Why an Honors Education?
Why should you consider joining an Honors Program if you qualify for one? After all, can't you earn a degree without one, and won't it just mean that you take some harder classes?
Although Honors classes are sometimes harder, that is not the main feature of Honors Programs. Here are some of the reasons you should consider Honors education:
Different, not harder. Honors classes are different than most general education classes because they have more discussion and less lecture, more opportunities for students to be creative, and fewer "spit-back" exams. In most Honors Programs, Honors classes aren't harder versions of non-Honors classes, they are completely different classes designed for students who are highly capable and motivated.
Challenging and interesting classes. Every student brings a different background to his or her classes. For a student who has a strong academic background, many classes may be boring. By meeting students at their level, Honors classes are more interesting and challenging.
Making a Difference. Many Honors Programs are designed to prepare students to make a difference in the world, through leadership, service to the community, and skills they can bring to their professions. Honors alumni tend to make a difference in the world.
Satisfaction. Students in Honors Programs are more likely to complete college, and more likely to complete college at the school where they started, than students not in Honors Programs. Students find Honors Programs very satisfying.
Small classes. Classes in Honors Programs are usually smaller than other general education classes. This gives students a chance to get to know their faculty and their classmates--both of which help them learn and understand the material better.
Friendships. Because of the smaller, discussion-oriented classes, along with the extracurricular activities that are often parts of Honors Programs, Honors students tend to make friends with other Honors students. And because students tend to study with their friends, Honors students tend to study with Honors students--leading to less peer pressure to not study. It's interesting that one of the best ways to predict someone's college GPA is to know the GPA of his or her friends.
Preparation for graduate or professional school. The small, discussion-oriented classes prepare students for graduate programs (where that is the norm). They also give students the communication and critical-thinking skills that prepare them for graduate and professional schools.
Standing out from the crowd. Many students applying for jobs, graduate programs or professional programs have high GPA's. But few participate in Honors Programs. Choosing to take classes that are more advanced also indicates that the students applying are willing to go the extra mile--which is a characteristic employers and graduate/professional schools like.
Cost. Honors Programs allow students to get an education comparable with ivy-league schools, at a fraction of the cost. Many Honors Programs also have special scholarships available.