Intersession is a short break or mini-term between the traditional, standard academic terms. An intersession may be a period of a few weeks between semesters or quarters during which students can take short, accelerated classes or complete other academic work.
At Princeton University and Harvard University, the intersession is the week-long break for students following their first semester exams. Because exams are conducted after the holiday break in the month of January, Intersession provides a respite before beginning the second semester's studies.
At Johns Hopkins University, Intersession is a three-week period where students can research, do internships, take short courses on odd topics, or pursue any other activities. It occurs immediately following the Winter Break (before which exams take place), and it is not mandatory; students can elect to merely take a longer break, as it is not necessary to take Intersession classes to fulfil credit requirements for graduation.