Congratulations! You’ve been accepted to a college! Maybe you’re even looking at your options across multiple offers. If you’ve got great grades and high test scores, you’re probably also staring down the offer to not only enroll but to also join the Honors College.
What does that mean? And should you do it? Let’s take a closer look.
What is an Honors College?
While the name makes it sound like a completely separate institution, the “Honors College” is just a way to demarcate a particular track within the college or university where it is housed. Most institutions have an Honors College track.
Students in the Honors College are still enrolled in the same institution as students who are not part of the Honors College, but they’ll often have special privileges and access to opportunities that are reserved for Honors College students only.
What are the requirements to join an Honors College?
The requirements are going to vary from school to school, but generally speaking, they are based on markers of high academic achievement. Most Honors Colleges make admission decisions based on a range of factors including the following:
• SAT/ACT scores
• Personal Statements
• Letters of Recommendation
Many Honors Colleges use a combined metric to determine eligibility. For example, the University of Missouri’s Honors College is open to students who have an ACT score of 31 or above, an SAT score of 1390 or above, a GPA of 3.75 or above, or who have an ACT score between 28-30/SAT score of 1300-1380 and a top 20% class rank.
While the specific scores may be slightly different, this is a good representation of general eligibility requirements. Many schools also welcome students to apply if they don’t meet the eligibility requirements but feel they are still a good candidate for the Honors College. Their full application may offer a different picture of their abilities.
Also, Honors Colleges aren’t just for freshmen! Many programs are also open to transfer students.
Why Join an Honors College?
You’re already enrolling in college — do you really need to add another application to your to-do list? If you qualify, this isn’t an opportunity to pass up!
The Honors College can offer some serious benefits. Again, be sure to check out the specific details of your school, but most Honors Colleges offer some variety of the following perks:
• Unique Class Opportunities- Many Honors Colleges offer smaller, seminar-style classes reserved specifically for their students. Honors College students will often get the chance to take unique capstone projects as well.
• Scholarship Eligibility- Being a member of the Honors College will likely open up additional scholarship opportunities.
• Social Events/Activities- Many Honors Colleges have events and social activities designed to help bring Honors College students together. You can find lasting friendships and networking opportunities among like-minded students!
• Job Placement/Internships- Some Honors Colleges partner with companies to provide a clear pipeline from graduation to the workplace.
• Priority Registration- Many Honors Colleges offer their students first pick when it comes to class registration. This can be the difference between being stuck with an 8am class or getting a prime choice of one that fits your schedule!
• Special Housing Opportunities- Many institutions have special dorms and apartments reserved for Honors College students.
• Flexibility in Class Requirements- Some institutions offer Honors College students more flexibility in substituting general education courses or making amendments to their degree requirements.
Take Advantage of Your Opportunities
The bottom line is that an Honors College membership opens more doors and gives you more options. If you’ve already done the hard work of showcasing your academic talents in a way that has made you eligible for this unique experience, there’s no reason not to join!