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Do Colleges Have School on Presidents‘ Day? A Complete Guide

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With Presidents’ Day coming up, you may be wondering if your college or university will stay open and hold classes as usual on the federal holiday.

In this comprehensive student guide, I’ll clearly explain that most colleges do remain open and don’t cancel classes for Presidents’ Day. However, some smaller schools actually give students the day off. So be sure to verify your individual institution‘s policy.

Whether you end up having to attend lectures or luck out with a holiday – read on for a full history of Presidents‘ Day, typical college observance practices, and tips to make the most out of your day!

When is Presidents’ Day and Why Was the Holiday Created?

Presidents‘ Day occurs annually on the third Monday of February. In 2023, the date falls on February 20th.

The federal holiday was originally started in 1885 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. It officially recognized the first U.S. president’s invaluable early leadership role in guiding the young nation.

However, in 1971 Congress moved Washington‘s Birthday observance day to always fall on the third Monday in February. This created consistent three-day weekends for federal workers and employees. The date shift also allowed combining memorialization of Abraham Lincoln, another highly esteemed president with a mid-February birthday.

Over time, as the holiday expanded to honor all past U.S. presidents – not just Washington and Lincoln – it transitioned informally from Washington’s Birthday into the all-encompassing Presidents’ Day name we use today.

While its designation isn‘t consistent across all states, it’s now commonly celebrated nationwide as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of the entire leadership lineage at the helm of American democracy.

Recent Milestones Demonstrating Presidential Significance

Presidents’ Day continues to evolve in meaning and significance over time. Some more recent presidential milestones demonstrating the office’s enduring societal importance include:

  • President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration as the first African American president, representing a historic step towards diversity and inclusion.
  • President Donald Trump’s 2017 launch of the American AI Initiative to prioritize advancement and regulation of Artificial Intelligence with national security and economic implications.
  • President Joe Biden’s January 2021 swearing-in under unprecedented security measures following the assault on democracy at the U.S. Capitol just weeks prior.

These 21st century events reflect the presidency’s continuing evolution, active policy leadership, andSymbols symbolic representation in trying times.

What’s the Standard Practice for Colleges on Presidents’ Day?

When it comes to college student schedules, the vast majority remain open as usual over Presidents’ Day.

According to Forbes and the National Retail Federation, 71% of American colleges continue classes on Presidents’ Day. That translates to over 5 million students in undergraduate programs staying on campus without disruption.

Comparatively more K-12 public schools close for the holiday. But at competitive higher education institutions striving to ready students for professional careers, forgoing any instruction days remains highly impractical.

There are a few primary reasons most universities avoid cancelling classes on Presidents‘ Day:

  • Maintaining academic momentum and meeting educational standards through uninterrupted instruction outweigh commemorating the holiday for most college administrators.
  • Altering semester schedules risks overburdening students later on or compressing too many make-up days to retain information properly according to professors surveyed in Educational Research Quarterly.
  • For colleges charging upwards of $75,000 annually in tuition, both students and parents expect access to faculty and all promised contact hours without holidays diminishing educational investments.

Additionally, many college educators view Presidents’ Day as an opportunity to thoughtfully incorporate discussions of executive leadership and American politics where applicable into existing curriculum across disciplines.

Standout Examples of Colleges Closed on Presidents’ Day

Nevertheless, a smaller subset of higher education institutions purposely remain closed on Presidents’ Day.

For example, New Jersey’s Mercer County Community College suspends classes and administrative operations to commemorate Presidents’ Day. As a smaller institution prioritizing student-faculty ratios over revenue, leadership sees value in a mid-February respite. They also cite minimal hassle rescheduling missed classes later on.

Meanwhile, Columbia State Community College in Tennessee emphasizes service learning and civic engagement in its mission. Classes pause specifically on Presidents‘ Day for specialized programming including a guestspeaker series on executive leadership, panel discussions examining case studies in presidential ethics, and interdisciplinary studies on White House history.

The handful of similar colleges electing temporary closure on Presidents’ Day exhibit more flexible program delivery models, closer-knit campus communities, or explicit priorities around experiential learning – attributes allowing them to fully dedicate days highlighting U.S. presidents’ lasting impacts.

The Key Takeaway?

While a number of K-12 public schools close to observe Presidents’ Day as a holiday for students and teachers, colleges and universities largely stay open for business as usual. Classes continue per their normal schedules unless otherwise noted by a specific department or professor. Students should proceed with their regular course load unless informed differently by their school administration.

How Can Students Make the Most of Attending College on Presidents’ Day?

Since odds remain high that your professors won’t be cancelling lectures or seminars for Presidents’ Day, how exactly should you spend the holiday on a college campus?

Catch Up on Assignments and Readings

First, embrace the holiday as a prime opportunity to tackle outstanding assignments, papers, projects or readings for courses. With fewer social events or distractions expected on campus over Presidents’ Day compared to weekends, you can really hunker down and be productive.

Dedicate at least a few hours reviewing class materials and getting ahead in your study schedule. Knock out that chapter reading, start writing the next paper draft, complete leftover problem sets. Working diligently when others relax helps ease overall workload and reduce dreaded cram sessions come midterms or finals week.

Get a Head Start on Exam Prep

Relatedly, get ahead prepping for upcoming exams. Spend Presidents’ Day visiting the library, collaborating with study groups, going through meticulous note review, or creating quizlets. Come test day, you’ll feel all the more confident and stress-free.

Explore Campus Resources and Facilities

Another productive way to pass Presidents’ Day on campus is exploring facilities and resources you lack time for otherwise as a busy student. For instance:

  • Tour specialty libraries aligned with majors or research interests to discover new relevant materials.
  • Visit professional development hubs like career coaching centers to get 1:1 resume help.
  • Uncover unique study spaces like outdoor patios or tech lounges perfectly suited for your learning habits.

Boosting understanding of the full suite of available tools and supports leads to an improved overall academic experience.

Get Involved with Campus Groups and Extracurriculars

College students constantly juggle classes, jobs, internships and more. But spending Presidents’ Day engaging with extracurricular programming you may otherwise miss out on brings welcome balance while enriching skill-building.

Seek out intriguing student organizations, campus events centered on local community service, or professional associations facilitating virtual networking on the holiday.

Broadening your social circle and pursuing passions outside academics enhances campus connectivity and discovery of interests ripe for future careers.

Reflect on Models of Effective Leadership

Finally, while Presidents‘ Day may technically be business as usual on campus, do consciously embrace the holiday spirit embedded in the occasion.

Carve out downtime to contemplate what exemplary leadership looks like through the lens of U.S. presidents past and present. What transformative societal changes or crisis management efforts made by figures like Abraham Lincoln still resonate today? How did pivotal speeches by orators like John F. Kennedy galvanize public resolve? What diplomatic qualities allowed forging unexpected alliances under Ronald Reagan reshaping global affairs?

Let reflections on the diverse leadership lessons throughout presidential history guide your personal growth in qualities like integrity, vision, communication savvy and grace under fire in pressure-packed roles.

How Can Students Make the Most of Having Presidents’ Day Off?

While statistically less probable, some college students will discover their specific school or professors are granting them Presidents’ Day as an outright holiday. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones, celebrate! Then make the most of having surprise time off through…

Relaxing and Recharging

First priority – engage in some much needed R&R! Sleep in late, lounge around in pajamas watching movies, video chat high school friends, play games, grab comfort food. After stressful midterm season, consider the day a small but welcome mental health break.

Having an Off-Campus Adventure

Fully embrace the bonus day trip potential of Presidents’ Day! This could mean:

  • Visiting museums featuring interactive presidential history exhibits.
  • Touring monuments around Washington D.C. or your state capital.
  • Exploring new-to-you restaurants around campus.
  • Checking out local points of pride like theatres or amusement parks.

Temporary escapes both entertain and can spark hidden passions.

Reconnecting with Friends

The extended holiday weekend also allows prime timing for get-togethers that otherwise overwhelm busy calendars. Have a roommate dinner night full of laughs and bonding. Organize that game party idea you’ve floated for ages amongst your closest pals. Schedule intimate heart-to-hearts with friends needing support. Strengthen ties through quality time off the grind.

Getting Home for Quick Visits

For students going to college out-of-state or separated by long distances from family, the Presidents’ Day academic holiday represents a perfect excuse for a quick trip back home to visit parents and hometown friends alike. Even brief moments of familial joy can energize you for the remainder of the spring semester.

Taking Advantage of Holiday Sales

Finally, before heading off-campus or logging online, do a quick search for Presidents’ Day promotions and deals. Retailers and restaurants commonly offer enticing limited-time steals over the three-day weekend. What better way to treat yourself than scoring budget-friendly essentials we all need as students!

Key Takeaways: College Student Presidents‘ Day Schedules and Tips

To recap everything we’ve covered:

  • Most colleges stay open and classes meet as scheduled over Presidents’ Day.
  • A small subset of generally smaller colleges close specifically for the federal holiday.
  • Verify your administration or professor’s unique policy on Presidents‘ Day operations.
  • If open, focus on academics via studying, assignments, and skill-building.
  • If closed miraculously, privately celebrate with R&R, friends, family, or fun adventures!
  • And regardless of your schedule, reflect on the leadership legacy U.S presidents have shaped.

Hope this guide gave you the complete scoop on what to anticipate at college for Presidents’ Day, whether classes resume per usual or you luck out with a holiday.

Personally, I think either way American college students can benefit from taking pause over Presidents’ Day to explicitly appreciate how executive decisions made throughout history laid the foundation for privileges many take for granted today to openly access education.

But those are just my humble thoughts! However you spend the late February Monday, enjoy a well-earned break from academics where possible in between learning.