By Hannah Feakes and Thamar Bailey
This coming fall a select group of incoming freshmen will be the first to enter the School of Communications 3+1 program.
The program will allow students in the School of Communications to graduate in four years with both a bachelors and masters degree. Students within the program will complete their undergraduate study in three years and fulfill their master’s degree in the fourth year with Terry Bloom, associate dean of the School of Communications, as their advisor.
“I am going to be the advisor for the new [3+1 communications] students coming in so that they have a dedicated advisor up and running when they come in,” Bloom said. “Students will also meet with people in their specific majors, but in terms of the setup, I am going to be there initially.”
This program is strictly for incoming freshman students because of the time constraints.
“If you switch into the program your sophomore year, you need to be done a year later, the timeline is very tight with it. You need to know what you are doing when you start,” Bloom said.
Tim O’Sullivan, the assistant director of admissions and head of applicant recruitment, said Admissions determines which students will be a good fit for the “fast track” program by their academic performance.
“We look for students applying in to the School of Communications who fall in the top 20% of their graduating class and scored a 1200, not including the writing section, on the SAT’s or higher,” he said. “Or an equivalent ACT score of a 27 or higher.”
Admissions invited approximately 250 students to be part of the inaugural class.
“I think it is an extremely beneficial program being that it offers such great value to incoming students and their families,” O’Sullivan said. “You are virtually getting two degrees for the price of one while saving a student’s time in addition to their money with the fixed tuition rate for all four years. If you think about it, it’s really two less years in college and two more years in the work force.”
The Communications 3+1 program will be more than an academic group, but also a community.
Currently, students enrolled in the Communications 3+1 program will be given the option to live in the Communication 3+1 community within the Dana residence hall, according to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Cindy Long Porter.
Though students will only be placed in the community their freshmen year, several do tend to stay together, Porter said.
Though the School of Communication 3+1 community sounds appealing, some students disagree.
Junior Resident Assistant in the LiveWell community Erika Daigle, a nursing major at Quinnipiac, said she thinks these kinds of residential communities aren’t the best idea for everyone.
“I think the 3 + 1 program can be beneficial for the right type of people,” Daigle said. “I think that sometimes a major all living together sometimes isn’t the best idea, but I think for freshmen it can be helpful because they get to know people better in their same major and it helps them build relationships and provide support for each other.”
The 3+1 program has many benefits including a fixed tuition for all four years, four years of guaranteed housing, guaranteed placement in the QU in LA program, and special programming provided by the School of Communications.
Although there are many advantages to joining the program, Bloom emphasizes that it is not for every student.
“I think you have to be a special type of student,” she said. “One of the goals of this program is to attract some of the higher tiered students, to give them some incentive. For the students who can handle the workload and the time commitment and management. It is a different way to approach the job market for sure.”
Freshman journalism major, Lauren McGrath agrees. McGrath said she believes a student entering this program has to be well equipped in order to withstand the workload associated with the intensive course study.
“I think the idea of graduating with a master’s and a bachelor’s in your field, in only four years and with your class is amazing in theory,” McGrath said. “But I don’t understand how the incoming freshmen, who barely know college work in general, are going to do with this extensive college work, which is so much more than the average college student can take.”
Communications graduate student Tom Albanese said he believes the 3+1 program is essential in that it allows students to achieve a master’s degree faster, a degree that gives students an edge in the job market.
“I think it’s really cool what they’re doing now with three years plus the one for the master program because I mean you get your four years of education and it helps in the end,”Albanese said. “ Personally, I thought I needed the additional grad year just because I wanted to sharpen my skills and, to tell you the truth, this grad year really helped open my eyes.”
The School of Communications is the second 3+1 program to start at Quinnipiac, after the School of Business.
“[The program] has been really successful for the business school, they’ve had a really tremendous response to it, and tremendous retention, their students are doing well, having great experiences, and so watching that model flourish, made us want to try it in the school of communications,” said Bloom.
Existing communication students believe that this new program will expand the school and help build the prestige and reputation that School of Communications has built for itself thus far.
“I’m passionate about what I do and I think the school being up there in terms of a school that not only has a top program in communications, but top programs in business and now the medical school as well to add into that,” Albanese said. “Quinnipiac has done an amazing job in terms of what they’ve been able to do in the five years I’ve been here… In terms of communications I think the program is definitely on the rise, the professors are amazing.”
When students apply to the university, if they are eligible based on certain criteria, once they are admitted to the university, there is a separate invitation into the 3+1 program. Those who are eligible are invited to pursue it.
“So far, we are really pleased with the response it has been getting,” Bloom said. “We had a special session during the admitted students days about the program and invited the families of students who qualified for it and we probably met with around 65 families. I’ve had a lot of email traffic and a lot of really good questions, which help us think about the nuances to it.”
Students who are in the program must adhere to the university requirements and have the opportunity to either minor in the school of communications or in any other school.
“We are super excited for launching this! I think the kinds of things it is going to do not only for the students, but for the kinds of thing we can do for the school. The kind of work that these really great recruits are going to bring to the school is exciting,” Bloom said.
Correction: This article was updated on April 27 at 12:00pm to fix the name of Erika Daigle and to include her position as a Resident Assistant in the LiveWell community.
This article was updated on April 29 at 4:30 p.m. to correct information given from Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Cindy Long Porter about the Communications 3+1 living community. The original article said students in the Communications 3+1 program would be placed in the LiveWell community. Students who are accepted into the 3+1 Communications program will be placed in a new 3+1 Communications living community in Dana residence hall.