Honors Programs: Are They Worth The Hassle?

by Judge Josh on July 19, 2010

Honors programs — lots of schools have them, but are they worth the extra work you have to put in for the designation? My answer is the usual — “it depends.” Depends on what you want to do with your life and what you expect the honors programs to actually do for you.

Mike’s wondering the same thing right now. Should he stick with the honors program even if it means an additional semester or two of college, or should he drop it and graduate on time?

This one makes sense to me, because you have to assume an honor student's brain would be much more rich and flavorful to a zombie.

Hey Josh,

Thanks for your blog, I really enjoy reading it.

You’re welcome, good sir. And not as much as I enjoy writing it!

Here’s my situation: I’m a Theology major who wants to be a pastor or a bible teacher, whatever position becomes available first. To be a bible teacher at a private school I have to take all the same teaching classes as any other teacher. The problem is, I have two years left and so many schedule conflicts that it’s actually pretty hard to complete the teacher education program in undergraduate unless I drop Honors Program.

Drop it like it’s hot! (FORESHADOWING ALERT!) OK, I guess that’s just an outright spoiler.

I’m really nervous about dropping Honors, though, because I also want to pursue a PhD in religion so I can become a professor but would like some pastoral experience before I teach pastors.

More on the details in a second, but you will not irreparably harm your ability to get into a Ph.D program by dropping the honors program as an undergraduate. Honors programs are cool in that they let you voluntarily hold yourself to a higher academic standard, and sure, that’d definitely look nice on grad-school application. But doing an honors program isn’t the only way to get into grad school, so don’t worry about that.

Anyways, I’m assuming that being an honors student will give me an extra boost for when I am applying for graduate schools for my doctorate.


Right. Agreed.

I’m not worried about masters level because I know the schools I want to attend for a masters degree aren’t tough to get into. The schools I want to attend for my doctorate, however, are probably difficult to get into.

Well, remember — college (and everything else, too, really) is all about “what have you done for me LATELY?” What you’ve done most recently outshines what you did way back when by a factor of five, at least. For you, that means that how you fare in the master’s program you complete will far outshine whatever you do or don’t do in undergraduate school.

The theory also holds true regarding high school activities when you’re trying to get a job or get into a master’s program. High school activities were important on an undergrad application because — well, that was your most recent stuff, your most recent level of achievement. But by the time you’re ready to go to grad school or to get a job, no one cares about what you did in high school anymore. Instead, we want to know how you did in undergrad school — again, your most recent level of study and achievement.

The older the achievement (or infraction, as the case may be) — the less it matters to anyone. Words to live by, trust me.

So anyway — don’t worry about a Ph.D program not wanting you because you didn’t do the honors program. Just kick ass in your master’s program and you’ll be fine.

Right now I’m looking at Wheaton College (I believe they admit 4 students per year) and a colloquium of universities and seminaries that include Princeton Theological Seminary, also a tough program to get into.

Those are tough odds, for sure. Thing is, though, the part about you wanting to be a teacher or pastor is immediate and real and, with certainty, you want that. With a Ph.D, though, it’s different — it’s a little further off on the horizon and there remains a fair chance that, however enthusiastic you may be about it now, you may change your mind later.

Who knows? You may enjoy teaching so much that you want a Ph.D in education, or you want to just teach the same class forever, or you want to be a superintendent, etc. Possibilities are endless once you get rolling in real life.

Because of that, my rule is to bank on the bankable — do what you need to do in order to get that pastor/teaching job that you want and need right now, and then let life unfold a bit, after which you can re-focus on that Ph.D if you choose to do so.

What do you suggest? Should I keep my honors and work harder (16-18 credit semesters instead of 12 credit semesters), spend some more money (about $2,000), or should I make life simple and just do general ed. classes?

Well, having said all of the above, it just kinda depends on your abilities and what you’re comfortable with, and how badly you personally want that honors program certificate. If you can roll with 16-18 credit semesters and you really want it, then go for it.

However, the tone of your email sounds like you think that’d be pushing it, and if that’s the case, I don’t see any real harm done by not completing the honors program.

For the rest of you reading this who are considering or are already doing an honors program, here’s the deal: those programs are great in that they show you’ve got initiative to challenge yourself. No denying that.

However, in terms of whether they’ll help you get a job, it’s really kind of a crapshoot. The problem is, employers don’t really know what they entail. They vary widely from school to school.

At some places, honors-program students are taking the same classes as everyone else, except they’re an “honors” version that maybe requires an extra couple of research papers or something similar. At others, there are extra, separate courses involved, and perhaps even more extras outside the classroom.

We just don’t know. And if we don’t know, then we’re pretty much left to give you that extra prestige based upon our own sense of awe at your having completed an “Honors” program/certificate/whatever, and that sense of awe varies a great deal from person to person.

That’s my two cents for the day. What about you honors programs students, teachers, rejects, etc. — what say you? Let us know in the comments below.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie Reynolds July 19, 2010 at 2:34 pm

All I have to say is this. I can’t speak for the States, but I’m doing an MA in English in Ontario right now and, when I was applying for grad school, EVERY grad school I looked at in Canada (and I looked at a lot of them) REQUIRED an honours BA for their MA and PhD programs. And I’m not just talking English here; I’m talking the official regulations in the universities’ grad studies calendars (meaning those regulations apply to all programs).

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Melissa July 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Drop the honors program if not doing it better suits your needs. My honors programs is a joke, so I definately agree about you never know what you are going to get, and that’s how employers will judge you. I tell incoming freshmen trying to decide whether they should try it to give it a semester, or a year, and if it suits you you will know. College is about making yourself look good and learning what you need to know to get where you want to go. If being in the honors program will stress you too much, it will bring your other grades down. End point, it won’t help you get where you need to. Do what will make you look best in the end while allowing you to enjoy college. We have our whole lives to work and stress, enjoy the time you spend learning in college instead of stressing about being in a program you really don’t have room for. Don’t burn yourself out. I had to make a decision about whether I had room for a sport I have lived on for years (Honors is the next to go, if I absolutely have to). Making that decision gives me the time to focus on my major and on really learning and enjoying what I am learning. I worried about what quitting would say about me until I realized that terrible grades would say something a lot more powerful. Make the decisions that will make you look the best in the end. Make sense?

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Anonymous July 19, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Try doing honors in your discipline instead of just a general honors program. It’s better and will still give you the ‘honors’ degree.

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Silvia July 19, 2010 at 3:41 pm

The Honors Program at any school involves additional work to the load of classes a student already holds. If the semester gets tough, the easier option would be to drop the Honors Program, but what would graduate schools think then? When times get harder does Mike drop everything, even the class he must take in order to graduate? All in all, harder or not, the decision is yours. Though, how would you explain it to admission representatives when they find out you dropped the Honors Program due to hardship? Would they see it the way you do or would they think that you cannot take a little more work when it comes your way?

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Joel July 19, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Remember that “honors” varies by country, too. You mentioned American schools, where honors is usually just a bit of extra work. If you were in another country, honors could be a completely different degree with an extra year of study, which I think explains Annie’s comment above about grad schools requiring it.

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Ester K July 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm

I would say keep the honors program. If it gets unbearable, then drop it. otherwise keep it. challenge yourself. I was in the honors program, it was really tough. My mom was sick at the time undergoing surgeries for a malignant cancer. I’m in med school right now. She passed away a few months ago, just around the corner when I had to take my level 1 boards. I risked it and sat for it. worst part was there was a glitch in the exam. I could probably ask to retake it. but I wanna know how I did. so I want it graded. grades coming out this week. hoping I passed! but that’s just the thing I’m trying to say. Do Your Best. Do Take A Risk. You’re faced with a situation, don’t turn away unless you really can’t or you’re forced to in some big way. Keep it. It just looks that much better on your applications. and in the end, you will feel proud. and you can always explain a failure from what my counselor told me today. He told me that the people that get to interview you later very much like when the student can take ownership of their failure and not blame it on circumstances–just so long as the next one is passed. It shows you overcame that obstacle. and are prepared for the job. :) Good luck

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Lori July 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm

I was recently accepted into the Honor’s Program at my college. Here we have to take 5 courses with the honor’s section and get a 3.0 or above for it to count for the semester. We also are required to attend at least 5 cultural events and write about them to get credit. We also must take an introductory course and finish with a Senior thesis project. For me personally, the Honor’s Program is one of my goals. It isn’t something I want to do to get a job–although I believe it will look better on my resume. I want to do it to be a more well-rounded student. In my opinion, if a person is joining purely for the possibility of landing a better job, I recommend not to, however, if you want to really get some valuable information out of it and thrive on working hard for your own benefit, then it should be something to look into. That is just my take on it. Good luck!

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Sarah July 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Though I was offered the chance, I opted to not do an honors program in undergrad for a number of reasons. When it came to grad school (in education as well, though not the same area), I applied to 4 programs, 3 of which are very, very hard to get into. I only got rejected from 1, and that school only accepts 2 students per year. Though I occasionally regret not doing the honors program–simply because people assume my underad major, theatre, was “easy” (it was not–I was on campus at least 12 hours a day, more than the engineering students)–it did not hurt me when it came to graduate school.

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miss O July 19, 2010 at 4:42 pm

My friend was in a similar situation last semster. She had been in the Honors Program for 2 years and had taken all the classes and done all the extra work to fulfill her Honors requirements. However, she discovered that there were certain courses she needed to take before graduating, if she wanted a shot at getting into any of the pharnacy schools she’d been dreaming of. I mean I was sad she was leaving Honors (cos i’m still in it), but I understood where she was coming from. In the end, the only reason she’s doing undergrad is to increase her chances of getting into pharm school. That’s her primary goal and what she should always put first.

Same goes to you.Drop Honors so that you can take your teaching classes and do what you’re really passionate about. To those that say it’ll look bad, just remember that admissions committees dont expect you to be perfect and they understand that humans beings encounter different circumstances. If you’re asked about why you dropped Honors, be honest: You wanted to dedicate more time to things you were more passionate about, plus the extra year would have stretched you financially. Any admissions officer for any program will admire your sincerity and passion. After all, there are people who are praised today for dropping out of school to pursue their dreams. So in the end, it comes down to how you’re able to explain it. even the worst things can be put in positive light if you’re able to reveal somethng worthwhile about yourself in the process.
Good luck and God bless.

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Bethany C July 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm

So on the part where you want to go to grad school after doing a couple years of real life—whatever it is that you’re going to do after undergrad until you apply to grad school is going to stand out more on your application. And if you get into the master’s program as easily as you think you will, then what you do then will overshadow whatever you did as an undergrad. So I agree with Josh in that it’s your perogative to do the honors program.

For me, I chose to go to the school I did BECAUSE I was admitted to the honors program. And I don’t mind the occasional suffering because I’m a sucker for the prestige it offers, and because when I put it on applications for things like scholarships and jobs, good things almost always happen. But the honors program at my school is significantly more flexible than it is at others, or so I’ve come to learn. So I guess it’s what YOU get out of your honors program that makes it worth the keep or gets a kick.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

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Heather July 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I did honors for a year at my school, it’s a neat program. We require three seminar classes, a few more honors classes that count for gen ed, one or two in your department, some kind of study abroad experience, and an honors thesis. However I am a music education and percussion performance major doing 18 hours a semester ect. So I quickly realized that it just wasn’t for me. Honestly as a music major for grad school they want someone who can play, honors doesn’t matter much no matter what program it is.

So I dont’ know exactly what you have to do to go to seminary as far as any skills you have to show or whatnot. I could imagine though that seeing involvement or even a step further – leadership in campus ministries, interning at a church for a summer, going on mission trips especially out of the country, ect is going to interest them a lot more than an honors program. So I would take 12 hour semesters and then get really involved with the things that matter more toward your major.

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Allie July 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm

You should be able to graduate w/ honours regardless of whether you’re in some sanctioned honours program. Drop the program and kick ass in your classes. Then you can graduate w/ honours, w/o torturing yourself and spending the extra cash.

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Cassidy July 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm

For your situation (theology) I suggest dropping the honors program, you do not sound very enthused about it.

However, for the rest of you- there are some great honors programs out there. There are ones that give you personalized attention and a published thesis (if not more) at the end of your four years. There are others that require only a few extra fluff classes and you get nothing else from them- those are worthless except on your resume. If you want a good program ask how high the student to faculty ratio is, how many students there are in the biggest class, who your advisers are, how can you get published, and how many students pursue higher education. If they can’t answer these questions off the back don’t bother (p.s- i think this would apply to any school not just honors programs).

I attend the Honors College at Florida Atlantic University and we are unique in our structure. We are the only honors college in FL built from the ground up and the only one that offers a liberal arts education in an all honors situation (Education article). That is a true honors education that will prepare you for grad school (former students even mention how easy grad school is since they took HC courses. If you want a real honors education (shameless plug) look up http://www.honorscollege.edu

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Justin July 19, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Whats the rush? Why do you need to teach sooner then later, you have the rest of your life? Unless you really hate school. If you really plan on taking the effort to pursue a doctorate degree, then it should be no problem taking the time to finish honors. A PhD is not about money but about the pursuit of knowledge (and hopefully passing it on to others). If you are interested in learning and you value knowledge, then honors will be fulfilling. If you want to go to graduate school then the extra work from honors will eventually become forgotten in the long and arduous quest for the Doctorate of Philosophy. On the other hand, if you are merely interested in graduating so you can make money and live a comfortable life, then forget about honors. As far as teaching, whats the rush. You can teach whether you take one year to graduate or ten years.

Now for the theoretical:
Theology is not a vocational study, nor are most liberal arts degrees, and despite the current discourse which sees college as a sort of workforce factory (where young men and women come in and a productive population pops out), education is also a means in itself. We can go to college simply because we want to be educated (not just because society expects us to) and being educated also has the potential to make us better stewards of our world, but only if we value this education. Unfortunately college today neither helps productivity nor produces a more responsible population, but instead merely increases our quality of life and makes us more wasteful. Going to college puts us in a higher social class, makes us wealthier and makes our lives easier. It does all of these things but does not increase productivity, this is a fallacy. If we look at is statistically, yes, college graduates make more money, but we also become less productive. College grads spend less time in a day working and more time on leisure. Countries with a more educated population have shorter work days and export their labor to other countries. More educated populations also require more energy per capita. Essentially meaning that if you go to college more labor must be produced overseas to sustain you. We actually become a drain on world productivity, and in a very unsustainable way. We no longer use our time to produce for ourselves but use time to produce intangible services. At the same time we demand more tangible production. So now oversea labor must produce more to maintain our new educated lifestyle, which creates a international citizenry underclass.

Now if we actually use this education and apply it, instead of merely reaping the benefits of the social status, we might actually become better stewards. Being educated gives you the ability to critically examine problems and develop solutions (which roughly sums up the Phi Beta Kappa take on a liberal arts education). I pursue knowledge because I see a solution, not because I see riches and gold. I did honors for undergraduate because I felt the knowledge and would gain from the extra work was a noble pursuit.

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Miranda July 19, 2010 at 10:14 pm

I honestly think you should keep your honors classes. This past spring, I took 4 regular class and 3 honors classes. It was tough but I made some good grades. All the extra work was just either a presentation or a report and we just have to do better on our exams then the regular classes do. Taking honors classes is good in your future education and plus it makes you look like a person who is very academic in the eyes of college who seek students whoworks hard.

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Anna July 20, 2010 at 3:06 am

I’m in the University honors program at my college, and I also intend to graduate with latin honors provided I can keep my gpa at a 3.75 by graduation. For my honors program, we have to take honors seminars and complete a research project. The honors program also gave me a large scholarship so I could study abroad, which I took advantage of. It’s going to be hard to graduate with the honors program because I already maintain 18 credits a semester on average and need to add my honors classes yet, but I think it will be worth it. I really enjoy the high achieving environment that the honors program provides and it pushes me to do even more. For me, 16-18 credits is what I prefer, but if you’d rather not then I don’t think dropping honors is a huge deal either.

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Ross July 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

I was admitted into the Honors program at my college, but I rejected the offer. As a music education major, I have to take music core classes and all the education classes (kind of like your situation). There are no Honors Music courses, and the program would only require more research and homework in other areas like the classics—areas that, for me personally, had nothing to do with what I wanted to get out of my education. Not only that, but it is difficult enough to complete my general liberal arts requirements. There has never been mention of having an honors degree in order to get into graduate schools.

My suggestion would be what you feel you will actually LEARN from your honors coursework. Is it something you’re interested in? Will it add depth to your knowledge of your degree? Or would you prefer to stay focused in your degree and avoid extra material and save yourself a few thousand dollars?

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Mike July 20, 2010 at 10:57 am

Hey,

Glad to see my question was answered. Thanks Josh!

Thanks everyone for the comments, as well. They are very helpful.
I thought I should mention that my honors program is a replacement of many general education requirements. It is 50 credit or so program of actual classes, 21 credits of which are unique to the honors program (the rest are the same in requirements to the general education). I have already fulfilled a lot of general education requirements, however, so they are letting me complete honors for 15 credits, the minimum needed to graduate with honors at my school. That allows me to take the majority of honors classes, the only classes missed being ones that study religion, but on a lower level than I have gained in my theology program, so I haven’t missed much. The problem is, if I stay with general education classes I have less classes since I have done so many classes in general education already, which is why I’m considering dropping honors.

Anyways, the reason I’m in a rush is because I have enough funds for 4 semesters, the exact amount of semesters I need to finish all my requirements. I suppose it doesn’t matter WHEN I do these semesters, but I might as well finish now while I’m on an academic role.

Hope that clarifies! :)

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Michelle July 20, 2010 at 11:16 am

After HS I attended my dream school, and entered into the honors program. It is already hard enough at most schools to get in all the credits and classes you need and juggle the varying times the classes are offered at, but the very first semester of the program this class was offered at a time that conflicted with a HUGE number of major classes I needed to take. And because it was “honors” there was a specific professor that was the only one to teach us. She was well-learned in science, so though it was the required gen ed english class, we were reading science articles. The supposed beauty of this particular school’s gen ed program was that though there were specific classes you had to take, each section of the class was a different topic, so you could choose an english class that would be somewhat interesting to you. The honors program completely took this option away from us, and I hated the class, whereas I normally love english.

Another thing about honors is that you have to jump through hoops and be so great to get in, but in all honesty I did not think my fellow peers in the program were all that fantastic. There was a girl who got drunk and locked herself out of her room and needed the cops to show up to help her. There were people dressed as pirates fighting with plastic swords in the hallway at 3am. I thought being in this program would be a good experience, but I ended up withdrawing from the college after a month because I was so miserable.

To sum it up- I don’t think honors programs are worth it. You’ll probably end up with lower grades because of the harder classes and increased workload, and the stress of making it all fit in, and that is going to cancel out the benefits that you may get by having an honors program listed on your application.

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Patty July 20, 2010 at 1:02 pm

I did the Honors program at my college and to be honest, it was a lot easier than taking gen ed classes. By taking our honors core courses we were excused from many of the other gen ed classes. For my honors degrees in chemistry and biochemistry, I had to write a senior thesis and maintain a 3.5 GPA. It did not require much more work on my part; I feel that if I had taken gen ed classes, I would have had to do more work simply because I had to take more classes. It is a good opportunity for you to do honors since many students do not even get admitted into the honors program. If you can handle it, do it. It shows you are willing to challenge yourself and you have the ability to work in a high stress environment and do it well. Take a look at the honors classes. The ones offered at my college for the core courses provided a different perspective on many of the world’s issues and expanded my knowledge. I feel that it truly contributed to my college experience as a whole. If you feel that you can get something out of your honors program, then go for it. Good luck!

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Marie July 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

wow… I truly had no idea honours was such a big deal! I’m a Canadian student (maybe that’s the difference) in an honours program and I have no idea what makes it bigger or better than just a mainstream degree… I just went for it coz it sounded good haha. Definitely no extra papers or anything involved. Makes me feel like I’m being cheated to know that my “honours” program isn’t as honourable as others out there!
And that’s a tough situation… but if I were you I’d drop the honours title and focus on the teaching. In the end, education should be about what you learn, not about what it’s called. By paring down your course load you’ll be able to focus on the classes that you have and do really well in those… adding a couple extra courses would add a lot of stress, and burnout really has a dream-killing effect (found that out by experience). Focus on learning as much as you can and doing good things with it, and less on what it’s called and how others will judge for it.
If, in x number of years, you’re still really interested in the phD thing, go for it. Your most recent experiences will speak louder than that little word attached to your phd.

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stefan July 20, 2010 at 1:47 pm

PhD programs don’t care that much about honors. They only care about how well you’re doing in their particular field. Yeah, honors might give you a little something extra in your CV, but I don’t think it’s a huge factor. At least for psychology PhD programs (what I’m looking into), the most important factor is undergrad research experience. If you have honors but no research experience, don’t expect to get into an even decent PhD program.

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Abby July 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm

In general I support honors programs. If you can handle the tougher general coursework and more writing-intensive program, then there are a number of benefits both for your career and for your own general well-roundedness. It was through the honors program that I got to take Game Theory seminar as well as a Star Trek seminar, which were surprisingly enlightening. But ultimately it’s not as big a factor in your future as you might think. You have to be passionate about the work and you have to get experiences from it that set you apart. Just telling the grad school rep that you were in the honors program won’t help much unless you can tell them what it meant to you.

When I decided in my senior year that I wanted to teach, I had to pack a lot of coursework into a short time and no longer had time to complete the thesis required to graduate with honors. Not a big deal to me. So I don’t get to graduate with honors, but I had great experiences and I found my real passion. I am excelling in my education program, and I choose part-time work related to teaching, and those two things matter way more to school administrators than the fact that I took more writing-intensive gen eds and a Star Trek seminar.

I guess what I’m saying is that the program itself doesn’t matter nearly as much as what you do with it. Get the most you can out of whatever courses you take; build good relationships with your professors; and if you take the lighter courseload, I highly recommend picking up some volunteer or work experience that allows you to put your classroom learning into practice. The experience you are looking to have before attempting the PhD may also improve your chances at acceptance to a PhD program, but you definitely can’t be slacking on your own lifetime learning while you are gaining that experience.

On that note, however, I must agree with Stefan that research experience is important if you are serious about that PhD. Honors students tend to be first in line and first-informed about research opportunities on campus, If you lose that advantage you have to work double-time building relationships with your professors so that they either think of you when they need help with their research or are willing to help you with your own research interests.

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Hope July 20, 2010 at 6:10 pm

An Honors program is what you make of it…granted, yes it’s extra work, but yea there’s plenty of times you’re going to have put in “extra work.” I’m currently in an Honors program at the University of Guelph-Humber. All of the programs there are that way: they’re set up so that you can’t possible NOT graduate without an Honors degree. They’re all four year programs with no extra semester or otherwise required. But because of this, we have to put in just as much, if not more depending on how you look at it, work as another student would doing a different Honors program at say, York University. It really just depends on you. That kind of decision doesn’t just effect you academically, but there’s finances if you have to pay for an extra semester, time, energy, and of course the idea that you have to graduate “on-time.” What does that even mean? Is there a set date that people have to graduate? …Anyway, an Honors program isn’t for everyone, some people just want an Undergraduate degree and call it a day. Some masters programs require you to have an Honors program, so you have that to consider if you’re going into one. In the end, it’s your choice.

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Brandie July 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I do not recommend you dropping the honors program. I am currently in the honors program at the university I attend and I have questioned it as well. I, myself am pursuing Pre-Medicine which as you know, requires years and years of schooling. I currently have 3 program requirements including my major and the honors program. Yes, it is extra work and you will have to devote more time to the honors curriculum but in the end, it will be worthwhile. I look forward to graduating with honors which in my opinion sets me apart from others. Being in honors illustrates that you can balance your core classes from your specific program requirements as well as the courses the honors program offers. This not only shows your diligence and intellectual abilities, but it also demonstrates your willingness to stay focused on your studies. The honors program is designed for people who can endure it, which in turn is why it may seem like an overload that ties into your studies and/or leisure time. However, if you continue the Honors program, it would be worthwhile. In addition, postgraduate institutions look highly of students that have been in the honors program in college because like I stated before, it demonstrates more about you than just your intellectual abilities. I hope I helped. Also, if you are worried about not finishing in time, you should probably discuss it with your advisor if you haven’t already.

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Chris Baker July 20, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Honor programs are usually more about the experience than anything. Usually schools throw in a few perks to make people feel special, but really, the honor’s college acts something like a gpa stabilizer for the college. By holding a group of individuals to a higher standard (with threats of taking away their specialness), the college can help itself out statistically speaking. That being said, the experience is often a very good one if you have a college with a good honor program (ie: a bad one requiring the same courses, but with an H. in front of them and a good one requiring advanced study in multiple fields (not just the focus field, which is what yours sounds like)). I’ve been a part of two very different honor programs, the first at ball state, which was an amazing program, 1/2 tuition paid for four years, check out library books for 7 months with no penalties, live in a sweet dorm with other nerds, it was the life! Now at Purdue, the honors program is just taking 18 credit hours of courses with an H. in front of them. That H. is supposed to imply that the courses where more enriching that the average course (although the whole scale of enrichment is often quite disturbed). Anywho, if you’re in it for the experience and you like the perks, go for it! If not, nobody will notice that you didn’t do the honors program (except you, which might be motivation enough!)

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Pearl July 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

You should stick with the honors program! It’s not about when you graduate but that you graduate knowing you pushed yourself to the extreme!!

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Michele July 25, 2010 at 12:25 pm

The honors program out my school has an option to make any class an honors class. Now you do have to get the professor to agree to taking on the extra time to spend with you, but between you and the professor you draw up a plan for the class and what objectives you will meet. The additional $700 per semester more than covers my tuition and books for any honors class I take. The skills I learn, the relationships I build with the school and staff are invaluable to me. Being able to call on anyone at the college for a recommendation letter or call helps when trying to get into certain programs.

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Carolyn August 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm

I’ve heard the same as Annie here–although, I’m also going to school in Ontario, so it may be different there. I’m starting my undergrad this fall, and they encouraged people to do an honours program so you would be able to get into grad school if you ever wanted to in the future; I think in a lot of cases it’s a requirement.

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Michele August 30, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Stay with the honors. I am in the honors program at my school and the scholarship alone pays for my honors classes. I also believe the recommendations I get from the professors I work closely with on projects earns me more scholarship money, first pick for certain programs and experience to add to my resume. When it comes time to seek out graduate school, I think my resume showing the projects I worked on and/or created puts me to an advantage as a leader and hard worker. From the other post, I see some schools the honors program is not that big of a deal, but many of our honors students are published, recognized and rewarded outside of the honors program, making it an elite program to be included in. So I guess it would make a difference if the honors program at your school is of that caliber.

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Devin September 13, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I’m doing my honors in self-leadership (basically life coaching)… Unlike any other honors program you’ll find since it’s self-directed and will help you tremendously in finding your calling. I would not be doing my honors otherwise since i’m not going to grad school

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Drew November 5, 2010 at 1:45 am

I’ve Completed my BA in Australia ( just finished yay!!) and have been accepted into Honours. Honours in Australia is an additional Year. So all of 2011 :(

What do I have to do in my Honours Year:

a) Two course subjects ,usually semester 1
b) 20,000 word Thesis due by the end of semester two.

In short Honours…is a lot of Work….But Graduating BA(Hons) makes it almost a certain to get into any MA course or a Post Grad course like LAW.

So 2011 I’m doing my Honours year.

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Toks August 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

Yeah, it is a bit different in Canadian universities. For example, Honours is expected if not compulsory to do a Master’s. As well a normal Bachelor’s is 3 years (at most universities), Honours BA is 4 years. In my university, you have to do more higher level major courses (in my case polisci) and if your GPA drops enough you can be kicked out of the Honours program.

I go to York University. However I attend Glendon College and there are more degree options here than just Hon or BA so my official degree title is Bilingual Specialized BA Honours in Political Science which is more work for sure, but sets you apart.

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Ivy October 21, 2011 at 9:59 am

Wow, I didn’t think that honor programs in the states had that much impact in students. Then again not all programs are the same. I actually support them because of the seminars, internships and they also make a good impression in your student record. Although not many people take associations into account, social skills and prior work experience are much more important. I wasn’t really aware of the 16-18 credits and additional classes. Over here in P.R. we’re usually expected to complete 12-15 credits of our chosen profession and attend at least 2-3 seminars each semester, while maintaining a 3.00-3.30 GPA. Stipend for books and personal costs are included. A student may take up to 5-6 years to graduate. It’s really surprising to be able to compare programs from around the world here :)

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