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Best Honors Programs at Public Universities

pmyenpmyen Registered User Posts: 534 Member
edited November 2010 in College Search & Selection
My son is interested in the humanities and he is looking into Honors Programs at public universities. Anyone have information on strong Honors programs that take out of staters? It would also be helpful to know about any programs that might even offer merit aid to out of staters. He is particularly interested in Honors programs that have residential programs where students live together. He would like a college within the college type of environment if possible.

Also, we live in Maryland and any information comparing the UMD College Park Honors Program vs the UMBC Honors Program would be very helpful. Thanks.
Post edited by pmyen on

Replies to: Best Honors Programs at Public Universities

  • collegehelpcollegehelp Registered User Posts: 6,523 Senior Member
    I have heard that Schreyer Honors College at Penn State is very good and very well funded. However, the honors college at UMD College Park would be hard to beat unless you received a free ride somewhere. UMD College Park overall has a somewhat better SAT range than Baltimore County. Don't know about the UMDBC honors college.

    How about Johns Hopkins? If your son can get into the honors college at UMDCP he can probably get into JHU. Or, Georgetown. UMD College Park is a great school, though, and it is nestled between two exciting cities.
  • korinfoxkorinfox Registered User Posts: 154 Junior Member
    The UMD honor program is very good from what I've heard (almost went there). I applied in state and if your son is a strong student, there is the Banneker Key scholarship which is a full ride and then some (and I know at least that if you apply as a physics major the physics department will give you a free laptop). I also know that for in state, UMD likes to throw around little money, a couple of thousand maybe if your son is a good student.

    edit: University of Michigan is also a very good college and has a good honors program. They also have merit scholarship money they can give to out of state students.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,548 Senior Member
    UMCP has a special humanities-oriented version of its freshman/sophomore honors program. http://www.honorshumanities.umd.edu/

    UMCP is known for throwing merit scholarship money around. But in order to be eligible for merit scholarships, the honors program, and other goodies, the student has to fill out Part 1 of the application by November 1 and Part 2 (the part with the essays) by December 1, even though there is no Early Decision. This is a bit odd.

    According to my son, who is at UMCP but is not in the honors program, UMBC is where you go if you can't get into College Park. Of course, he is prejudiced.

    UMBC is much more of a commuter school (or at least a suitcase school, meaning that lots of people go home for weekends) than UMCP is. Of course, if your son plans to commute or go home on weekends, that doesn't matter.
  • warblersrulewarblersrule Super Moderator Posts: 9,446 Super Moderator
    Digmedia recently posted a thread about the honors program at Ohio U that's definitely worth a read.

  • tonerangertoneranger Registered User Posts: 3,723 Senior Member
    Schreyer at PSU is a good program (my son is a student there) - however it seems that most of the students are engineering, business and science majors (these are the strongest programs at Penn State). They give a $3500 scholarship (not much). But they have over 250 honors courses to choose from - all limited to no more than 20 students (4 of the 5 classes my son has this semester are less than 25 - amazing for a huge school). Most of the students live together in the honors dorms, which are nicer than the standard dorms and are very centrally located. The students have access to better advising, priority registration and grants for study abroad. It's a well run program - and it's hard to get into (you apply separately and you need a min score of at least 1350 on the SAT (avg is low 1400s), a good GPA and really good ECs and essays). They just hired a new Dean from Tulane and he seems very dynamic. It was a solid choice for us - but we're in state and with other scholarships -we're almost tuition free.
    I hear that UDel has a good honors program and that they give $ to strong students.
    Seems like UMD would be a program that you should check out carefully - it's a bargain for in-staters.
  • huskem55huskem55 User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 4,284 Senior Member
    uconn has a great honors program
  • aussiek517aussiek517 Registered User Posts: 325 Member
    Miami University's (OH) Honors Program offers scholarships to all incoming Honors students. There is also the Harrison Scholarship (full ride) which is open to all students. It is not a separate college, but there is honors housing available for all four years. Benefits include a summer tuition waiver for 8 free hours (can be used for studying abroad or on campus), faculty mentor program, most honors classes have less than 20-25 students, internship and research opportunities, and priority registration.

    I believe that Indiana's Honors college also offers merit scholarships to all students, although you have to apply for those. The Wells Scholars program is their full-ride.
  • weenieweenie Registered User Posts: 5,793 Senior Member
    I agree with warblersrule -- Find digmedia's post about the honors program at Ohio Univeristy in Athens.
  • tom725tom725 Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    so if a student in PSU is not part of the honors college then is it bad?
  • tonerangertoneranger Registered User Posts: 3,723 Senior Member
    Tom725 - no it's NOT bad. There are excellent programs at PSU - honors or not. You'll just have larger classes in the first two years and may need to be more assertive to get research opportunities and attention. The honors college helps to make the school feel a bit smaller for students.
  • jPoDjPoD - Posts: 2,524 Senior Member
    Temple U
  • yougotjohnyougotjohn Registered User Posts: 654 Member
    All of Ohio's big public schools -- Ohio State University, Ohio University, Miami of Ohio -- have good public honors programs that range from more freedom in scheduling and housing to more challenging classes and degree opportunities.
  • unwritten02unwritten02 Registered User Posts: 607 Member
    I just visited U Delaware and I really liked it even though I definitely didn't think I would because I'm looking at mostly small, preppy LACs like Colgate and W&L.

    Freshman year I believe the freshmen in the honors program live together.
    I think about 60% of the students are OOSers which was important to me because I don't live in Delaware and I definitely don't want a big suitcase school. Cute campus, nice facilities, good restaurants and things nearby, and the students seemed really happy and friendly.
    Definitely worth a look
  • tom725tom725 Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    'Tom725 - no it's NOT bad. There are excellent programs at PSU - honors or not. You'll just have larger classes in the first two years and may need to be more assertive to get research opportunities and attention. The honors college helps to make the school feel a bit smaller for students"

    well if the students goes to the satalitte campus like Penn State Abington, he/she woudn't have a problem w/ class size for first 2 years because the avregae class size is 20 or so.
  • kcs149kcs149 Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    I graduated from Schreyers and Penn State in 2004 in the sciences and I loved every minute of it while getting into Stanford (my first choice grad school).

    On the other hand, I had friends from high school who went to the University of Pittsburgh's honors program, and they liked it too. One in particular got his degree in english and also ended up with me at Stanford (though he's studying english, obviously).

    The bottom line is that you can do great things with a degree from most big public school honors programs if you're willing to work hard.
This discussion has been closed.