Trinity College Plans to Pilot January Entry Program for First-Year Students

‘Different Timeline into Trinity’ to Welcome About 10 Students in 2018

​Hartford, Connecticut, February 15, 2017 – Trinity College will soon offer an alternate entry point for first-year students, joining a growing number of colleges and universities that enroll students in the spring semester as well as the fall.

The January program will offer a personalized, focused course of study that includes academic advising, career advising, and an immersive learning experience in Hartford. A specialized orientation experience and January term course will lead into a first-year seminar offered for the cohort in the spring. As part of their orientation, students will create E-portfolios, which serve as curated digital collections of their academic work throughout their time at Trinity.

While this program is not designed primarily as an accelerated program, students who begin in January may choose to complete their degrees in three and a half years through a combination of AP and transfer credits and credits earned through additional courses during the semesters, in the summer, or during the January Term. Financial aid is available for the students enrolling in January.

Students admitted as part of this new January cohort pilot program must meet the same enrollment standards as students admitted in the fall semester. “This offers a different timeline into Trinity; it’s not a different standard,” said Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success Angel B. Pérez. “In these applicants, we are looking for the same academic quality and the same kind of characteristics that we look for in our September cohort.” Students starting in January will study the same curriculum and meet the same requirements for graduation. “This is a pilot program for 2018, so we are starting very small, with about 10 students,” Pérez said. “The idea would be to grow the cohort to about 50 students coming in every year.”

The new pathway to Trinity aims to attract students who are interested in taking a gap semester after high school instead of an entire gap year. “This could be the kind of student who thinks a little bit differently about their academic experience, and is not afraid of going a little off the beaten track. These students could enhance the classroom experience at Trinity for everybody. Faculty tend to note that gap year students come to Trinity with a different perspective and more real-world experience,” Pérez said. “Another group we might attract here are the students who change their minds over the summer [about heading to college in the fall] and end up looking for different experiences.”

The idea for a January entry took root in the College’s Bicentennial Strategic Planning Commission over the last several months. Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Mathematics Melanie Stein, who is leading the planning effort for the program, said, “This is a way for Trinity to generate revenue by enrolling more high-quality, engaged students. This opens a new market to us. We have already encountered students who want this kind of option, so we are responding.” Stein said that these are students who know what they want, which they have shown by taking the time to do something independent and self-directed. “We think that could make great Trinity students,” she added.

While the admissions process will be the same as for all other students, the cohort of January students will benefit from orientation and advising experiences that are specialized for this small, close-knit group, well-supported by faculty and staff. “The extended orientation program is two weeks during the January Term, and it includes a half-credit course,” Stein said. “It’s a new model for orientation that will fully introduce the students to Trinity and get them rooted.”

In addition, the students will be introduced to Hartford during their orientation and will have a Career Development Center adviser to help them pursue the option of an immersive work experience in Hartford during their first year at Trinity. The January students will enroll in a first-year seminar in their first semester, and they will live near each other and be part of a nest in the Bantam Network.

Recruitment efforts for the first group of January students will begin this spring, as admission counselors visit schools and talk to high school counselors across the country and all over the world. Deadlines and admissions information for the new program will be released in the spring. For more information about admissions at Trinity College, please visit