Why Set Your Sights on a College Honors Program?
Sometimes we get our hearts set on something so intently that it becomes difficult for us to imagine other options. For instance, I want pizza so badly right now that it is difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that I have a perfectly good salad in the fridge waiting for me. In exactly the same way*, perhaps you had your heart set on Harvard and instead got into a perfectly good school that you just cannot see yourself in because all you can think about is pizza. I mean Harvard.
Let’s talk silver-linings for a minute -- one of our mottos here at Just Start is “There is more than one way to be happy.” (Seriously, it is: I think Leah even has that as an armband tattoo on her left arm, Celtic-style. But that is just hearsay.) So, if you got your heart broken by your dream school or if you feel like you don’t have any chance of getting into that dream school, maybe it’s time to find a new dream. Maybe it is time to think outside of the Ivies. Ever heard of an honors program?
Honors programs are special programs located within any given university that seek to supplement the experience of academically talented students. What are the benefits of attending an honors program, you ask? (Besides the obvious benefit of being to say that you attend the “honors” program, of course.):
- Most will offer specialized and possibly interdisciplinary course offerings that might be a little more interesting and challenging than run-of-the-mill courses.
- As a member of an honors program, you’ll be part of a smaller learning community on campus made up of other Smarties like you. At a big campus, being part of a smaller community can make a lot of (positive) difference.
- You may get the opportunity conduct an honors research project or paper in your senior year, which will be an unique opportunity to study exactly what you want to study, using all of the skills you’ve developed so far.
- You’ll probably have access to great advising from people who know how to help Smarties like you fulfill your plans and goals. This includes top-notch professors, with whom you’ll have more opportunities to work one-on-one and in small groups.
- You might also be placed in a dorm that is just for Honors students. See above for “community.”
Sure, these programs are tough to get into and, while admission to some is automatic, you may have to write an extra essay or have an additional interview for other, but they can provide excellent opportunities to students who want a smaller academic community and an extra challenge. And if you don’t get into an honors program right off the bat, don’t worry. Most majors also have their own honors programs for high achieving students come senior year, complete with major-specific seminars and more opportunities for independent research.
*No. You are right. It is not the same.
Jamie Oldham is a college admissions coach for Just Start Applications, and a pretty great gal, too. While her interests are varied (she does have a higher degree in Liberal Arts, after all), one of her great life's passions is helping students and parents through the admissions process, doling out great college and graduate school admissions tips along the way. Check out her full bio here and contact us today to get her on your team.
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Why Set Your Sights on a College Honors Program? What is a college honors program, and why is it great for academically driven students? JustStartApplications.com's Jamie Oldham takes a look.
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