One of the first innovations introduced by Riemer was a semester system to replace the three-term system of the Seminary and Normal School periods. Prior to the calendar change, statistics reported were the total for the three terms of the academic year. This seemed advisable because the opening fall enrollment figures usually reported would present an inaccurate picture of the normal school period. When the common schools closed for the year in early spring all the normal schools were swamped by the influx of teachers seeking additional training.
When the change to the semester system was made, this factor ceased to operate. There was no great discrepancy in enrollment figures for the two semesters. All such data hereafter cited will be the figures reported to the United States Office of Education for opening fall enrollment.