How would you factor in a top honors program into an overall college ranking? As an example Arizona St. is ranked #115 but their honors college is considered one of the best. So if you were to compare colleges say ASU vs Baylor #75, how much of a boost in ranking would you add for the ASU honors college since it is so highly regarded?
It’s really hard to say because they really vary in quality and features. Some actually act like a smaller separate school within a school and others are a lot of window dressing with the added feature of a special dorm. I guess you could say that about rankings in general
More importantly, if you are looking at your state flagship, gauge it both with and without the honors program. What specific benefits do you get? Does it do a good job of making the campus a smaller universe for like minded people? Are there smaller classes for honor students? Are honors classes taught by better professors? What additional advising, career services, and mentoring are provided to Honors Students? If you like the school in general and they have substantial honors benefits, then who cares about the rankings?
“If you like the school in general and they have substantial honors benefits, then who cares about the rankings?”
This is my view. I would recommend that you mostly ignore rankings. There probably is a difference between being ranked #500 versus ranked #20, but I don’t think that you should care about the difference between #115 and #75.
Find a school where you will be comfortable. Between ASU honors and Baylor, figure out where you will be happy and where you can do well. Try to minimize or avoid debt. Expect to work hard at either and expect to need to earn your A’s.
@rickle1 @DadTwoGirls Thanks. There is a tangible difference in the schools as far as the honors program is considered but it got me to thinking about how much a difference it makes in general when factoring in the honors colleges. Two of the state schools I am looking at vary quite a bit in overall quality/reputation with UF being #42 and UCF # 171. UF is much more difficult to get into and is considered the top academic school in Florida. The honors program is nothing special and a lot of kids can take it or leave it. To be honest the only reason I’m considering UCF is because of the benefits and reputation that the Burnett Honors College. It is considered one of the best in the US. Outside of the honors college UCF isn’t considered to be a top college per say. Both would be full ride scholarships so that isn’t a concern but I’m also looking at colleges outside of Florida.
Honors colleges offer valuable perks and let you meet some of the top students at your college. But too often they’re oversold with glossy pamphlets suggesting a small LAC has been set up giving an elite private education at the public school price. On the forum you’ll see posts that say/imply that. Like Burnett: “The Burnett Honors College combines the intimacy of a small liberal arts college with the benefits of a large, research university located in a metropolitan environment”
Depending on the program offerings may range from separate honors classes to taking just one honors seminar per semester. And some of the “honors” offerings may just be a discussion section of the regular class (at many U’s you meet 2-3x a week in the full class with the prof, then once a week in a smaller discussion section with a TA). You really need to dig in to find what a particular school offers.
Honors programs typically offer the small classes and hand-picked profs the 1st two years of college. It doesn’t take that many classes to come up with a set that will meet the lower-division requirements for most majors. But it’s rare to find more than a token amount of upper-division classes since the honors program simply doesn’t have enough faculty members to create entire majors.
At Burnett you really have to search to find what they offer, but finally I found this page: https://honors.ucf.edu/advising/requirements/ It looks like the difference between Burnett and the normal UCF teaching is 1 symposium and 4 lower division classes, then upper division an additional seminar and 2 classes. That’s over your 4 years, everything else is apparently the regular classes.
Honors colleges offer perks in addition to the classes. Typical ones include early registration so you get the classes you want (a perk worth its weight in gold!), special counselors, guaranteed housing, special library privileges. Your diploma will proudly bear the honors insignia. But I would have reservations about attending a college for its honors program in liu of a more highly regarded U if finances are not an issue
An honors college can help alleviate some of the weaknesses in a college. Both of my children (HS class of 2014 and 2017), had UCF as their #1 safety. UCF’s #1 weakness (IMHO) is the high student to faculty ratio. Being in the honors college would help get more “resources” to the student (smaller classes, better advising, etc).
I would’t compare ASU Honors vs Baylor or UCF Burrnet Honors college vs UF; it’s still ASU vs Baylor and UCF vs UF. The honors college is something to consider in your selection, as well as cost, fit, location, etc, but don’t think of it as a completely separate “college”.
None of the major undergraduate rankings account for the strengths of specific divisions and majors within a university. They rank on general characteristics such as overall admission selectivity, financial resources, or post-graduate outcomes. This is one of their limitations.
Where is the data for comparing honors colleges? It’s not in the CDS. How do we know ASU’s honors college is one of the best? I’m not saying it isn’t, just wondering. If you’re confident it’s that good, then absolutely, do take that into consideration in comparing it to other colleges.
Don’t know much about UCF other than a lot of friend’s kids attend or attended and liked it. None of them have jobs with major firms, all local stuff. That’s not bad and it may have more to do with the kids themselves but my guess is the state flagship (UF) has far better career services and placements with the major names which is fairly important if you are thinking about the life of a career. Bigger firms have more opportunities locally and nationally. Good way to launch a career and then go wherever you want.
The caveat is my major is going to be in CS which everyone keeps telling me that it doesn’t matter where you go for your BS degree.
I would think the CS program at UF is quite strong. They are clearly the top school in the state (public but maybe overall). They attract the higher achieving students. I would be hard pressed not to attend UF with your choices.
Don’t rely on rankings. Look at the pros and cons of each situation instead.
Check which CS recruiters come to their college career fairs.