By Bryan Gallion
As the end of the semester nears, students across the country have two major events occupying their thoughts: final exams and winter break. Each of the 14 schools in the Big Ten conference possess different athletic abilities and academic calendars, and the University of Maryland takes the title for longest Big Ten winter break.
Maryland didn’t have a fall break, but classes won’t be held on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, or the following Friday.
Maryland’s short Thanksgiving vacation and lack of a fall break is compensated by a lengthy winter recess.
Dec. 20 is the first final-free day following Maryland’s fall semester, and the spring semester doesn’t start until Jan. 25, 2016. The university has a 36-day winter break, unless students and professors are involved in the 2016 Winter Term from Jan. 4-22.
Calculating the total days off for Big Ten schools, using the weekdays of the fall semester and the entirety of winter break, Maryland comes out on top with giving students a total of 39 days off, and the University of Michigan receives the least amount of vacation time with a total of 17 days. The average number of days off for the Big Ten schools is around 30.
All schools observed Labor Day with a day off from classes except for Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. Classes commenced after the holiday at these universities. Fall, Thanksgiving and winter breaks, however, vary from school to school.
The University of Illinois and the University of Iowa tie for the second longest Big Ten break: 31 days. Both also have a full-week break from classes for Thanksgiving.
Rutgers University is next in line with a 27-day winter break. The university also has two days off from classes for Thanksgiving.
Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin allow students and professors to enjoy 26 days away for their winter breaks. The two universities also have two class-free days for Thanksgiving recess.
The University of Nebraska only has three days off for Thanksgiving, but also has a 25-day-long winter break. They also have a two-day fall break at the end of October.
The Ohio State University’s winter break is 24 days long. Classes were cancelled on the school’s Columbus, Oh campus several times this semester: once for Veterans Day, twice in early October for Autumn Break and three times for Thanksgiving.
An equal 23-day winter break is built into Indiana University, Michigan State University and the Pennsylvania State University’s academic calendars. Michigan State has two class days off for Thanksgiving, while Indiana and Penn State both have a Thanksgiving break spanning a full school week. Indiana also had one day off from classes in early October as a part of its fall break.
While most Big Ten schools operate on a semester schedule, Northwestern has quarters and Michigan follows a trimester plan. Northwestern has a 22-day intermission between its fall and winter quarters. Its Thanksgiving break commences at 6 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving and carries on until the following Friday. Michigan has a 13-day winter vacation after having two days off at the end of October. Its Thanksgiving break starts at 5 p.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and continues through Friday, Nov. 27.
Operating on a semester plan, Purdue University has a 22-day winter break, while also having a two-school day fall break and three days away from the classroom for Thanksgiving.