The Honors College: Deciding If It’s Right For You

A majority of high schools offer Advanced Placement and Honors classes that provide students with a more rigorous education. However, these types of programs aren’t limited to high school. Students who want to take Honors courses in college also have the option. 

Through Honors College programs, undergraduate students can continue to challenge themselves academically. Honors Colleges can be found at institutions of higher education all over the country. These programs are meant for highly motivated students who want to achieve more during their four years of undergraduate education. 

There are pros and cons to entering an Honors College, which we’ll discuss here. This way, you can figure out if Honors College is the right choice for you!

What is an Honors College?

Students with stellar grades and high SAT or ACT scores are often invited to join Honors Colleges. Honor Colleges are not independent academic institutions, but programs that operate within an existing university. Think of them as another college on campus like the Business School, College of Liberal Arts, and College of Sciences. 

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 The benefits of joining an Honors College are vast. Not only are you provided with higher quality education and some of the most rigorous academic programs in the country, but students at Honors Colleges also have advantages over other students when it comes to securing scholarships and jobs. We’ll get into the benefits of these colleges in the next section of the post. 

What Are The Benefits of Applying to Honor Colleges?

There is a range of benefits that students can gain from applying to and participating in an honors college. Keep reading to see what makes Honors Colleges stand out from other academic programs.  

Class Sizes Are Smaller 

Honors Colleges tend to have smaller class sizes. While larger classes in regular colleges do have their benefits, sitting with hundreds of students can make it harder to focus on the material you are learning. It also makes it hard to get any type of one-on-one attention from your professor. 

Honors College can be the better choice for students who want a more personal college experience, where their education is prioritized, especially if you want to get to know your classmates better and talk with your professors more often while attending a larger university. 

You Will Save Money

This isn’t an obvious benefit at first, but Honors College students often save a lot of money, getting a quality university education that is comparable to private top-ranked universities but paying tuition rates for a public university. 

You Get Priority When Registering For Classes

Not all Honors Colleges give their students priority registration, but most do. Priority registration is great for students at larger universities who want to take popular courses that can be hard to enroll in. 

Registering for classes can be a major stress point for many students, especially with so many students vying for the same classes. You want to sign up for the classes that you need so you can graduate on time and get into classes that interest you personally. Luckily Honors students can often sign up first!

Honor Students Have Their Own Residential Halls

Honors students are often given the option to live at Honors College residence halls. Not only are you provided with designated living space, but you get a unique college experience that is unlike a typical dorm. 

Students moving into honor college residence halls will meet other ambitious Honors students who share the same passions and interests in education. And because this is a more close-knit community, you’re more likely to have classes with your dormmates.

Honor Students Are Provided With Additional Resources and Support

Honors programs often require extra work and dedication. Students have to prove that they are motivated to grow both inside and outside the classroom. While it may be more work, these colleges offer a different level of support for their students. 

There are tons of resources to help students in Honors programs stay on track academically. Honors students can meet with academic advisors to discuss coursework and develop theses for graduation. There is also tons of support for students who want to go to graduate school or find a job immediately after school.

Other colleges on campus do provide these services, but since Honor Colleges are smaller and more selective, you will receive more attention and dedicated support as you pursue your goals. 

Students Graduate With Honors 

In addition to the other benefits we listed, students who graduate from an Honors College get a special distinction on their diploma. Students in other colleges can receive distinctions with Honors, but some schools reserve this distinction exclusively to those who have graduated from the Honors College. 

Honors students work hard to complete their degree and finish their thesis to graduate, so this can be great for students who want to show employers and graduate schools how much effort they have put into their education and their future.  

During their graduation ceremony, students may also get a medal or some kind of regalia to put on their graduation robes. This can make the graduation process even more special.

Should You Apply to an Honors College?

You might be wondering whether you should apply to an Honor College. We went over many of the benefits of honor colleges, but this type of education is not meant for all students. If you are highly motivated to learn, both inside the classroom and out, and you have the right test scores and grades, you should apply to Honors College

But remember, this is a big commitment. Honors students need to maintain a certain GPA and meet a range of course requirements. You will need to do research for a thesis and take Honors classes that are more rigorous than your typical college class. But if this sounds like something you’re interested in doing, then an Honors College could be right for you!

If you are interested in learning more about the college admissions process, or about college life in general, check out more of our blogs and resources here at HelloCollege. We believe that preparing for university shouldn’t be scary, and we are here to help guide you or your student through the process every step of the way.

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The Hello College Team

HelloCollege CEO Andrea Emmons has spent the last 15 years guiding students and families across the country on their path to college. Andrea knows the profound impact proactive college planning has on the lives of students and is passionate about mentoring families through the process.
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About Our Founder

Kevin Krebs

Inspired by his parents, Kevin’s journey from a first-gen, diverse, low-income background to Northwestern University shaped him. After experiencing challenges, including student loan debt, he founded HelloCollege and has spent the last 25 years helping students successfully navigate college admissions.

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