Communications will accept incoming freshmen

By Meghan O'Kelly

Samira Khazaeli, sophomore in LAS, is waiting to hear if she has been accepted to the College of Communications.

“Right now, I’m not sure if I’m in it, and that makes it harder to get into classes,” Khazaeli said.

Although sophomores and juniors will still be allowed to apply to the college, the class of 2012 will be the first class of freshmen admitted straight from high school.

“They can work their schedule around instead of taking all of their (General Education Requirements) at once,” she said.

Eric Meyer, the college’s associate dean for academic and administrative affairs, said there are other benefits to starting freshmen in the college.

“Let’s face it. We have classes that are hard, and it’s not good to be in three or four of them at the same time,” Meyer said.

The college requested 150 spots for freshmen from the Office of the Provost this year, Meyer said, with plans for 300 spots in the future. He said the college did not make a large marketing effort to incoming freshmen this year because administrators did not know what kind of response to expect.

“We don’t know whether they know they can apply,” Meyer said. “But it would be really bad to get 3,000 applications because we’re only accepting 150 applicants.”

The freshmen can apply to all majors in the college as well as communications general curriculum.

Students who will have completed at least 30 hours and two semesters on campus in the semester they are applying will still be able to apply, as has been permitted in the past. Currently, the college is home to approximately 820 undergraduate students. Eventually, capacity will grow to 1,100 undergraduate and graduate students.

“We are not hurting for students,” Meyer said. “Most of what we worry about is how to say ‘no’ to well-qualified students who want in.”

Myrna Villarreal, senior in Communications, said entering the college as freshmen will give the class of 2012 many advantages.

“I would have had more opportunities to explore classes and see if this is what I really want to do,” she said. “They have more of an opportunity to get involved at an earlier time.”

Along with earlier involvement in organizations, Meyer said students coming in to the college as freshmen will have coursework that will help them earn internships.

“It gives them a leg up on students from other universities,” he said.

Meyer said admitting more students to the college will likely increase its budget, based on the way the University appropriates money. However, the method will soon be changing.

“It does have a positive impact, but not immediately,” he said.

The college will also begin offering a one-hour course to acquaint freshmen with the University and plans to add an introductory course for all freshmen in Communications. Villarreal is optimistic about the prospects for the new class.

“It is a good thing,” she said. “I wish I could have done it.”