Is an Honors Program Right for You?
Determine whether an honors program is right for you.
By Tiffany Sorensen, Varsity Tutors' Contributor
October 05, 2016
It is no easy feat to be accepted into a college’s honors program, so take a moment to congratulate yourself! Now, accepting or declining this offer is another matter. Whether or not to enroll in a college’s honors program is a decision that requires careful consideration. There are many factors to bear in mind, such as class size, rigor, and prestige.
Intimate classroom setting
Honors programs generally offer classes of smaller sizes as compared to regular university classes, which can have hundreds of students. Small classes give honors students, as well as professors, the opportunity to get to know one another on a rather personal level.
Small class size can also mean more chances to participate and ask questions. In an honors program, group projects often involve working with the same students on a recurring basis; they allow you to gain a closeness with your classmates whom you see grow throughout their entire college careers. The type of bonding that occurs from honors classes can produce life-long friendships and professional connections that are invaluable.
Complexity of material
The curricula of honors classes cover much of the same material as those of regular college classes, but to a greater degree of complexity. Whereas a standard psychology class might briefly touch upon Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, an honors psychology class would probably delve into all of the purported types of intelligences, as well as the implications of this theory.
Honors classes require deep analysis and critical thinking, which might be reflected in the volume and rigor of assigned readings, homework, and tests.
Another key way in which honors programs differ from regular university classes is the extent to which they encourage independent learning. Research projects are often a staple of honors classes, and after their completion, honors students are often able to present their research at national and regional conferences.
Extensive independent learning can satisfy an intellectual need of high-achieving students, keeping them stimulated and engaged in a way that regular classes might not.
There can be a certain level of prestige associated with earning a degree with honors. It can look quite impressive on a student’s resume and, at times, has been linked to a higher job placement rate.
Furthermore, having excelled in a university’s honors programs may assist students in their admissions to competitive graduate school programs.
To find out if an honors program is right for you, make sure you get a complete view of the picture. Do your research, speak with college officials and honors students, and, if you can, schedule a campus visit. There are ample benefits to college honors programs, but only you can decide if it is the right path for you.
Tiffany Sorensen is a professional tutor and contributing writer with Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
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