For most students, getting a bachelor’s degree in four years is a challenge that requires careful planning. When Kylie Bell started at Fresno State, she set a goal of graduating in three and a half years. However, even that wasn’t fast enough.
“Last year I saw how much I had left and then chose to take the two summer classes to be able to graduate in three,” Bell said. “I started in fall 2016.”
On May 18, Bell, 20, received her bachelor’s degree in media, communications and journalism with an advertising option.
While completing her degree in record time, Bell excelled in her coursework — making the dean’s or president’s list in all but one semester. She worked a 24-hour per week job as a communications specialist at Riverpark Bible Church and has been the president of the on-campus advertising club Alpha Delta Sigma the past two years. During her final semester, in which she carried a massive 23-units, she also planned her wedding and got married.
“Kylie’s academic accomplishments are impressive, especially when considering the demanding courses she completed while keeping an active presence in Alpha Delta Sigma, and keeping a part-time job,” said Dr. Saul Jimenez, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “We’re proud she’s graduating in three years with such high accomplishments.”
So how did she do it?
“Time management is everything,” Bell said.
Bell took between 18 and 23 units every semester as well as a couple of summer courses, and she was able to use many of the resources Fresno State offers.
“I was fortunate to be introduced to the 4-Year Scholars Program my second semester,” Bell said. “Because I was set in what I wanted to do, this program was perfect for me.”
The 4-Year Scholars Program is part of the California Promise Program in which students pledge to meet specific requirements to remain on the plan. The program allowed her to secure classes through priority registration, meet with a program adviser each semester and be eligible for a free parking pass after her first year.
Bell was also able to use the Writing Center, Career Development Center, Money Management Center and service-learning programs. However, she said it was the availability of online courses that allowed her the flexibility needed to carry such large course loads.
“If it were not for online classes I wouldn’t have been able to complete school in the time I did,” Bell said. “With class scheduling and the amount of time in the week, it was very helpful to not have to be on campus for all my classes. On average, I would have four to five on campus and two online classes.”
Beyond the programs, Bell credits Dr. Roberta Asahina who she said infused her with a passion for advertising, and her parents who supported her and were always eager to hear about what she was doing.
During her time at Fresno State, Bell received three scholarships; John Reed King Scholarship, Dr. Roberta Asahina Scholarship and the MCJ Journalism Department Scholarship.
“Each meant so much to me because it was a little reassurance that all the hard work I am putting in is paying off and I am on the right track,” Bell said.
Following graduation, Bell plans to remain in the Central Valley and hopes to work in health care communications.
“I do not think I have any more abilities than the next person. I would encourage everyone to push themselves to whatever extent that may be,” Bell said. “In my case, I just thrive better under pressure and a long to-do list.”
From 2002 to 2018, only 20 College of Arts and Humanities students under the age of 20 have completed their bachelor’s degree.