SMC begins program at Harrisburg Campus

Incoming SMC students can begin their degrees at Harrisburg Campus.

A new program in the School of Media and Communication allows waitlisted applicants to spend their freshman year at Harrisburg Campus.  All students who finish their freshman year are guaranteed a spot at Main Campus the following year.

The school will officially announce the program tomorrow at a ribbon-cutting event for the Harrisburg Campus’ finished renovations of the library, office and reception area, turning the space into a student and faculty learning and technology center.

SMC will not raise or lower their academic requirements to apply there, said Donald Heller, the school’s senior vice dean for finance and administration. But he added students who have higher GPAs and SAT scores have a better chance of attending Main Campus their freshman year.

The school’s decision to join the program at Harrisburg is primarily due to lack of space on Main and Ambler campuses.

“Main Campus has been getting full, and we have a lot more students who are on the waitlist who are qualified to attend Temple,” said Vicki McGarvey, acting director of Ambler Campus. “We just don’t have any more space.”

Students who are otherwise qualified are waitlisted or denied admission due to the cap on how many students they can bring in, Heller said.

The “Freshman Year at Harrisburg” program for students throughout the university officially started four years ago but only offered general education classes, McGarvey said.

SMC plans to create a course schedule within the program that includes the school’s core courses, which are applicable to any major, Heller said.

He added that major requirements outside of the school are still being figured out for the freshmen program.

Harrisburg Campus will provide staff for these courses, but SMC-trained advisers have not been added to the campus program yet.

SMC is looking into either staffing SMC-trained advisers to work at Harrisburg Campus, or sending the Main Campus SMC advisers there.

With the rollout of this new program, Temple is looking to forge a hybrid-schedule model — students will have a mix of in-class and online courses.

Heller said SMC’s program intends to benefit two types of students: those from the Harrisburg area, and those who may not be ready to live in a city.

“If you look at some students, they’re just not ready to leave home,” Heller said. “I think that a lot of students from rural areas might have some reservations about coming to a large city.”

“Part of the reason to go to Temple is to experience the city,” said Connor Fundyga, a senior media studies and production major. “In terms of getting used to the city, it was important that I experience it at the age that I did.”

Harrisburg Campus does not offer on-campus housing, but off-campus housing is available in the city, McGarvey said.

Students who participate in the new program will pay Temple’s base tuition rate, rather than the increased SMC tuition rate, McGarvey said. The base tuition rate for an in-state student is $7,692 per semester, whereas SMC’s charges $8,448 per semester.

Besides lower tuition, SMC is looking into more financial incentives for students to participate in the program because students do not have access to the same amenities as students on Main Campus, Heller said.

Main Campus offers many SMC-related student organizations that give students the opportunity to get involved in during their first semester at Temple.

Organizations like this are not accessible at Harrisburg Campus, but student organizations for freshmen specific to the campus will be developed, McGarvey said.

Some current SMC students are torn whether they would have attended Harrisburg Campus.

“I wouldn’t want to go there,” Nahomy Galan, a senior media studies and production major, said. “[Harrisburg] seems too far away.”

“I would still apply,” said Nydja Hood, a junior journalism major. “At least I would have the option to go to Main Campus.”

Kelly Brennan can be reached at

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