After expanding their class offerings, Belmont East and West has received more applications for next fall than ever before.
Until this year, it was much more difficult for students outside the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business to participate in the program that allows Belmont students to live, study and work for a semester in either New York City or Los Angeles.
Meredith Valdez, admissions coordinator for the Curb College, is pleased with the growth. A record 48 students applied for admission into the Fall 2012 program in New York. Only 30 students were accepted. “We welcome the diversity that it brings,” she said.
While interest in the programs could increase, plans are not in place to expand the program to include more students.
“Down the road, if that pattern were to continue and we were to see semester after semester of just way more interest than space, then we would get creative and go back to the drawing board about how to restructure things,” Valdez said.
In order to help narrow down the increased applicant pool, program administrators implemented two rounds of interviews into the selection process. The interview process could remain like this in the future if applications continue at this increased rate, Valdez said.
Music business major Dylon Walker is one of the 30 students who will attend Belmont East, a program he’s been interested in since his freshman year.
“I decided from the beginning, my first semester really,” he said. “It just seemed like an awesome opportunity. And I just knew I loved New York and so it was perfect.”
Several students have now changed their plans after the further expansion of classes was announced.
Terease Cassity, a sophomore international business major and music business minor, is one of them.
“If you’re a non-music business major, you really have to plan it,” she said. “Otherwise you’re wasting time.”
Classes for non-music business majors are limited for both Belmont East and West. Third-year writing and selected Junior Cornerstone religion courses are offered at both locations in an effort to accommodate students of all majors within the program.
Valdez said students interested in the program must understand the importance of planning classes ahead.
“You really can’t just go into the program and hope that they’re going to meet your graduation needs,” she said. “It really requires doing certain things in advance, waiting on other things, and kind of earmarking courses to fit certain places.”
For Cassity, this means taking summer classes at Belmont to ensure she satisfies the business courses she needs for her major.
“Being a non-music business major, you have to really make sure that the time you have here [at Belmont], you’re spending it on classes that you need and are for your major, because when you go to places like East and West, your pool is limited,” she said.
Calli Cox, a freshman commercial music major, also hopes to attend Belmont East her senior year. Like several others, strategic planning is necessary in order to fit the program into her schedule.
“I am mainly just looking at the general classes that I need to complete it, like the Path B Religion and Third-Year Writing, and just not doing those, and I’m going to do everything else and so I just have a minimum of 12 hours to take,” Cox said. “I’ll be done with all the requirements for the music side of things.”
Even for the music business majors, prior planning is a must.
Walker transferred in with 28 credit hours and was scheduled to graduate in May 2013, but going to Belmont East will push that to August.
“It kind of set me back a little bit,” he said. “It’s not difficult if you from the beginning plan your schedule out really, really correctly, but I took a few classes in the wrong order, and so now it’s affecting me.”
The minimum requirements include a 2.8 GPA or higher, internship experience and completion of all convocation credits and 64 hours of course credits. Applicants who meet all those requirements are invited to interview.
The interview is a large part of the selection process. Applicants generally meet with two or three interviewers and are asked questions related to their plans for attending the program and what they hope to gain from their participation within the program.
The ideal candidate exhibits “professionalism, maturity, and a demonstrated ability to be a team player,” Valdez said. “You want to send a student who’s going to be an ambassador of the institution.”
The cost to attend either program is a semester’s tuition plus a $3,500 program fee that includes housing.