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Frequently Asked Questions

How will Drake guarantee these commitments? Do we get a refund if Drake doesn’t deliver on any one of the four?

Every effort will be made to ensure you have the experiences you want while at Drake. The University strengthens academic opportunity with:

  • Required courses are regularly available
  • Faculty advising is available
  • J-Term is maintained
  • Experiential learning opportunities are available

At the same time, students have responsibilities to ensure that the Commitment is met. Each student must:

  • Have appropriate high school preparation and English language proficiency
  • Be a full-time, degree seeking first-year who follows the outlined 4-year course of study plan for graduation published for a single major and maintains that program’s academic progression and requirements.
  • Successfully complete all prerequisites and required courses and GPA requirements that may be specified for an internship or undergraduate research.
  • Actively engage with an adviser, Professional & Career Development Services, and/or department or college to discuss and determine appropriate internship or research opportunities.
  • Register for J-Term during the appropriate designated period and, for travel seminars, pay the required deposit by the due date and fulfill other pre-course responsibilities. (Note: Course enrollment is determined by seniority; preferred courses may not be available.)

It is important to note that these are commitments rather than promises, and you will not receive a refund if one or more is unfulfilled. While we will do everything we can to ensure you have these experiences, students must take an active role in their academic journey. If upon entering your senior year you have not yet done a J-Term course and want to, you will register first to ensure you get a spot. In the instance that you tried in good faith to get an internship and didn’t, we would work with you to provide an internship experience on campus during your senior year.

Do I have to maintain a certain GPA?

You must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 to remain in good academic standing. You must also successfully complete all prerequisites and required courses and GPA requirements that may be specified for an internship or undergraduate research.

Do I have to participate in each of the academic commitments? For example, what if I don’t want to go on a J-Term?

You are not required to participate in each, but we hope you do! By taking advantage of all four commitment areas, you’ll be getting an unforgettable, well-rounded college experience that will prepare you to stride confidently into the world as a Drake Bulldog and find success in your future endeavors.

If I don’t participate in one or more of the academic commitments, will that affect my tuition?

If you choose not to pursue one or more of the academic commitments, your tuition will not be affected.

Does the Drake Commitment apply to transfer students?

Yes. If a student transfers into the Class of 2021, the Drake Commitment applies to them.

Does the Drake Commitment apply to graduate students?

While it doesn't apply to graduate students, Drake's graduate and professional programs are grounded in many of the same principles as undergraduate programs, including hands-on learning, faculty mentorship, and service-learning. 

Does the Drake Commitment apply to the pharmacy program?

Those students entering as pre-pharmacy majors will be part of the Drake Commitment.

Does the Drake Commitment apply to part-time students?

It does not, although there is a strong possibility that the courses they take at Drake will have some of these experiences—such as service-learning—built in.

What happens if I change majors?

That’s totally OK! In fact, we encourage you to explore your interests and make sure you’re in a field that you love. If you change majors, you will be assigned a new faculty adviser/mentor in your major, and can still take advantage of all the academic commitments.

Will I graduate in four years?

A four-year graduation guarantee is not part of the Drake Commitment, but we’re confident you’ll experience all of the Drake Commitment opportunities in four years. Plus, the vast majority of Drake students graduate in four years—89 percent, to be exact.

Does the Drake Commitment guarantee me a job after graduation?

No, but we’re pretty confident you won’t have any trouble securing one. Our accomplishment rate has been exceptional—98.9 percent of 2015 graduates found career employment or entered graduate school within six months of receiving their degrees. 

Do I have to do anything as part of the Drake Commitment?

As part of the Drake Commitment, you need to be engaged in your college experience. In order to ensure you receive the best education possible, as outlined by the Drake Commitment, you must:

  • Have appropriate high school preparation and English language proficiency
  • Be a full-time, degree seeking first-year student who follows the outlined 4-year course of study plan for graduation published for a single major and maintains that program’s academic progression and requirements.
  • Successfully complete all prerequisites and required courses and GPA requirements that may be specified for an internship or undergraduate research.
  • Actively engage with your adviser, Professional & Career Development Services, and/or department or college to discuss and determine appropriate internship or research opportunities.
  • Register for J-Term during the appropriate designated period and, for travel seminars, pay the required deposit by the due date and fulfill other pre-course responsibilities. (Note: Course enrollment is determined by seniority; preferred courses may not be available.)

How will I be assigned a faculty mentor? Do I get to choose my faculty mentor?

Formally, faculty advisers/mentors are assigned by the dean’s office of the college that houses your chosen major. You will have an adviser for each of your majors, if you have more than one, and thus you may have advisers in two different colleges. Typically, students do not choose their advisers, although most units work to match advisers/mentors and students based on the student’s academic and career interests. You can work with your department chair or dean’s office to change advisers, as appropriate.

Chances are good that you will actually have a variety of mentors throughout your time at Drake. Faculty mentor students through advising of student organizations and collaborating on extracurricular events, and students often find multiple mentors through favorite course instructors. At Drake, faculty are passionate about teaching and working with students—so you’re not just another number.

What is the mentorship time commitment faculty give to students?

At a minimum, faculty will initiate at least one meeting per semester with their advisees. Faculty are also required to establish office hours each week when they are available to their students and advisees. However, it is really up to you to take advantage of this valuable resource: Initiate meetings and conversations with your faculty mentor, ask questions, and consider how he or she can best support you.

What if I don’t get an internship, research, or practicum experience?

In the instance that you tried in good faith to get an internship, research, or practicum experience and didn’t, we would work with you to provide an experience on campus during your senior year.

Do internships or research pay?

Each internship or research experience is unique. We cannot guarantee a paid internship or research experience.

How do students find internships or research at Drake?

Faculty mentors/advisers will work with each student to find appropriate internship, research, or practicum experiences. Students are also strongly encouraged to work with Career and Development Services, where professional staff assist students and alumni in defining professional goals, obtaining career-related experiences, and creating and implementing job search strategies or plans for graduate and professional school. Visit www.drake.edu/career to learn more.

Which companies or organizations offer internships or research opportunities? Are these experiences only local?

We do not maintain a comprehensive list, but we know anecdotally that students’ experiences have varied widely. Students intern locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. We encourage you to peruse www.drake.edu/commitment and www.drake.edu/internships for examples of student intern, research, and practicum experiences.

When do students typically obtain internships or engage in research?

Students can pursue research or internships at any time, from their first year to senior year.

What J-Term classes are available in my major? Is there a comprehensive list of all classes?

The J-Term courses vary each year and are typically posted at least nine to ten months in advance. You can find a sampling of J-Term courses being offered in January 2017 at www.drake.edu/dc/j-termexperience. We also encourage you to consider J-Term as a time to tap your adventurous Bulldog spirit; take a course that simply interests you or speaks to your passion—it doesn’t have to directly relate to your major. That’s the beauty of J-Term. Explore!

Is there an extra fee associated with travel J-Term courses?

Yes, students are responsible for the cost of airfare and lodging; costs vary by course and location. Those details will be conveyed in the course descriptions once they are released, so you know exactly how much you will need to pay before you register. However, there is no additional tuition paid for J-Term.

Do I have to pay extra for room and board during J-Term, or is that included in my annual room and board costs?

All students who are required or have requested and been approved J-Term housing will be assessed a room-and-board fee of $49/day for all dates during J-Term for on-campus courses. Room and board charges for J-Term courses that are partially on/partially off campus will be computed based on the number of days spent on campus according to the course syllabus.

Can I take J-Term as a first-year student?

No. Registration for the upcoming J-Term takes place the previous spring, so incoming first-year students are not eligible.

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