In order to attract highly motivated students, many universities will create an honors college within their institution or develop a college honors program. The university's objective in developing such a program is to gain high-performing students that might otherwise go to a smaller, private school. These programs are specifically designed for the best and most motivated students. If you are qualified and have received an offer to participate in an honors college or a college honors program, here are some things to consider.
Honors college should not be the only factor in your decision:
Many students who are faced with an opportunity to participate in honors college can forget about other factors, or quickly move that college to the top of their list. That may not always be wise. Honors college does provide many unique opportunities, but it should not be the only thing considered. Always keep in mind the other factors you've been using all along to make your decision, such as the size and location of the school, the culture of the school and the degree programs offered.
The benefits of honors college
- Class Size: Many of your classes will be specifically part of the honors program. These classes tend to be smaller, and more intensive. This allows more time with professors and other students that may help you truly master the material being presented. This experience gives you some of the benefits of being in a liberal arts school or private college with the lower tuition costs of a university.
- Class Structure: In college honors programs, often there is more discussion and debate than lecture. This means that you will read assigned material before class. This creates a situation that is almost the opposite of a traditional classroom, where you study the material before-hand, rather than sitting through a lecture, and then spend class time working with other students on the analysis of the lecture that would typically be done as homework.
- Diploma; Both honors programs and honors colleges provide special diplomas at the end of your college career that indicate you participated in and completed the honors college or program. While not all of your classes will be within the honors program, the diploma will show that you participated in a more academically rigorous degree program. This can be attractive to recruiters and possibly set you above other applicants when it comes time to enter the work force.
- Housing: Typically, both honors colleges and college honors programs offer special housing for the students selected for their program. Sometimes these dorms are a little nicer and more spacious than other dorms. They put you together with other students in the program, the people who you will already be working with on a daily basis.
Keep in mind that expectations of honors colleges are higher
If you've been offered admissions into an honors college or honors program, you were picked because you display a high level of academic achievement. You will be expected to excel in your classes and the honors program will demand more academic rigor from you. You will get a great education, but expect to work very hard for it.