In the Know
So your child is considering an honors program or college. What are the things you need to know?
•Get a reputable guide and look at the overall institution — not just the honors component. Ask yourself if the institution as a whole has the type of programs the student is interested in exploring.
•Ask what your child’s comfort level is. Will she need a smaller, more supportive environment or is she autonomous and independent enough to thrive on a big campus?
•Of course, if your child is really ambivalent or wants to keep his options open, a quality honors college can offer the best of both worlds. Check out the institution’s Web site and compare to the Peterson’s (Guide to Honors Programs and Colleges) for a more objective look. Remember that programs at smaller schools, like Davidson and Bowdoin, will be more challenging and will offer more undergrad research opportunities, while those at large state universities will tend to be more affordable and more diverse.
•And last, but certainly not least, consider affordability. Your child’s dream institution may be out of reach financially while the honors college at the next one down the list may be both highly reputable and affordable.
— Source: Dr. Peter Sederberg
Arizona State University
Barrett Honors College
Dr. Mark Jacobs, Dean
Size of Honors College (HC) – 2,700
Size of Institution – 52,759 as of fall 2003
Date Founded – 1988
Requirements to get in – High school GPA (based on 16 competency courses), high-school class rank and performance on the SAT or ACT, essay, optional letters of recommendation (helpful). Average SAT/ACT scores are 1280/28, and average GPA is 3.8.
Requirements to stay in – Overall 3.4 GPA, with a thesis or creative project for graduation.
Perks and benefits – Study abroad in the United Kingdom, France, central Europe and Latin America; priority at pre-registration; HC faculty; peer advising, academic major advising and honors discipline advising programs; 8 residence halls and a complex of facilities including classrooms, computer labs, faculty and administrative offices, an advising center and a lounge and café.
HC percent minority – 16.2%
Institution percent minority – 22%
Can regular students take honors courses? Sometimes a few slots are open, but generally no.
Other facts — In 2003, 173 Merit Scholars, No. 3 for public, No. 7 overall, including Ivy League schools. In 2002, named one of the top five “Hot and Trendy” universities by Kaplan/Newsweek College Catalog; report cited Barrett Honors College, ASU’s undergraduate research program and the weather. Barrett Honors College students and graduates have received 46 Fulbrights, 25 Goldwater Scholarships, 13 Truman Scholarships and, since 1995, 11 Marshall Scholarships and 3 Rhodes Scholarships.
The Honors College
at Miami-Dade College
Dr. Alexandria Holloway, Dean
Size of HC – 238 in fall 2003
Size of Institution – 59,868 credit students and 91,631 total students in fall 2003
Date Founded – Fall 2002. An honors program preceded the college.
Requirements to get in – Minimum combined SAT/ACT score of 1200/26 or minimum combined Computerized Placement Test (CPT) score of 300; grade point average of 3.7; three letters of recommendation; essay on an assigned topic; personal interview.
Requirements to stay in — 3.5 GPA and completion of 36 HC credits.
Perks and benefits – small, interactive classes; study-travel opportunities; generous scholarships; individualized educational plan; campus leadership roles; resource and technology labs; university transfer counseling; internship or service learning assignment related to field of study; recognition on transcript and diploma and at commencement.
HC percent minority – 87%
Institution percent minority – 90% of credit students.
Can regular students take courses? Not at this time.
Other facts – After receiving their associate’s degrees, HC graduates have transferred to elite schools such as Georgia Tech, Cornell, University of Texas, Parsons School of Design, Georgetown, Smith College and many others.
Jackson State University
W.E.B Du Bois Honors College
Dr. Maria Luisa Alvarez Harvey, Dean
Size of HC – 500
Size of Institution – Approximately 8,000
Date Founded – 1980, but Jackson State has always had an honors program
Requirements to get in – freshman or sophomore standing; for entering freshmen, minimum ACT Composite score of 21 or SAT equivalent and high school grade point average of B+, valedictorians or salutatorians; for currently enrolled sophomores and transfer students, minimum overall grade point average of 3.5 in work undertaken at the university or college level.
Requirements to stay in – B average
Can regular students take courses? If they have a 3.5 or close to it, juniors and seniors otherwise qualified may enroll in honors courses and receive credit for honors work completed.
Perks and benefits – Scholarships; honors dormitory; smaller classes and challenging colloquia; honors advising; job placement through the co-op program; special recognition at graduation and honors hall of fame.
Other facts – Close to 100 percent admission rate to medical, law, engineering or graduate school programs; stresses cooperation and bonding over competition.
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