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Taking time to talk about the 4-4 schedule

March 22, 2013

A year into it’s inception, students (past and present) were asked about their experiences with the 4-4, credit hours, and even trimester sides of the curriculum. Join in on the conversation at or our Facebook page.

Timothy Glimore

“Some of the main differences that I have noticed is that before the switch to the 4-4 system it was much easier for students of all age and experience level to be involved in activities outside of the classroom.  With the new system it seems that student involvement is lower than normal and that students are finding it harder to be able to budget their time and be involved with extra curricular activities.  Even older students like myself who have not added any more activities and had gotten used to time management are finding it more difficult to keep up with course work. When it comes to my extracurricular activities I feel that often times I am having to devote less time to my involvement and more time to course work.

I fell more challenged by the new curriculum in the sense that I have more homework and seemingly less time to devote to it.  I am still performing to the standards that I am accustom to but more often now than ever professors seem to treat their class as the only class that we students have because we are all “taking less classes”.”

I prefer the old 15+ credit hour system more many reasons.  The biggest reason is that one the old system one had more ability to try other courses or retake courses if they happened to fail and would still be on track to graduate on time and this new system gives little room for error.

Katelyn Pfau

“In a span of two weeks I had 12 papers, 2 Midterms, and one presentation. Why was that all crammed before break and why do I now have no papers to write? I don’t know.

I feel that there is far more reading than was expected prior to the 4-4 in some of my classes. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing but the idea that having at most, 2 hours a day, theoretically, than before does not give me the time to do all that is expected. It does not make enough of a difference for the amount of time we are now asked to spend outside of the classroom.

Movie requirements are probably my biggest complaint. If you want me to write papers and read and spend extra time on the reading, please don’t assign something during that evening. Obviously its manageable since I didn’t get any midterm warning grades and I am able to do all of the work, but the 4-4 is not relieving stress, its adding it.”

Julie Samuelson

“I think that part of both being a college student and an athlete you need to learn to balance your time.  Often, this comes with a little bit of a trail and error process that I think the 4-4 takes away from.  For example, if you came from a high school where the academics were not that rigorous and you do not know how to properly study you can quickly fall behind.

I think the old credits system allowed more opportunity for students to make and LEARN from their mistakes because they could re-take classes if they wished to improve their grades.  Also, I feel this takes away from our idea of liberal arts and experiencing classes outside of our comfort zone/major because we have to make sure we get in our graduation requirements and taking on an extra course is much harder and, I feel, almost ill-advised. Finally, I feel it takes away from people who change their major because it is nearly impossible to come in undecided or switch because there is so little room for error.”

Sarina Alexander

“Before. without the 4-4, underclassmen could change their major or minor without having to worry whether or not they would be able to graduate in time, but now it’s a bit harder, especially being a sophomore, to switch or add.

I’m involved in Colorful Voices of Praise and Intercultural Life, and even with the change I think I can devote the same amount of time to both and academics as before.

I do feel like I’m being more challenged then before, because I have more things due in a shorter span of time, and the half-semester courses are even worse to add in there because it’s a shorter amount of time so there’s more homework.

I would prefer to go back to the credits system, even on this system I’m still taking 7 or 8 classes because they’re worth, maybe, 0.5 credits here, or 0.25 credits there. But with the old system I could take fewer classes, but taking more classes was an option, so I could change majors more freely if I wanted to.”

Kelsey Weyforth

“I like that with the 4-4, you can focus on each class because you only have four. However, it’s harder to catch up if you fall behind for some reason, and if you are an undecided major like me it doesn’t leave you a lot of time to pick a major, or even switch to a different one.

The workload is pretty heavy, I think because the teachers assume that not much else got assigned in our other classes, thought I don’t think that is usually the case. The workload varies from subject to subject, really, but that doesn’t take into consideration all of the time we dedicate to sororities, clubs, and work.

I’m the president of Grier, but I also work in the cafeteria and do catering, and it does get difficult sometimes.”

Timothy Yates

“Having come directly into this I really do not have anything else to compare it to. I suppose it is a bit frustrating that I can not take as many classes as I might want to. Other than that, the 4-4 is the only college experience I’ve ever had, so I can’t say what I enjoy or don’t enjoy.

I feel like there is enough time for me to join the extracurricular actives I am involved in, if there is something I want to do but I’m not doing it is just because I have other commitments that are not academics. However, I can see how it has effected some of my classmates who are too swamped with homework and studying to join in something they might enjoy.

I would like to be able to take more classes without overloading the system. I feel like there are some ensembles I am auditing that I should be getting credits for, but I can not because I am already overloaded as it is.

DJ Sparks

“This is only my second semester at Monmouth College, and, no, I do not feel as though I have an adequate amount of time for my sports and extracurricular activities while still maintaining my academics. So far I am doing fine with everything — I got Phi of the month already from my fraternity already. I have been running many personal records in track and I have been getting very good grades this semester. The problem is it never seems like I can be consistent with all three of these things at the same time.

Sometimes I have to study for a class and I end up having to stay up late, and that makes it very hard to run the next day because I didn’t get much sleep. I feel as though I am always sacrificing something. These things could be sleep, grades, running well and even my fraternity events.

To be honest, the way my schedule works I usually start class at 9 a.m. and then don’t get out of class until 3 p.m. Then I have practice at 4 p.m. and sometimes practice doesn’t get over with until 6:30 p.m. Then I will eat right after and then go to any late night meetings which usually last about an hour. This means that I don’t start homework usually until 8 p.m. or even 9 p.m. sometimes. And because of this I don’t get much sleep, which leads to other things going down hill like how well I am running at the time.

Don Mahler

Don Mahler graduated from Monmouth College in 1985 and attended the school when the curriculum was still on a trimester system.  He graduated with a degree in speech communication and theater arts.  Mahler recounts what it was like as a student under this system.

Like the current 4-4 curriculum, the trimester system focused on classes rather than credit hours. “You kind of felt like you were on your own planet because everyone else was on credit hours, and I didn’t even know what credit hours were,” said Mahler.

One of the larger differences that affected Mahler was the class schedule.  “Most of the classed you went to five days a week.  It seemed like every time you turned around there was a midterm or final.”

Students under the trimester system were able to take on average four more full classes than students currently under the 4-4 curriculum.  “I liked that you could take a lot more courses in a year [than in a semester system],” said Mahler.

While at MC, Mahler was very involved with the radio station.  “I had a radio show… I also founded a sales department at the radio station.  I had to do things like set the rates, go out and sell ads, cut the ads, air them, and make sure others aired them at the correct times.”  He also served as co-editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

“I didn’t sleep much my junior year,” said Mahler of his involvement.  “Sometimes I was missing classes.”  He thinks that his extracurricular involvement was worth the effort, though. “It was all that hands-on involvement that gave me a leg up when I went into the workforce… Everybody else only had a degree.  I had experience.”

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