Fred Norris wrote:
How does the quarter system make SLS different than other schools? Also, how is it a quarter system if you have three divions: fall, winter, summer?
Also, for electives how many units is a single class generally ?
Going off this:http://www.law.stanford.edu/courses/1st-year-program
There is just so much for me to investigate and so little time. What's the best way to learn how my first year curriculum will differ from other schools? My 3 year curriculum?
It's a quarter system because we have three sessions of classes and exams (fall, winter, spring) and a summer "quarter."
So I'll try and sum up what I see as the pros and cons of the quarter system as I see them (though I don't think I've been in it long enough to fully grasp all of either) and I'll try and compare with what I know of other schools.
At SLS, you have to average 12 hours per quarter by the time you graduate. I don't think that average includes the initial fall of 1L which is 18 hours but over an entire semester's length. This initial "quarter" is arguably the most intense 1L Fall because it's a semester's length with 4 doctrinal classes plus LRW. It's hard but it's hard for everyone and that's the beauty of the grading system. Then, once your 1L Fall is over, the world is your oyster.
In the Winter, you have to take two doctrinal classes and Fed Lit (like LRW but with oral argument), which totals to 9 hours, plus one elective of your choosing. There are relatively few electives that are closed to 1Ls, so you really can sort of go with what you want. As far as how many hours the electives are - you can choose to not take one at all your 1L winter and just take 9 hours! You just have to make it up over another quarter or two to average 12. The most you can take is a 4 credit class - which will almost always be Evidence if you're a 1L taking a 4 hour elective.* Many, if not most, people take some sort of two hour seminar or non-lecture class that doesn't have a final exam so they only have to take two exams during winter exam time (right before spring break).
Then in your spring quarter,it's all up to you (except 2 more hours of Fed Lit). Most people take 3 courses - a lecture or two and or a seminar or two. Smaller seminars work on a lottery system, so you may not get your top choice, but thrre are so many options it's hard to go wrong really. Then exams are the first week of June and summer work starts. This is probably the worst part about the quarter system is you start summer jobs a bit later, but Stanford does a great job of getting employers on board with hiring us even though we can't start til later and it's not really an issue at all.
Then 2L and 3L year, rinse and repeat, except add in the ability to take clinics and do an externship. Everyone can do up to 2 clinics and 1 extrrnship, so you could possibly have 3 quarters of practical experience before graduating. Stanford also has the best clinical program in the country (obviously not a /fact/ but basically one) and by having the quarter system, all you do for the entire quarter is clinic, so you can fully engage and focus on only clinic. Clinics are also easier to get into because of small class sizes.
Add this all up and you end up taking 36 hours per year, which I think (though am not totally sure) is about 6 more hours (2 extra classes) than most schools average. So by graduation, you will be able to take about 6 more classes than at other schools. Another bonus is getting to take more classes with the same professors - by the end of this year, I'll have taken 2 classes with 2 separate professors. Wonderful for relationship building (which is also easier here at a small school).
In essence, the quarter system means opportunities. To choose your own classes, get to know professors, try things you wouldn't have, and get more practical experience. Exams more often sucks, but changes up the monotony a bit.
Any more questions - feel free to reply or PM.
* if you have interest in criminal work, stanford is one of the only schools that lets you take evidence as a 1L. If you stay in Cali your 1L summer, you can get certified as a 1L and argue motions in court. That's something you couldn't get from almost any other school in this tier as far as I know.
/typed in my phone/