BYU-Idaho announced a change from “off-track” semesters to “flex” semesters on March 25 through a statement released by Brett Crandall, the media relations and campus communication manager.

BYU-I will continue with the three-track system, but there will be a difference. From now on, the three semesters will be:

  • spring and fall track with winter flex semester
  • fall and winter track with spring flex semester
  • winter and spring track with fall flex semester

The idea came as Aaron Sanns, the institutional planning managing director with the Strategic Enrollment Management Council, brainstormed how to help BYU-I students be more engaged year-round.

“BYU-I is constantly thinking about how to improve the experience of the students,” Sanns said.

Flex semesters give students increased flexibility in their academic careers. The system of off-track semesters encouraged students to become disengaged until their on track semesters. It is hoped that this new system will change that.

“If students have a campus job that’s related to their major or their future career, maybe they can stay and work full-time during what was called ‘off-track,’” Sanns said. “Or maybe they should take some classes on campus or online. Or maybe they should do some research, or maybe you should do your internship.”

The idea behind flex semesters is to change students’ mindsets and help them become more engaged, leading to faster graduation and an improved experience.

“We want our students to finish in fewer semesters and in fewer years — in four years instead of five or six,” Sanns said in the statement release.

While some believe that students are encouraged to graduate faster to make room for new students, this is not the case. BYU-I wants students to graduate and get into the business and career world faster.

Students are encouraged to visit a faculty member from their major or meet with the Academic Advising Office to see what the best options are for them.