The program was inaugurated in 1972, primarily to save students a year's worth of time and tuition on their road to a bachelor's degree. A number of other reasons for choosing the program have emerged over the years as a result of the flexibility allowed by adding the choices of a college curriculum to a high school schedule.
Many former 3-1-3 students have found the year to be a valuable stepping stone to the more total independence of college away from home as well as making it possible for them to qualify for very competitive programs, fit in a second major or discover an entirely new interest. At the same time, the program has continued to save many students and their parents a year's tuition and room and board at more expensive schools.
So, 3-1-3 students learn personal academic responsibility through taking on requirements demanding enough to be meaningful in a situation supportive enough to facilitate success. High school seniors are very capable of succeeding as college freshmen, as over two decades of 3-1-3 students have shown. And, because they do succeed in college classes and meet the demands of college learning, they graduate from high school already knowing how to do well as full-time college students.
For example, they know better: how to use a college syllabus to plan their time; how to rely on themselves and peers to study; how to make appointments to meet with faculty during office hours, how to write research papers without step by step guidance, how to take lecture notes and use a college text; how to take a variety of kinds of tests; how to discipline themselves to get to classes where no attendance is taken, how to plan for three major exams in one week, how to juggle the requirements of high school courses, college courses, high school athletics and sometimes even a part-time lob; and how to meet deadlines without reminders, among many other skills.
There are, of course, some necessary ingredients which make this 3-1-3 year work. It is essential that students have access to two sets of counselors: the college advisers and the high school guidance department.
There must always be a close connection between the high schools and the college to ensure that information is easily shared and goals are mutually compatible. The initial scheduling of college courses needs to be done in the high schools, as it is now, to ensure compatibility with high school schedules. The efforts which have been made by high school guidance counselors over the years have been invaluable to the program's continued success.
Enrolled 3-1-3 students need easily available help both to ease anxiety and to develop successful learning, which is why having the program as part of the Learning Center is so logical. There must also be a careful selection of participants by an admissions officer who knows the program well and the director and advisers of the program need to be knowledgeable of and sympathetic to the concerns of area high schools. And, as has always been true, a constant effort must continue to be made by all involved to understand one another's goals, methods and standards.