By Holly Feola – News Editor
The Lasell Works program made its debut for first-year students in fall 2018. Despite the program being introduced last year, it continues to evolve. Lasell Works is a four-year, declining tuition program that equips students early on with skills for their future professional careers.
This year, 110 first-year students enrolled in Lasell Works, which is a large increase compared to the 21 enrolled sophomores. Lasell works also reduces students tuition from 37,000 their first year down to 27,000 by the time they are seniors, the cost benefit is one year many students are attracted to the program.
When asked where the idea came from, Director of Lasell Works Stephanie Williams said it was President Michael Alexander’s idea since the cost of college tuition has increased.
According to Williams, “it’s not just about cost savings, it’s also about preparing the students in the program to be ready for the challenges that will meet them after graduation and to be viable candidates for the jobs that they want to have and that they’re studying for.”
Being the director, Williams collaborates with various faculty members and staff on campus to keep the program going from all different departments such as Career Development, Counseling Center, Academic Affairs, Academic Achievement Center, Admissions, and many more.
One unique element of the program is the Sophomore Experience, where students live off-campus, take online courses and are required to get a job in their desired field.
“Most students go home for their Sophomore Experience but that’s not a requirement of the program. We also have students who are not living at home, they’re living in their own apartment, or they’re living with extended family in different states, so there are a variety of different paths that you can take,” said Williams.
During the students’ first year, they take a career development course and attend workshops to prepare them for their next year. The workshops help them prepare cover letters, resumes and begin discussions about what jobs they want to pursue.
Since the program started last year, this is the first year students are going through the Sophomore Experience.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Hennessy is an event management major currently in her second year of the program. She decided to enroll in Lasell Works because of the continual decrease in tuition every year and the chance to work in her field. This year she is currently working at Sky Meadow Country Club and is an events intern for Excellence Through Quality (ETQ), a software company.
When describing what she has learned from her internship, Hennessy said, “I have definitely learned so much about the events industry, specifically the whole industry uses specific applications …. I learned a lot about it my first year at Lasell but getting into the more nitty-gritty little details the internship has dramatically helped out with that.”
Her internship has allowed her to be at the forefront of planning events such as a user conference in Dallas, Texas.
Another Lasell Works sophomore is Julianna Denning. Denning is a criminal justice major who balances online classes while working part-time and playing for the volleyball team.
According to Denning, “some days… when I get my days off [from work] it’s definitely easier, but when I am going from work to practice, it’s tiring but it’s doable.”
Denning thinks the program is beneficial and said, “it gives you the opportunity to branch out beyond your peers because the majority of sophomores aren’t going to be working a job in their field of study. The odds of me getting a job at a courthouse before Lasell Works were much slimmer … because of Lasell Works and the networking that comes along with it, I am now able to work in my field of study.”
Sophomore communication major Lindsey Morris was enrolled in Lasell Works but decided to withdraw from the program last spring. In the beginning, the program seemed like the right choice for her and was excited about it but she said, “I wasn’t really happy with staying home and working full-time [for her sophomore year] and I would rather spend my time living on campus with my friends and my little family here.”
Morris said she would have stayed in the program if she didn’t have to go off- campus for her second year of college.
In an effort to help students within the program get to know each other better, a house system was introduced this year. Williams says “although they are called ‘Houses’ – they are not literal houses, just small groups that students are a part of for all four years.” The purpose of this new system is for students to have, “a small-group experience within the larger cohort,” Williams said.