It is fairly common knowledge that most high schools offer honors and advanced placement courses for students looking to be challenged in their coursework. But did you know that colleges and universities also offer similar programs for undergraduate students through honors colleges?
In some cases, high-achieving students are invited to enroll in a university’s honors college upon acceptance, while other students seek out the honors track and apply to the honors college as part of their undergraduate admission.
Why Should I Apply To An Honors College?
College courses are challenging enough, but for high achieving students looking for more advanced classes, an honors program can be an enriching experience and enhance a student’s overall undergraduate experience.
At most colleges and universities, honors courses and programs provide smaller classes that are more discussion based, and many of those courses are exclusive to honors students.
Smaller class settings allow for more interaction with classmates and professors and foster thoughtful discussions. In many cases, honors college students live in the same housing, allowing for a unique living-learning community experience. At some schools honors students also get priority when scheduling classes in order to help balance required honors courses with the regular undergraduate classes.
While it seems like a lot of extra work, honors programs typically offer additional support to students during and after the program. Honors advisors and mentors are available to help students develop and polish a thesis, and even provide guidance and help when applying to graduate programs.
The alumni network within an honors college is also a valuable networking resource for students upon graduation.
Like Any Advanced Program, It Requires A Lot of Dedication
With all these benefits, it is important to point out that being admitted isn’t enough. Honors students generally have to maintain a certain GPA to stay in the program and meet certain course requirements.
This could mean attending seminars or taking core courses within the honors college rather than in the regular undergraduate class, i.e. Honors English II rather than English II. At some schools, there might also be extracurricular requirements, like community service projects.
When it comes time to graduate, most honors programs require students to complete a final project or thesis in order to graduate with honors. This could be anything from a general thesis to lab research to a creative portfolio related to a student’s major.
How Do I Apply To An Honors College?
As with any regular undergraduate application, you need to make sure you meet the requirements. Most honors colleges or programs within colleges and universities have minimum GPA and test score requirements that are generally higher than the regular admission thresholds.
Also, students applying to honors programs typically have to fill out separate applications with additional essays. On the Common Application this may mean an additional supplemental essay within the school-specific supplement.
While honors college may not be the best-fit for everyone, for those students looking for an advanced curriculum in their undergraduate course work, an honors program will certainly fit that need. Honors programs allow students to be surrounded by other driven students, while also providing a more intimate learning environment.
If you need help assessing whether an honors program would be a good fit for you, contact us today to see how our team of expert counselors can help find the best course of study for you!
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Each year, the Schreyer Honors College requires potential Scholars to answer three essay questions. These questions change on a yearly basis and are meant to elicit well-written, comprehensive responses. Essay responses do not have word count or formatting requirements.
The essay questions are posted here a few months before the Penn State and Schreyer Honors College application is made available on September 1. We strongly encourage you to begin working on your essays immediately after they are posted.
2018 Essay Questions
- It has been said that art imitates life, which implies that what we see depicted in entertainment is merely a reflection of what is happening in real life. Review this video clip and tell us if you believe it reflects experiences of teenagers in the world today. In your response, address the ethical issues presented in this clip and how you would address them.
- Following the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England in May of 2017, the artist and her management team decided to hold a benefit concert to raise money for those injured and killed during the bombing and to spread a message of love and unity after the attack. Do you think the arts can play a role in solving international conflicts? Please cite examples to support your perspective.
- In the last few years, youth around the world have gravitated toward podcasts, YouTube, blogs and social media for educational and entertainment purposes. Please list one or two of these different types of media that you follow or subscribe to and explain why you identify with and consume their content. Note: please be mindful that some application readers may not be familiar with media platforms you mention in your response.