A Ke Alaka’i poll of 100 BYU-Hawaii students concerning the new Spring Semester showed that 58 percent of students are planning on staying for the upcoming 2018 Spring Semester. In addition, 50 percent of those leaving said their reason was to save money, and another 26 percent said they were going on a mission.
The Spring Semester is the first of its kind since the enactment of the new calendar system. Though the Spring terms in the past - before the previous trimester calendar - were optional, Danielle Kinikini, an academic advisor, said this shortened Spring Semester is required “like any other lead semesters.” If students don’t attend, they lose their on-campus housing.
The semester, which will last for nine weeks and only require students to take eight credit hours to be fulltime as opposed to the normal 12, will also feature classes that are not offered during the normal Fall and Winter semesters. Tuition is $1,800 for LDS students, $900 cheaper than a normal semester, and $3,600 for non-LDS students, $1,800 cheaper than a normal semester.
Torri Herdegen, an undeclared freshman from Las Vegas, said, “I think if you stay, you can knock out a lot more classes and credit and get to where you want to go faster. I don’t feel like I need to stay because I’m not in any direction right now, so I’m not in a rush to get things done. If people have a direction, then I think it’s great to stay for the Spring Semester. It’s just a few extra weeks.”
Kinikini advised, “Think forward. If you take this semester off your first year, you don’t know how that’s going to affect you in the end. Students should be mindful. Take it now and then take it off later when you know for sure you can fit everything.”
Because of the shortened time, Herdegen said she decided not to say. She reasoned, “It seems stressful to fit in a lot of classes in a short amount of time, plus my friends are leaving so I would feel alone. … I planned just for Fall and Winter, and then I was going to go home anyway. That’s what makes a year. A school year is two semesters.”
Kinikini listed the benefits of staying for Spring: cheaper tuition, scholarships are still available, maintain your housing, be on the priority list for Fall housing, its duration is less than a normal semester, and there’s still a summer break afterwards.
Although her original plan was to leave during Spring to serve a mission, Kristi Nelson, a freshman from Arizona with an undeclared major, is staying for her boyfriend. She said, “I’m excited to see how it goes and to see if I like the faster pace.”
Kinikini reminded, “You still have to fit everything in those four years if you take Spring Semester off. There are classes that are only offered in Spring, classes that are required. If you don’t take it in Spring, you’re going to be two semesters behind.”
Justin Hodson, a freshman from Utah majoring in exercise science, said the Spring Semester is an amazing opportunity, but he added, “If I wasn’t going on a mission I’d stay, but I’m going on a mission in June.”
Noting the opportunity she has to graduate sooner, Nelson said, “I’m also excited for fewer credits so I can really focus on the ones I am taking. … It is kind of nice that it’s only two months.”