After several discussions about the future of Andover’s academic calendar and a change to trimesters of equal length, faculty members have put the new schedule to a vote this week.
Many faculty members argue that changing the schedule to make terms of equal length would improve the academic life of students by equalizing the curriculums of term contained-courses during different terms and by allowing the College Counseling Office to send complete transcripts of early applicants to colleges as opposed to projected grades.
Many students have argued that a new calendar with two two-week long breaks would make it difficult for international students to enjoy either of the vacations because of travel concerns and time zone changes. Students have also expressed that the scheduling of major assignments would create more stress during Fall Term Penultimate Week and the week before Winter Break in the new proposed format. In an online student conducted by The Phillipian, 78 percent of 541 respondents disagreed with proposal for the new calendar, and 81 percent of respondents believed that the current format of the calendar did not require a change.
Whether the faculty change the calendar or not, the scheduling conversation that has been going on since last Spring cannot end with the rendering of a decision. As demonstrated by legitimate arguments from the faculty and students, both decisions leave major flaws unresolved.
The current system of sending projected grades to colleges for early applicants jeopardizes students’ likelihood of getting into their first choice schools, because Andover students with only provisional fall grades are difficult to compare to similar students with official senior year grades at other schools.
But the personal dilemma that international students would face under the proposed calendar, if left unresolved, is not worth the sacrifice. For each two-week-long vacation, international students would be forced to choose between travelling home and dealing with jetlag in a truncated break, or staying in the United States with their host families and placing a burden on them for a full two weeks.
When the calendar has been decided, it is inevitable that some faction on campus will be unhappy, whether in the student body or faculty. Both groups will have valid, unignorable problems with either decision.
The responsibility will lie with the administration to ensure these concerns do not remain unanswered.
The Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXV.