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.

Why Honors at La Sierra University?

The Honors Program at La Sierra University is a good choice if you want a cutting-edge curriculum, are interested in exploring different perspectives and worldviews, and are interested in a program that is committed to academic excellence, service to community, and a global perspective. The Honors Curriculum consists of a series of courses examining such topics as "The Scientific Process," "The Arts," "Changing Communities," and "Religion and the Future." Additional coursework in rhetorical skills, modern or ancient languages, and mathematics fulfill the competency requirements of the Program.

Special features of the Honors curriculum include:

  • Students complete an Honors Scholarship Project, in which they develop an original research or creative project in collaboration with faculty that is presented publicly. Many students present their projects at professional meetings, or publish them in professional journals. For some, the project has developed into graduate specialties.
  • A wide range of disciplines are represented in the program, with students and faculty from the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and professional programs.
  • An international experience is an integral part of Honors students' experiences, preparing them for global understanding and involvement.
  • A portfolio is developed documenting students' growth throughout the program, and provides a showcase of their best work when they graduate.
  • Christian thought and practice is thoughtfully examined throughout the curriculum in the context of many other philosophical, disciplinary, and historical worldviews.
  • Service and community involvement are significantly incorporated into the curriculum, with each student completing a Community Involvement Project.

Other benefits of the LSU Honors Program include:

  • Special scholarships that are awarded to students in the Honors Program (in addition to GPA-based scholarships for which Honors students are eligible).
  • Honors graduates receive a medallion and cords at graduation, as well as "University Honors Program" designation on their diplomas.
  • Special cultural and social activities are available to students in the Program.
  • An Honors Residence Hall creates an atmosphere where studying and scholarship are valued.

Both current students and alumni frequently report that the Program is a life-changing experience. Alumni report great appreciation for the "many opportunities to really discuss opinions and thoughts," and that the challenging courses have given them "a sense of accomplishment" and taught them to "look beyond what we already knew." Student evaluations often report of the challenging and transforming nature of the classes in the program: "The class allowed me to expand my horizons and become more knowledgeable and respectful of the world around me." "This is one of the few classes that I will keep in mind throughout my life. Thank you so much." "This class made me think more than any other I have ever taken. The things I learned in class have affected the way that I view everyday life."

Students who complete the Honors Program tend to do well after graduating. For example, of the students who graduated with Honors from 2003 to 2007, twelve are in Medical School, two are in Dental School, six are in Masters Programs, two are in Ph.D. Programs, two are in Law School, one is in Nursing School, and one in the Peace Corps in Bulgaria. Graduates from the program from 2007 currently include pediatricians, a neurosurgeon, a psychologist, a self-employed entrepreneur, a company vice-president, two elementary teachers, six ministers, a state legislator, and four faculty at colleges and universities.