The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



The Trimester System is Crippling the SLOHS Senior Class


The awful San Luis Obispo High School class schedule. Photo courtesy of reporter Levi Woffinden.

  With San Luis Obispo High School’s sister school, Morro Bay High School, running on the semester system, and Cal Poly making the switch as well, many students wonder why we are still running on the dusty old trimester system. 

  The trimester system puts AP students at a disadvantage and makes it more difficult for SLOHS seniors to apply for colleges.

   “I think the trimester system is essentially pointless, it has no real benefit,” said senior Aiden Eagon.

  Technically, SLOHS is a semester school that runs on a trimester schedule. This complicates seniors making college applications, as they have to enter SLOHS as both a trimester and semester school. The worst part is, that if a senior messes up with this complex system, their entire application could be void.

  “AP classes also get screwed, because the way that the trimester system works is that you have to take a seminar…but they don’t count as extra points on your grades, [so] your overall GPA will drop because you want to have a better AP score, which sucks,” said Eagon.

  If SLOHS ran on the semester system, students would have two semesters with seven classes each. The trimester system allows students to take 15 classes a year which is helpful when it comes to fitting sports into the regular school day, rather than leaving them as extracurriculars like other schools do. The trimester also comes along with shorter classes and more electives.

  “Teachers I don’t like, I only have them for a short period,” said freshman Devin Wilson.

The trimester systems also allow students to explore more electives and CTE pathways.

  “For people who want to focus on [CTE pathways, trimesters are] much better,” said junior Alex Durant.

  The semester system would fix many of these problems, at only the cost of one class per year. AP students wouldn’t have to worry about not getting GPA boosts for their third trimester, and teachers would have more time to teach their students. Seniors also wouldn’t have as much trouble entering their classes for college applications.

If you needed one more reason to make the switch, students would only need to take two finals!


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    MaureenJan 7, 2024 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks for the insightful, thoughtful piece. Having a senior who just went through the process (and had partial classes during covid, which was a semester) was a little tricky to enter the info into the applications, but nothing that a future college bound grad couldn’t handle.

    As a parent, one of the things I valued most about the trimester system is the availability of electives for students. Your job in high school (in my humble opinion) is to explore and find out who you are, what you’re good at, what gifts and talents you have and what you like to do. Electives are one of the most effective ways I can think of to do that. Seminars are helpful, but not necessary for passing the AP. My graduate had 75 college units upon graduation and was able to try many excellent electives at SLOHS that helped him learn about himself. I, on the other hand, went to a semester college prep school growing up and had art as an elective, which led to a circuitous path during college, changing majors twice. Maybe having a little more exposure during high school would have lead to a straight path. Just some food for thought. Life is more than just getting AP classes & academic success. I believe trimesters support that.