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To Intersession or Not to Intersession

March 4, 2015

A blog post from SOLES Ambassador and MA in Counseling with specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Lara Touckley:

Many graduate students are uncertain as to whether or not they want to take a course during Intersession. Some people fear it, some don’t know it exists, and the rest just want a nice long break.

For those of you who don’t know what Intersession is, it’s a 3-week semester that takes place in January between the Fall and Spring semesters. Due to its short duration, the course is condensed and it’s advised that a student take only one course per Intersession.

Some students are obligated to take a course during Intersession depending on their program. However, there remains a huge body of students in which taking a course during Intersession is optional. Some students don’t like it – it’s just too much cramming! But others absolutely love it – finishing a course in just 3 weeks?! Sign me up! So after assessing one’s priorities, it really depends on the person’s style. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself before registering for a course during Intersession:

  • Will I be mentally ready for the Spring semester if my vacation is shortened?
  • Am I in a rush to get this course out of the way?
  • Is it more beneficial for me to take a course now rather than in the Summer?
  • What kind of schedule do I prefer – a fast-paced condensed one or a more regularly paced one?

One question I found myself asking after taking a course during Intersession was: did I miss out on any important information or activities that would have been available had I taken the course during the regular 16-week semester? To avoid feeling like other peers have benefited more from taking the course in a regular semester, it’s always a good idea to speak to your advisor and/or the professor offering the course of your choice. This way you’ll get a feel of how the course will be like in a condensed 3-week Intersession versus a regular 4-month Fall or Spring semester; thus, you’ll be able to judge for yourself which semester/course will be more beneficial to you. From my experience, I did not miss out on anything. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! If there is a course that you’re interested in and would want to delve into more in-depth, perhaps taking it in the Fall or Spring would give you more time and room for in-depth development in that course.

Finally, you liking or not liking Intersession all depends on your style and preference. If you like a fast-paced schedule and work well under pressure, I think you would enjoy taking a course during Intersession.

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