What is life like for the typical student attending an honors college or enrolled in an honors program?

Well, you must first define what you consider to be “typical.” Depending on where you go to school, your experience as an honors student will vary. Some universities will offer an honors college while others will have an honors program. At one school, the honors program may be purely academic—that is, some honors courses are sprinkled into the curriculum—while at another school, the honors program requires you to live with other honors students. In most programs, you’ll spend lots of time in honors classes with your peers, getting to know them and relying on them as study partners, classmates who provide intellectually stimulating conversation, or friends who are there when you simply need a break from it all.

When you’re an honors student in a living/learning program, you’ll spend lots of time with your peers, both in the classroom and out. Honors-only events are sometimes held on the evenings and weekends, and it’s actually cool to hang out with your professors outside class. A living/learning program provides you with a sense of community with your fellow students—you know you’ll always have friends who share at least some of the same interests as you do.

But don’t worry—honors students are rarely, if ever, isolated from the rest of campus life. In fact, most honors students take both honors classes and non-honors classes and participate in a broad array of extracurricular activities that spill beyond the bounds of the honors college or program. You’ll find honors students competing on varsity athletic teams, writing for the campus newspaper, participating in theater, and leading clubs.

To find out more about what it’s like to be an honors student, whether in an honors school or on a regular college campus, explore the program’s Web site or contact the school for information. Some honors programs have student ambassadors available by e-mail so that you can get the facts right from the people who know them best. Other student ambassador programs invite prospective students to spend a day with a current honors student, sitting in on honors courses and getting a taste of campus life. You can probably find an honors college or program that has student blogs that can tell you the good, the bad, and the (not so) ugly in the life of an honors student.