Established 1874.

Academic Calendar Questions

Most responses could be characterized as disgruntled or angry, complaining of a lack of breaks, limited class offerings, and lack of availability for summer opportunities. Some students identified that third-years were far enough into their college careers to be less likely to transfer, claiming the school took advantage of that fact. Others expressed relief that they weren’t going to be a part of the experimental first on-campus semester in the midst of a pandemic.

Bars represent number of students to identify that level of hardship


  • “I was very upset initially, particularly about continuing to be isolated from my peers for double the amount of time initially thought, while others didn’t have to go through that. I was very angry for a while and really struggled with how little control over my situation I had.”
  • “Concerned about my MCAT. Even though it’s only a one-semester delay, that delays my entrance to med school by a whole year because of the prerequisite courses I need to take before the MCAT. I appealed, but it was ignored. Meaning what started as possible oversight for third-year pre-med/law/etc. students turned into an active and informed obstruction.”
  • “I’m annoyed that I wasn’t able to take classes at Oberlin. I’m taking classes through a different school but Oberlin won’t accept my transfer credits, so I’m upset about that.”
  • Since my appeal was denied to change my semesters, I will no longer be able to graduate on time. I can’t attend the summer semester because I have already signed a contract to work in summer 2021. The fact that I could not attend the summer semester was not considered in my appeal. Now, I have to graduate winter 2022 and set back my graduate school plans.”
  • While I understood the need to limit the number of students on campus, I was thoroughly disappointed in the Oberlin administration for prioritizing [first-years] over [third-years] in semester placement and for misleading our community to believe that the rationale for this decision was anything other than monetarily driven.


College third-year students are expected to enroll in four consecutive semesters — this spring, summer, fall, and spring — before they graduate. By far, students showed the most concern about the lack of substantive breaks. Stress, mental health strain, and burnout are all concerns for third years, and many are nervous about missing out on work experiences, time with loved ones, summer programs, and internships their final summer before graduation. Some mentioned that their graduation is now postponed or uncertain because of this development. 

Bars represent number of students to identify that level of hardship


  • “I’m honestly fine with it! I’ll probably get a little burnt out, but summers always felt too long to me anyway. It’ll be nice to be in one place for a year and a half instead of moving constantly.”
  • “I’m already planning on feeling completely burnt out by the end of summer. As I enter right into the work field after graduation, I’m anticipating the transition from student to normal adult will be more difficult. Additionally, now that our month-long “summer” break is during September, I won’t even be able to hang out and relax with friends and family at home because they will already be back in school or focusing on new jobs that fall.”
  • “Not at all happy about it. It’s rude. It’s like they don’t care about the [third-years] at all and how a year and a half of straight school will affect us after an eight-month break.”
  • “I think having no significant breaks until graduation will be incredibly detrimental to the collective physical and mental health of our community — both students and faculty. For example, the spring semester has only two days of designated break, and there are only 11 days between the spring and summer semesters. Not only is this a recipe for burnout, but it also feels hypocritical for an institution that prides itself on its mental health resources.”
  • “I think it is way too much to ask of us — I am taking the summer semester off because I have to work. I will not be able to graduate on time because of the three-semester plan.
  • “I understand that Oberlin needs to have us on campus to have enough money to function, but I do not think that making third-years do the summer semester in order to graduate on time is the way to do this.”
  • “I was disappointed — but more angry — about them adding a summer semester that was required to graduate on time. The summer semester is without any good class options for my major but costs the same as a regular semester.”

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