Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Top 10 Honors Programs

fleagle10fleagle10 Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
edited November 2012 in College Search & Selection
A new ranking of the Top 10 Honors Colleges in the country was just released.
Source: A REVIEW OF FIFTY PUBLIC UNIVERSITY HONORS PROGRAMS (New! Top Programs! | Public University Honors).

Top 10- Overall Excellence (honors curriculum, prestigious undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, honors retention and graduation rates, honors housing, study-abroad programs, and priority registration):

1. University of Michigan
2. University of Virginia
3. University of Texas at Austin
4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
5. Arizona State University
6. University of Washington
7. University of Minnesota
8. Michigan State University
9. University of South Carolina
10. University of Georgia

Top 10- Honors Factors (everything in Overall Excellence, except prestigious undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships):

1. University of South Carolina
2. University of Texas at Austin
3. University of Michigan
4. Arizona State University
5. Michigan State University
6. University of Georgia
7. University of Delaware
8. University of Virginia
9. University of Minnesota
10. Penn State University

The full 275 page book, which it seems will include loads of statistics and detailed analysis, is set to be released at some point in April.

Let us discuss.
Post edited by fleagle10 on

Replies to: Top 10 Honors Programs

  • rjkofnovirjkofnovi Registered User Posts: 10,037 Senior Member
    Michigan is on top. What's to discuss? ;-)
  • cltdadcltdad Registered User Posts: 937 Member
    It looks like a website set up to promote and sell a book.
  • rjkofnovirjkofnovi Registered User Posts: 10,037 Senior Member
    ^^^Sounds like USNWR then. :-)
  • fleagle10fleagle10 Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    I thought the differences between the first and second lists were interesting. I don't thinnk it should come as a shock that UVA and UNC win their fair share of prestigious scholarships, but I was surprised by how disproportionate of an impact the scholarships had on their rankings. I would imagine that they outline the weights (percentages) assigned to each category in the book, but scholarships and awards must account for a huge portion of the Overall Excellence score.

    I think South Carolina at #1 in Honor Factors makes sense since the school just built a new honors dorm and the program is one of the oldest in the country. I also hear Barrett at ASU is outstanding, though I can see them getting dinged on return and graduation just based on the high turnover rate at the university.

    I also thought this was exactly the type of thing USNWR would realease. In fact, I'm surprised they haven't done something like this yet considering they rank everything else.
  • UniwatcherUniwatcher Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    The lists posted here previously do not reflect the "FINAL" rankings on the site or in the book, but they're similar.

    Yeah, the site is set up for the book, but the site and the book both have a lot of data + 1,000 word profiles. There is also a color chart after each profile. Each chart shows how the program does in all the stats categories. Also compares school's U.S. News rank to honors rank to show how honors can add value.

    The top programs in the Overall Excellence are:

    1. Michigan LSA
    2. Virginia Eschols
    3. Texas Plan II
    4. North Carolina
    5. ASU--Barrett
    6. Washington
    7. Georgia
    8. Penn State Schreyer
    9. Minnesota
    10. Michigan State

    For Honors Factors:

    1. South Carolina Honors Col.
    2. Michigan LSA
    3. Texas Plan II
    4. ASU--Barrett
    5. Georgi
    6. Virginia
    7. UC Irvine
    8. Michigan State
    9. Penn State Schreyer
    10. Delaware

    The book did not come out till April 18.

    You are right about the prestigious scholarships counting for a lot in the Overall Excellence=25%. Curriculum is the big one, 35% in Overall Excellence. Even more in Honors Factors since scholarships are out in that one. Grad rates are 20%, housing is 10%, study-abroad 7.5%, priority registration 2.5%.
  • oodadoooodadoo Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    where would we find the University of Utah's Honors College? - our son has an offer there...he's leaning that way...please reply - thanks :)
  • HiimColeHiimCole Registered User Posts: 192 Junior Member
    I'm not attending, but Michigan State's honor program seemed fantastic.

    I went of two or three visits there and it seemed that there were very few limitations placed on honors students.

    If I remember correctly they are allowed to create their own major, ignore pre-reqs and take upper level/graduate level classes, as well as having priority scheduling, tons of research opportunities, and a lot of students I talked to studied abroad several times.
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    The site didn't include Utah in the 50 it reviews. It explains:

    "the guidebook will include all public universities ranked in the top 75 by the most recent U.S. News survey, except for UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, and the College of William & Mary. In addition, we will review honors programs from all public universities that are members of the research-oriented Association of American Universities except, again, UC Berkeley. Finally, we have included a relatively small number of universities that do not fall into one of the above categories but that have nonetheless received recognition as having exceptional honors programs. Among the universities’ honors programs in this category are the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi, and the Honors College at the University of South Carolina."
  • gadadgadad Registered User Posts: 7,762 Senior Member
    Due to financial considerations and extracurricular priorities, our S chose to focus on public Honors programs. His decision came down to ASU-Barrett and Georgia (for which he's in-state). We were really impressed with Barrett and pleasantly surprised by ASU as a whole. It's a lot more all-encompassing than your typical Honors program - its own section of campus with seven dorms and a student center, full-time faculty, extensive programming, etc. Georgia offered entering SATs equal to Dartmouth's and free tuition, and that was ultimately his choice. It was tough for him to let go of Barrett, however.
  • swattiechickswattiechick - Posts: 219 Junior Member
    I just can't imagine what this list is actually based off of.
  • UniwatcherUniwatcher Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    The site says most of the weight in rankings come from the percentage of curriculum that is actual honors study, across all four years. Honors housing, study abroad, grad rates, and perks like priority registration also count.
  • MitchKreybenMitchKreyben Registered User Posts: 439 Member
    the 2012 version is a good one to skim if your offspring is considering honors programs. While yes, they do rank. They also categorize by "style" of program, and they strongly suggest that the student shop for the right "fit". Rankings alone are a very bad way to make a choice.
  • jkeil911jkeil911 Registered User Posts: 6,009 Senior Member
    This is the kind of book I would have liked to have had during the research component of this process. And here it turns out there was a 2012 edition. I wish I had known.
  • shoboemomshoboemom Registered User Posts: 2,057 Senior Member
    This thread was started in 2012, but is very much related to info currently being discussed. Anymore input on public honors colleges...what to look for, how to evaluate?
  • whenhenwhenhen Registered User Posts: 5,637 Senior Member
    Ask about how rigorous the upper division courses are. After all, a student's schedule will primarily consist of "normal" courses by the junior, if not sophomore year.
This discussion has been closed.