3+1: A future investment done right

Accelerated programs help students work hard for the future and enjoy the present

Michael Sicoli, Staff Writer

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About six years of work finished in four years’ time.

The 3+1 program here at Quinnipiac University is an accelerated curriculum that allows students to graduate with a bachelor’s degree as a third-year student and receive their master’s degree in the fourth year. It is a demanding program that is not offered at nearby institutions and rewards those willing to shoulder the workload.

It asks a lot but, man, it pays off.

Photo contributed by qu.edu
The 3+1 program is an opportunity that most colleges do not offer.

When asked about specific requirements, Dr. Terry Bloom, associate dean and director of the 3+1 communications program, responded, “If (the student) has a 1200 or higher on the SAT or a 25 or higher on the ACT and they’re in the top 20% of their graduating class.”

This program draws the more academically gifted to the school. The goal of any college is to attract just that — the best and the brightest. This is not exclusive to just test scores. Extracurriculars like being a part of a sports team, leading a club and showing leadership skills matter a lot. Participating in a club or sport program is one thing but going out of one’s way to step up shows that the student is able to handle the extra work and go the extra mile. Leadership shows diligence. When it comes to handling an extra class every semester, this is a desirable trait.

3+1 draws smart students with strong leadership skills. How great is that?

It is also a very tough program to get into, depending on your major. Only 54 3+1 communications and 109 3+1 business students are in this year’s freshman class. Bloom says that the communications program is looking to stay within the 50 to 60 student range for future years, maintaining that exclusivity.

This does differ from the School of Business. According to  the Dean of the School of Business Michael Taylor, who is in charge of the 3+1 Business program, there is a different mindset.

“We don’t artificially limit it,” Taylor said. “There is no cap. So, if we invited enough students and they all come here, we could have a 3+1 class of however many decide to come.”

This program is new and innovative, so much so that according to both Bloom and Taylor, the program is not offered by any nearby colleges. There are 4+1 programs offered at other regional universities but not 3+1. Saving money with a fixed tuition rate while not paying for extra years at a graduate school is such a good opportunity to have at a university. I know for a fact that without this program I may not have made the best decision of my life to come here for school.

This is a unique feature that many colleges do not offer. Regionally, there is no similar program around.

Now, it is important to note the rigor that the program offers. As a 3+1 journalism student myself, I can certainly attest to this. To stay on track, I am taking 19 credits both this fall and next spring. That’s an extra class every semester. The program challenges students that are able to succeed under a more difficult workload.

I also have to take summer courses every year and potentially January courses, otherwise known as J-Term. J-Term pushes a semester-long class into one and a half weeks. An online experience during a student’s longest break since summer.

It’s a lovely experience.

Currently the program is invite-only. Bloom does not see that changing anytime soon.

“I think it makes sense for it to be invitation-only for a couple of reasons,” Bloom said. “One, because it is accelerated, you have to start it from the jump. You have to start it when you enter Quinnipiac. And any other model doesn’t make a lot of sense so the idea that you could apply into it after you arrive doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The other thing is that it’s enough rigor and enough time management and enough degree of difficulty to get through the program with 19 credits a semester. You have to go in summers, you sometimes need to take J-Term in some of the programs.”

Given the strenuous schedule, it is important to note how the acceptance process works. Certain students are selected to the program among the people who are accepted to the university. These students, should they choose to attend, must decide as early as possible around the time of their commitment to Quinnipiac if they want to be a part of the program.

The reason Quinnipiac wants students to choose to be in the program so early is because it gives the school a chance to organize the schedule and economic plan for the student. Not only are there certain classes that need to be organized but the 3+1 features a fixed tuition payment as well as paid for J-Term and summer courses.

Students in 3+1 are also granted priority access to programs like QU in L.A., as long as they land an internship like everyone else. This is a terrific opportunity. While non-3+1 students are able to participate in this building program as well, having priority access eases the stress of travelling to study.

Finally, it offers the Living Learning Community (LLC). These groups all of the students in the program together in a dorm. For example, all of my roommates are also 3+1 Communication majors that have majors ranging from media studies to journalism.

This has been my favorite part of college.

The people I have met in the LLC are some of the best I have ever known. I’ve made friendships I know will last a lifetime. Not only are these people great but they also understand your course load. They can study with you and be understanding if you need time alone to work.

I cannot emphasize enough how much of a right decision this was for me. The 3+1 program is an excellent use of an exclusive process that chooses the people who are right for it.