Last Updated on August 3, 2022 by David Shaw
Holidays are what college students very much look forward to, whether you’re counting down the days till the next holiday, planning your college vacation ahead, or working on some things with a list of holidays and dates in the academic year in front of you can be handy. Some might ask, how many days are there in an academic year in college?
The total number of holidays in college is estimated at roughly 140 days yearly excluding Saturdays and Sundays across all universities in the US. This includes summer, winter, spring breaks, and all major national holidays celebrated in the US today.
In this article, let’s look at all the holidays and academic breaks in a college year as well as tips to maximize them to stay productive.
Total Number of School Days in College at a Glance
Intuitively, it feels like we spend a large portion of the year attending classes in college, but it probably isn’t as much as we think if we break down the days and numbers.
Now that we know the total number of holidays in college is around 140 days, let’s further look at how many days are spent in college each year.
With 52 weeks in a year, we can also say Saturdays and Sundays make up a total of 104 days in a year.
|Number of school days with filters||Number of days of lecture|
|school days excluding Holidays||365 – 140 = ~225 days (7.5 months)|
|school days excluding Holidays + Sundays||365 – 140 – 52 = ~173 days (6 months)|
|school days excluding Holidays + weekends||365 – 140 – 104 = ~121 days (3 months)|
Although 121 days is not an accurate metric to depict the amount of effort you have to put in college per year, it can serve as a different angle you can to look at college when things get tough. Especially if you’re struggling with certain classes, know that these days are only short and temporary.
If you want to know how long all the college seasonal breaks are, check out our other article on Summer, Winter & Spring Breaks in US Colleges: How Long Are They? where we list them all out in detail.
List of All National Holidays and Breaks in US Universities
Other than a semester or quarter break that is decided by the university board, there are normally 10 national holidays that are celebrated nationwide where university faculty and students will take a day off like everyone else.
Here is a list of national holidays and college breaks that are commonly observed and celebrated across all universities in the US.
|Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday||3rd Monday of January||Also known as MLK Day|
|Presidents’ Holiday||3rd Monday of February||Also known as George Washington’s Birthday|
|Spring Break||Late March or early April||Up to 2 weeks, mostly 1 week|
|Memorial Day||Last Monday of May||Honoring fallen soldiers who fought for the country|
|Independence Day||4th July||Also widely known as the “fourth of July”|
|Summer Break||Mid-June to mid-August||Around 100 days (3 months)|
|Labor Day||1st Monday of September||Honoring every individual person working|
|Indigenous Peoples’ Day||2nd Monday of October||Also known as Columbus Day|
|Veterans Day||November 11||Honoring retired veterans|
|Thanksgiving Holiday||4th Thursday of November||Usually 2 days of holiday, Thursday and following Friday|
|Winter Break||Mid-December to early January||Includes New Year, Christmas holiday|
|Christmas, New Year||25th & 31st December||Includes Christmas and New Year’s Eve|
Some universities additionally celebrate other unique holidays
Though there are also some other universities that celebrate a few additional holidays which may only be celebrated within specific states across the US or exclusively by certain universities only. For example, some other holidays like Juneteenth, César Chávez Day, and Patriots’ Day are celebrated by some universities in certain states in the US only.
What Are Floating Holidays?
In the college academic calender’s context, a floating holiday is a public holiday that does not specifically fall on the same date each year. So Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Labor Day in the US are considered floating holidays.
During these holidays, colleges usually can decide the working hours, where individual departments will decide whether or not to conduct services based on operational needs.
Maximizing Your Holidays in the Academic Year
Given that college holidays in the US account for nearly half the days in a year, there are definitely some ways you can do to make each day more productive and impactful to our success.
Attend a Summer Class
Signing up for one or two Summer classes can be a good addition to a productive Summer. Not only will you learn more classes at a quick pace, but also potentially graduate earlier.
If you’re wondering about whether should you take Summer classes, check out our article on 7 Benetis
Take a Free Online Course Taught by Top Universities
If you’re stuck at home or in your campus dormitory in the Summer and have a lot of free time to spare, why not use the time to take some free online classes? EdX has a ton of free lectures from top universities like MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, and many more which you can graduate for free and optionally pay for digital certificates if you wish to.
If you’ve got a couple of bucks to spare and want more specialized online classes with accreditation or digital certificates, try some courses on Udemy and Coursera which you can easily find for under $15!
They are fully asynchronous, meaning you can learn and work through the course and assignments at your own pace, without worrying about the grades.
Take a Vacation to Learn a New Culture
We often learn a great deal about the world and ourselves when we take some time off to live in another country learning a completely different culture. Maybe it’s been something you’ve been wanting to cross off your bucket list.
In the upcoming Summer or Winter break, you could give yourself a chance at discovering a whole new country or city, where you can also learn more about yourself. Opportunities like this could be hard to come back after graduating, so make sure you plan your holidays during your undergrad years wisely!