A 4-1-4 or 4-4-1 academic calendar incorporates two terms that last approximately 14 weeks, with the addition of a smaller one month term that falls either in January or May. For example, some colleges follow a modified 4-1-4 academic calendar, with two 13-week semesters, one week of exams in each semester and a four-week semester in May.
Some disadvantages to using a 4-1-4 academic calendar include shorter holiday breaks for Thanksgiving and spring at some colleges; however, the short spring semester allows for an earlier start to summer vacation in most cases. Other colleges that follow a 4-1-4 calendar include Elon University and St. Olaf College. The 4-1-4 academic calendar at St. Olaf College also includes two optional summer sessions, which allows students to obtain five additional credits during the course of one school year.
Other common academic calendars include a semester, trimester, quarter, a 4-4-1 and a continuous. Semester schools incorporate two terms lasting 4-20 weeks, and trimester schools incorporate three terms that last approximately 10 to 12 weeks, not including summer. Quarter schools have four terms that last approximately 9 to11 weeks with the inclusion of summer, and continuous schools have no significant breaks in their school year and run continuously. 4-4-1 is very similar to 4-1-4.