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

The January program, known as J-Start, 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 will 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 3½ years through a combination of AP and transfer credits as well as credits earned through additional courses. Financial aid will be available for the students enrolling in January.

Students admitted as part of this program must meet the same enrollment standards as students admitted in the fall. “This offers a different timeline into Trinity; it’s not a different standard,” said Vice President for Enrollment and Student Success Angel B. Pérez. Students starting in January also 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 idea for a January entry took root in the College’s Bicentennial Strategic Planning Commission. 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.”