In This Story:
- DePauw University
- Drake University
- Elon University
- Miami University
- New York University
- University of Delaware
- University of Massachusetts Boston
- University of New Hampshire
- University of Rhode Island
- University of Virginia
Though many college students are just beginning their winter breaks after a frenzy of finals, some students may be back to the books sooner than others.
Thanks to winter terms on college campuses across the country, also known as January or J-terms, students can squeeze in an extra course or study abroad experience between their fall and spring semesters.
While some campuses have offered winter terms for many years, it’s a new concept for others.
The University of Rhode Island will offer its first “Winter J Term” this January. Already, the term has seen success. The university expected about 200 students to enroll for the new winter term offerings, but more than 400 students have signed up, says Dean Libutti, vice provost for enrollment management at URI.
“This is our pilot year and our enrollment is double what we expected,” Libutti says. “We are pretty much at capacity in every offering that we have.”
Winter terms offer students an opportunity to take innovative courses they couldn’t normally take during a regular semester, or to study abroad if they couldn’t during the regular school year, Libutti says.
Rhode Island’s winter term starts in the beginning of January and lasts about two weeks. Participating students will take courses on campus or participate in traveling programs both inside and outside the United States. For example, a group of nursing students will travel to the Dominican Republic in January to utilize their skills, Libutti says.
A number of other schools also offer winter terms of varying lengths, including University of Virginia, New York University, Drake University, University of New Hampshire, DePauw University, University of Massachusetts Boston and University of Delaware offer winter terms. Like the University of Rhode Island, Miami University in Ohio will also offer its first-ever winter term this January.
The timing and intensity of winter terms can benefit the students, says Jarad Bernstein, director of public relations for Drake University, which will offer its second winter term this January.
“It’s an opportunity for students and faculty to concentrate on one class at a time,” he says. “Even if they’re not traveling, they’re engaged in intensive and focused learning opportunities.”
While winter terms are new to some universities, they are staple at others. At Elon University, winter terms have been offered since 1969, says Brooke Barnett, associate provost for inclusive community at Elon. This year, 97% of undergraduate students are participating in Elon’s winter term, she says.
At DePauw University in Indiana, winter terms are a must. Students at DePauw have to participate in at least three winter terms in order to graduate. For senior Bri’anna Moore, DePauw’s winter term was a big factor in her college decision.
“I actually picked my school because we had winter terms,” she says.
Moore traveled to India during her first winter term and participated in a program with the Sundance Film Festival during the winter term of her sophomore year. After a hiatus her junior year, she will revisit the Sundance Film Festival this year during winter term as part of an externship for credit, she says.
“It’s really cool … the different opportunities you have to go different places,” she says.
Yet there are challenges to incorporating a winter term into the academic calendar.
It’s important to make sure the entire university—from housing to support services—are on the same page with the winter term, Libutti says.
Additionally, schools have to ensure that students could afford to participate in the extra term. To address this, URI offered discounted tuition for the winter term as well as some need-based aid. Libutti says. Elon, on the other hand, includes the tuition for winter term with students’ fall tuition.
Students also have to understand the rigor of an abbreviated term, Libutti says.
“This is an intensive full-time experience,” he says. “Just recognizing that this is a different entity than a fall and spring semester (is necessary).”
Powered by Facebook Comments