April 17, 2003

ILR Student to Graduate in 2 Years

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Anthony Ciolli ’04 is on his way to becoming the quickest graduate in the history of Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, set to complete his degree this summer after a total of two years of college.

Ciolli, a native of Flushing, Queens, and a graduate of Townsend Harris High School, was admitted to Cornell as a guaranteed transfer student. He spent his first two semesters at Queens College, where he took a wide variety of courses in subjects including political science, sociology, economics and philosophy. While at Queens, Ciolli took 72 credits, which included 24 credits taken during summer session.

“In general, the classes [at Queens College] were pretty good. I was able to get a feel for more liberal arts subjects,” Ciolli said, noting that as an ILR transfer student, almost all the courses he is taking at Cornell are within the School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

Ciolli said that he did not enter college intending to graduate in two years. After taking 21 credits during his first semester and achieving a GPA of over 3.9, he decided that he would easily be able to handle another six credits’ worth of work. After the second semester, with a GPA of roughly 3.8, Ciolli made the decision to graduate in two years.

In addition to having to deal with the pressures of such a large course load, Ciolli had to discover inventive ways to work around scheduling conflicts that made it impossible to take certain mandatory ILR courses simultaneously in order to graduate in two years. Ciolli had to petition the school to approve other courses in place of the ones he would not be able to take.

“ILR has a tough approval process. It really is a nuisance,” Ciolli said.

Ciolli has also made use of distance learning in order to achieve his goal. He is currently enrolled in a distance learning course from Penn State University in place of Labor Economics 240, a required course in ILR. He is taking the course simultaneously with Labor Economics 340, something he says has “enhanced my understanding of both subjects.”

Ciolli commented positively on his experiences with distance learning courses. “It really forced me to strongly examine material rather than fall back on lectures