Campanile in Winter

Iowa State will hold a second Winter Session Pilot this year.

Iowa State is holding a second winter session for students who wish to continue their academics through Winter Break. Registration for the winter session opens Oct. 20. The session will have 55 courses to choose from, 90 percent of which will be three-credit-hour classes. 

This winter session will still hold exclusively online courses but will still look slightly different from the original pilot, which took place throughout the two-month-long Winter Break during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, Iowa State has returned to the typical one-month winter break leaving much less time for students to work through the accepted curriculum. The session begins Dec. 20 and continues through Jan. 14, with three holidays planned out during the session for Friday, Dec. 24, Monday, Dec. 27 and Friday, Dec. 31. Because of this shorter session, no four credit-hour classes will be offered during the winter session.

Despite the lack of four credit-hour classes, colleges are still offering mostly 300 and 400 level courses. This is because 70 percent of the students who enrolled in last year’s winter session pilot were juniors and seniors.

The defining factor that has prevented many courses from being included in the winter session is whether or not the course can be condensed into such a short period of time. 

Compressing full courses into just one month can be challenging not just for the university but also for the students who plan to take them. Associate Provost for Academic Programs and Co-chair holder for the Winter Session Planning Committee, Ann Marie VanDerZanden, explained in an Inside Iowa State news release that the winter session would be a time-intensive commitment for students, likely taking the commitment of a full-time job. 

Students who enroll in the winter session will have the bills for their courses added to their spring U-bill. Students are also excused from some mandatory fees because current business systems aren’t built to incorporate a winter session. 

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