The Value of Honors Programs and Honors Colleges
The value of Honors programs and Honors colleges for students cannot be overemphasized. For high achieving students, Honors programs and colleges offer many opportunities to make the most of their higher education.
For the bright and talented students, participating in an Honors program provides the challenges necessary to stay motivated and stimulated. Honors education promotes lifelong learning through personal engagement, intellectual involvement, and a sense of community.
Honors classes are generally smaller, allowing students to engage in thoughtful discussion with their professors and with each other. Honors education encourages independent learning, often involving undergraduate research or creative projects. National and regional Honors conferences provide opportunities for students to present their research. Participation in co-curricular activities is also an integral part of the college Honors experience. Honors programs and colleges encourage students to develop their leadership skills, to assume mentoring and teaching responsibilities at their institutions, to study overseas, and to take internship positions. And scholarship opportunities abound in Honors!
Student Viewpoints and Experiences
On the surface, an honors program may seem like an elite club for overachievers and the exceptionally intelligent. But anyone who takes the rigorous honors courses can testify that the real reason for their membership is actually is that they simply love to learn. It is the perfect place for the student hungry for information. In my experience, an honors class is comprised of enthusiastic intellectuals who are not only smart but also supportive of each other. Among the other curious minds, I can share my ideas with people who will respond to me with their own perspectives. I have no fear of sounding “too smart,” or being a labeled a “dork” for being knowledgeable or wanting to understand more. The teacher and students facilitate a stimulating environment where each person is a welcome and prized contributor. As intellectuals, we seek insightful discussions and enlightening viewpoints, not just to pass a class but for our own personal enrichment. I believe that along with the heart, the mind is a person’s greatest gift. In an honors program, both are nurtured.
~Leticia Henry (Point Park University, class of 2011; Broadcast Journalism major)
Intercollegiate forensic competition (speech and debate) is one area in which I have found my honorseducation to be particularly valuable. Most other forensic teams throughout the country are composed of students studying public speaking and communication theory. While they are often successful, the education at my honors institution has enabled us to far exceed the expectations originally set for us. In the two years our debate program has existed, we have won our division at the state championship both years. We have done all this without the monetary resources and coaching experience that other teams throughout the state and country possess, making our accomplishments that much more noteworthy. Rather, it is our honors education that has given us the tools to succeed in as competitive and aggressive an activity as speech and debate.
~Alan Gray (Florida Atlantic University; class of 2011; Law & Society and Spanish majors)
We all know living on campus is awesome. Classes are within walking distance, you can wake up ten minutes before class starts and still be on time, and there are plenty of activities on campus to be a part of. There’s only one thing that can make living on campus even
better: an honors residence hall. Students in honors residence halls bond over food and fun, but we are also bound by a common priority to keep our grades up, to maintain our scholarships, and further our education. We have a variety of majors and disciplines, so help with any class is never far. Because we all live in a tight-knit community, we are able to remind one another about deadlines or activities.
~Andrea Schoeny and Molly Sroges (University of New Mexico)
Being in The Honors College has really been a wonderful experience.
Not only have I received great care and attention, I have had the opportunity of meeting students from across the globe, of receiving top-of-the-line education from professors who are professionals in their field, and of attending countless events. For example, I have met students from all over the world; interacting with them, I have learned about their cultures and have introduced them to my own Cuban- Spanish heritage. The professors provide a rigorous curriculum that helps students excel and learn things not only about the material but also about themselves. Because there are smaller class sizes, the professors actually get to know you on a first name basis and go the extra mile to assist you. As for the opportunities, there are countless ones. The Honors College has provided me with the chance to attend a Poverty Conference at the University of Miami, a symposium on the European Union, and the Salzburg Global Seminar in Austria.
With a year to go in The Honors College, I feel very confident and well prepared to go on to the most prestigious universities across the nation.
~Laurie Charles (Miami Dade College; class of 2010; International Relations major)
My horizons have been greatly broadened already through my first year spent in the Honors program. The opportunities that have been made available to me are astounding. For example, I completed over 10 hours of community service for one of my Honors courses this semester. By working with individuals with intellectual disabilities, I became more understanding of what life is like for them and found that we are more similar than I had previously thought. Next year, I will begin to work on my Honors thesis. I am looking forward to this since I am planning on choosing a topic that will combine both my double majors of Health Science and Spanish. When it comes time to find a job, I am sure that potential employers will look at my work and see the ways that I have gone above and beyond other college students.
~Noel Barber (St. Francis University, PA)