How are you supposed to get honors-level grades when taking 20 units at once, unless you don't want a single minute of free time? I already felt the strain last semester with three techs and one humanities class, and I'd really like to reduce that if possible. One of the folks I know who supposedly has a 3.9+ average limits himself to two techs and one hum. class each semester.
I can do something like
2Fa - EE 20, CS 61B, Math 55 or CS 70
2Sp - EE 40, CS 61C, Eng R1B
3Fa - EE 105, CS 184, E190
3Sp - EE 141, CS 186, Upper-div hum
and I'll have met the bare minimum EECS graduation requirements without even beginning a fourth year. Sure, it won't be a very comprehensive education, but it will do for a diploma and nothing else.
I took: CS61C, EE20, Math 53, Math 54, History 124B in a semester and it didn't feel like much. Honestly, if I didn't screw around and actually read the books and do the homework, I could have pulled off a 3.7 at the least.
I don't know of anyone in the EECS honors program, however I do know that the cutoff for semester honors is approximately 3.7.
I know a couple of the EECS honors degree program people (Aaron, Evan, Chris, Sahand, Yanpei). They're all very smart people, though I don't know their GPAs. I do know they take hard courses, though (not just upper division, but graduate courses), and I'm sure they do well. I applied to the program myself this spring but haven't heard anything yet.
I think a 3.7 is harder your first semester or two (but it is very important to try to do well in the beginning, because having to raise a bad GPA sucks), but then it becomes pretty easy actually. Math 53 and 54 and EE20 when you're just getting used to college can be tougher, but once you get used to the workloads and start getting into upper division courses, good grades aren't so hard to get.