J Term

Illustration by Anastasiia Zubareva

January Term Results Yield Mixed Reactions

More than half receive first choice and 92 percent receive choice from top three.

Oct 9, 2016

January Term course results were released on Oct. 3. This year’s J-Term results came amid a new system for J-Term allocation and a re-defining of the away J-Term. The method allocated students more points if they had not previously completed J-Terms abroad or cores, among other factors. Vice Provost for Academic Administration Charles Grim found results from the new J-Term system promising compared to years past. Like in past years, students had mixed feelings about this year’s J-Term allocations.
Students had to select seven courses for their J-Term application. Grim initially found it difficult to fit everyone into their preferred choices, commenting, “We have to put 1000 students into about a 1050 seats. Sometimes it seems amazing that we can put anybody in any course that is on their list. But the fact that we are able mostly to get people high choices, it gives us a sense of fulfillment.”
Grim found that in general, this year’s results were an improvement on previous years. According to Grim, 92 percent of students received one of their top three choices and more than half of students received their first choice.
The described improvement was largely due to the new J-Term point system. Individual courses were allocated higher point values based on demand, core status and in-class travel.
The new system also redefined what constitutes an away J-Term, as an Abu Dhabi-based J-Term with a trip is now classified as an away J-Term. The away J-Term definition change was laid out in 2015 along with a limit on taking two core class J-Terms.
Discussing the results of the new methodology for selection, Grim stated:
“In order to have as many really attractive choices at the top, people put some non-attractive choices as their lower courses. [The point system] did exactly what we wanted it to do, which is to spread people’s preferences a little bit, so that we didn’t have everybody choosing the same six courses. That was the purpose and it worked. That’s why we didn’t have to give anyone their sixth or seventh choice.”
Grim also explained that if students had chosen a course which satisfied a requirement that they no longer needed, then other students who were missing that requirement were prioritized. Overall, Grim emphasized that he was “trying to put as many students as possible into their top three choices.”
Sophomore Oleksandra Plyska got her fifth choice. As her class will be in New York, she said that she would have preferred a different place because she already plans to go there for a semester abroad.
This year’s J-Term courses will be 16 to 18 days long and will begin following Winter Break on Jan. 2.
Rodrigo Luque is Deputy News Editor. Email him at feedback@thegazelle.org.
gazelle logo