohio (USO), the Governor has set forth an initiative that all public institutions are required to change from quarters to semesters. This change will enable better transfer of credits, a common calendar with other public institutions in Ohio, and an earlier end to the academic year.

Conversion will ease the transfer of students into and out of NCSC  programs from other national institutions, most of which (90 percent) already follow the semester system. This is especially true for minority students since 94 percent of historically black colleges and universities follow the semester system.

Because most of national peers already follow the semester system and because most Ohio institutions – and all the state’s four-year, public universities will be on semesters – adherence to a common academic calendar based on semesters will improve program articulation as well as enable cross-institution courses and materials along with comprehensive student interfaces.

A semester calendar will help NCSC to “capture” more summer-school students returning home for the summer months from other institutions and wanting to enroll in courses (and in a time frame) compatible with their academic careers. (A temporary transfer, if you will.)

Job-market advantages
Conversion will provide graduating students a “first-mover” advantage when entering the job market. Most large employers schedule recruitment of new hires according to the semester calendar. 

Flexibility for students
A semester calendar allows students greater flexibility in regard to switching, dropping, adding or otherwise switching classes because of the extended length of semesters vs. quarters.


When is North Central State College converting to semesters?
August 20th, 2012


What is the difference between quarters and semesters?
Quarters and semesters are both units that comprise an academic year, the traditional period of instruction in a college, university, or school that runs from September through June or August through May. For most colleges and universities, the academic “year” is actually a nine-month period.

A quarter is exactly that: one third of an academic year (or one quarter of the calendar year), typically lasting 10 to 12 weeks. A semester is one half of the academic year, typically lasting 15 to 16 weeks.


What are the advantages of the semester calendar?
The main academic advantage is that the pace of the semester system is less hectic than that of the quarter system. Because semesters are substantially longer than quarters, students will have more time to absorb and understand course material and more time to work on projects and papers.

With the conversion our calendar will be aligned with all public and most private colleges and universities to which our students transfer.


How are quarter hour credits to be converted into semester hours?
Credits earned under the quarter system are to be converted to semester credits by dividing the number of quarter credits by 1.5. For example, a student who has earned 60 quarter credits: 60 divided by 1.5 = 40 semester credits.


Under the semester system how many credits will be required for full-time status?
 Full-time status will be 12 credit hours.


How many credit hours will I have to take each semester to qualify for federal aid?
Subject to institutional approval, students must be enrolled in qualified degree or certificate programs at least half time (6 credit hours per semester).


How might the conversion from quarters to semesters affect my eligibility for federal financial aid?
Financial aid will continue to be awarded based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). On the quarter system, financial aid awards are made three times per year, typically fall, winter and spring. Following the semester conversion, financial aid awards will be made twice per year, typically fall and spring. The total amount of the award for which you may be eligible will remain the same. The award will be divided into two payments instead of three.




$1,500 Total Award

$1,500 Total Award

Disbursed in three parts

Disbursed in two parts

$500, $500, $500

$750, $750



Will my grade point average (GPA) be affected by the quarters to semesters conversion?
A student's GPA will be combined and weighted proportionately for the amount of quarter and semester credit earned.


Can I repeat quarter-credit courses that have been changed to semester-credit courses?
While it may be possible to substitute a semester course for a quarter course, students who wish to repeat quarter courses should do so before Fall 2012. Some quarter courses may not have equivalents under semesters, and, therefore, will not be repeatable on the semester system. The content of some quarter courses may be dropped completely on the semester system or may be dispersed among several semester courses.


What will happen to credit I have transferred from other institutions?
All transfer credit processed prior to Fall 2012 will be converted from quarter-hour credit to semester-hour credit by dividing the number of quarter-credits by 1.5. Beginning in Fall 2012, any courses taken at either semester or quarter institutions will be converted to North Central State College semester credit.


If I am taking a two- or three-quarter sequence course, e.g., English 101, 201, 202, should I complete that sequence before the conversion to semesters?
It is highly recommended that you complete all the sequences you have started on the quarter system in the quarter system. To do so allows you to finish the sequence in the system in which it was begun. North Central State College’s last term on the quarter system will be Summer 2012.


If I don’t think I will be able to complete the entire sequence before the Fall 2012 conversion to semesters, should I begin a sequence of courses in the quarter system?
If you cannot complete the sequence on the quarter system, then do not begin the sequence until the conversion to semesters is made in Fall 2012 unless your program or transfer school requires a partial sequence.


Why is North Central State College converting to a semester system?
The majority of the colleges and universities in the United States are on the semester system.  With the conversion, our calendar will be aligned with all public and most private colleges and universities in Ohio, easing transfer to and from North Central State College.







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