joining a college honors program

Posted : April 3, 2006
Last Updated : October 19, 2021

joining a college honors program

A college honors program provides highly motivated students the opportunity to work closely with professors and other motivated students in advanced levels of critical thinking, analysis, research, writing, communication, etc. While the provisions for honors programs will vary from school to school, the following is an overview of some of the guidelines and benefits of a college honors program.

Criteria for Entrance

Each honors program has its own entrance requirements. Here are possible requirements colleges may consider when admitting students to their honors program:

  • High GPA (usually 3.5 or higher)
  • High college admission test scores (usually a combined score of 1200 or higher on the SAT and/or 26 or higher on the ACT)
  • Strong high school curriculum
  • In top five or ten percent of high school graduation class
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Essay
  • Interview

Please keep in mind that the list above contains examples of what colleges may consider for admittance into an honors program. Some programs will only have one or two requirements, while other programs will have more. Check with the college's coordinator of the honors program to find out the specific entrance requirements.

How to Apply

For some schools, if you meet their entrance requirements for the honors program, you are automatically accepted into the program (you just have to notify them if you do not want to participate). For other schools, you may have to fill out an application in addition to meeting the main criteria. If your school requires an application, be sure to find out the deadline for submission.

Benefits of Joining

The benefits of joining a college honors program are numerous and may vary from school to school. Here are just a few examples:

  • Small classes. Small class sizes enable students to form more fulfilling relationships with their professors and with other students because they allow for more interaction and discussion. Usually, honors classes have no more than 25 students.
  • Graduate school preparation. At many schools, the class regimen of an undergraduate honors class is similar to that of a graduate class. Many honors classes place a great deal of emphasis on continuing education through graduate school.
  • Special activities. Students who participate in an honors program often get to participate in honors retreats, cultural events at theaters and museums, campus-wide recognition banquets, dinners with faculty members, etc. This is a great way to start networking.
  • Scholarship opportunities. At some schools, students who participate in the honors program may also qualify for certain scholarships. Check with your school's honors program to see if they offer any scholarship opportunities for program participants.
  • Priority registration. Some schools allow priority scheduling for students in the honors program. This helps to ensure that honors students will be able to complete their individualized academic programs.
  • Honors degree. Students who graduate in the honors program will have that notation recorded on their diplomas and permanent records. This is a valuable addition to resumes.

If you are interested in joining an honors program, contact the director of the program at your college. He/she will be able to inform you of any regulations and benefits of the honors program specific to your school.

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