Senior Spotlight: One Student’s Story of Balancing Three Majors, Seven Classes, and a Part-Time Job


Could this be one of Rowan’s greatest balancing acts?

Gregory Aquilino is a third-year senior majoring in international studies, political science, and history, with a concentration in global and comparative perspectives. Aquilino also has three certificates of undergraduate study (CUGS) in public policy, global health studies, and French.

“This semester, Fall 2021, I have internships with Jamestown Associates, U.S. Term Limits, and NJ Career Development Association,” Aquilino said, “I also work at Target on the weekends.”

It’s rare for a student to have the ambition to sign up for three majors, even more rare for a student to find a way to balance all those credits. 

Aquilino’s decision to become a triple major began with a conversation with one of his mentors at Rowan, history Professor Dr. Bill Carrigan. 

“Dr. Carrigan had suggested I pursue a double major in either History and Economics or History and Political Science,” Aquilino said. “Since I did not want to take Calculus I, I chose to pursue Political Science.”

But in the process, something occurred to them that changed everything.

“Once we looked at how the classes would break down, [Dr. Carrigan] realized that International Studies could fit as a triple major,” Aquilino said.

Completing all these credits while also going for Rowan’s ‘degree-in-three,’ a three-year graduation plan, is no easy feat. To stay on track, Aquilino took a total of eighteen credits every semester and eighteen more every summer. 

“I also am taking twenty-one credits right now in the fall and hope to get approval for another 21 credit workload in the spring,” Aquilino said.

Dr. Bill Carrigan noted that, although he has not recommended (and still won’t) that students take seven classes in one semester, what Aquilino is doing has really set a new standard for Rowan students.

“I have often recommended that good students push and double major, take six classes, etc.,” Dr. Carrigan said. “But, no one has taken me up on this offer like Greg has done.”

As one of Rowan University’s Program advisors, Aquilino attributed Christine Larsen-Britt as having helped him since his first semester at Rowan.

“I knew that Greg was capable of balancing the three majors,” Larsen-Britt said. “However, when Greg started adding the CUGS, I raised an eyebrow and asked if he was sure – and he was.”

Larsen-Britt’s most intense discussions with Aquilino have been about Aquilino’s plan to accelerate his timeline and complete school a year early.

“I wanted to make sure he wasn’t going to burn himself out or miss out [on] any campus opportunities,” Larsen-Britt said. “However, now that we are in the home stretch of his ambitious plan, I see that he has made the most of every minute of his undergraduate career.”

Larsen-Britt was also constantly impressed by Aquilino’s consistent strength of character.

“Each time we meet, he seems to add a new passion, interest or goal,” Larsen-Britt said. “Although Greg is super busy, he always takes time to check in on me and ask how my classes and advising are going. Even though he is serious about academic success, Greg is down to earth and caring. He can strike up a conversation and find common ground with anyone he meets. I think he will grow as a leader and professional post-graduation. I look forward to seeing what else he will accomplish after his time at Rowan,”

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