Honors programs - anyone else underwhelmed

<p>D1 is completely underwhelmed by the prestigious honors program (20 of 800 freshman) she was accepted to. While it's an impressive group of students, she finds the actual class (1 credit/semester for 2 years) boring. Her advisor agrees with her decision to drop out, as it could wreck havoc with her schedule for the next 3 semesters. She can still get 'honors' on her diploma if she completes a senior project/thesis. The advertised benefits of closer relationships to professors and internships are not terribly relevant to her major, as she already knows the professors she wants to work on research projects with and knows the sorts of internship she wants to look into.</p>

<p>Has anyone else been underwhelmed, and dropped out of, honors programs?</p>

<p><a href="1%20credit/semester%20for%202%20years">I</a> *</p>

<p>This sounds like a pathetic honors program!! What's the point of selecting an elite small group of kids if all you're going to offer is the above??? Ridiculous!</p>

<p>We have been very impressed with the Honors College at my kids' undergrad (one has already graduated). Typically they took 3 -9 honors credits per semester. The courses were challenging and involved discussion and research. Some were amazingly unique.</p>

<p>sounds like it is an "honors program" in name only. 1 credit/ semester? what a joke.</p>

<p>My son has taken 3 honors classes (9+ credits) per semester for the last three semesters (he will have 27 honors credits by next month). In fact, he is required to have at least 45 hours in honors credits to graduate with an honors degree. There is a maximum of 15 kids per honors class, btw.</p>

<p>As he goes into more upper division classes in his major, the number of honors credits per semester will start to drop. They are required to submit a senior thesis to graduate.</p>

<p>Some school's 'honors programs' are woefully undeveloped and mean very little. Others are very competitive and rigorous and well developed.</p>

<p>My son loves his honors college. He gets a lot of individualized attention and 'perks' not afforded the rest of the school population.</p>

<p>My daughter is exactly the opposite. More overwhelmed than underwhelmed. But she is handling it well. Her program description for reference:</p>

<p>
[quote]
Plan II Honors Program Description</p>

<p>Established in 1935, Plan II is a challenging interdisciplinary curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Plan II differs from most honors programs in that its core curriculum is itself a major. Over a third of the courses required for a Plan II degree are limited to Plan II students. Plan II students also have access to other honors-level courses at the University. The remaining classes are chosen from the extensive list of
the University's departmental offerings. Many of these classes will be as
challenging as honors courses.</p>

<p>*<em>a year-long freshman course in world literature from the ancients to the present
*</em>three semesters of interdisciplinary tutorials and seminars which develop and refine students' analytic and synthesizing capacities
*<em>a year-long philosophy course for sophomores
*</em>a semester of honors social science
*<em>two semesters of non-US history
*</em>a four-semester honors sequence in modes of reasoning, theoretical math or calculus, life sciences, and physical sciences
**a senior thesis, a major independent research and writing project, which is the culmination of a student's academic program in Plan II

[/quote]
</p>

<p>She has found it very writing and intensive. She does love being challenged and frankly, I too would re-look at any program my child felt underwhelmed in.</p>

<p>It's the science school/college of her university. I think if she was in a broader major, such as biology or environmental science, there might be a bigger benefit to be able to approach professors to ask to work with them on research, however, in her major, the professors (not TAs) teach the classes. There may be honors sections of Bio & Chem, but she APed out of them. </p>

<p>The only downside I see is she will give up a small merit scholarship, but the program is stressing her out, so there's not much downside.</p>

<p>DS1 elected to go with a LAC, but I remember being underwhelmed with some of the honors programs we looked at.</p>

<p>The Plan II honors program at UT above is in a whole other class.</p>

<p>S2 really likes his honors program...specialized with focus on research and research opportunities beginning freshman year. along with all the other perks of honors college...ie priority registration etc.
wonderful access to professors, seminars and classes geared towards sciences ie "public speaking for scientific presentations" ... Required thesis based on a 2 year research project that will be published. Very cohesive group... all 4 years of the program interact...mentor each other, also social events and retreats.</p>

<p>Njmom...if she is stressing And she is receiving no academic benefits from it, then I can understanding her dropping it. If she thinks she can develop a rhythm for the course she isn't clicking with, AND she gets some post graduate "something" from being a graduate in this program, maybe she should stick it out. Just some things to think about.</p>

<p>thanks for the insight. The kicker is all students in honors MUST complete the honors project. Other students can submit a project for approval and receive the same $3000 stipend and have 'Honors' on their diploma. </p>

<p>She feels it was a huge honor to be chosen, as it was an grueling application and full-day interview process, but otherwise it's more of a liability at this point. Earlier in the week she was on the fence and didn't want to tell us, but she met with her advisor Friday who also said it was not a big deal in her major (pre-vet) and could be a huge scheduling PITA, as there is only one section of the mandatory honors class.</p>

<p>If you've seen one honors program - you've seen one. UTx's Plan II is considered top notch. Another one (I won't name here) offered my son a free ride (which got his attention ) but when he checked into it , he realized the rigor just wasn't there. He passed them both though for a top LAC.</p>

<p>It is/was an honor to be chosen and the fact that she was chosen can never be taken away, but if it's not working out to her advantage and the entire prospect is underwhelming then yes it's time to move on. It's good that she is weighing the benefits and the drawbacks. It's good that she talked to her adviser and it's good that she is telling you.</p>

<p>we noticed a huge variety of "honors" programs when we were looking at colleges...some very selective with only a few students...some that you were automatically in based on your hs stats. some schools said you were in honors but there was no required number of courses . others were designated classes that would be smaller and called honors but with no cohesive theme...all different majors taking all different classes.. Some programs required interviews and essays, some didnt require anything other than the submission of transcript. I hadnt realized how different these programs could be...i know when researching schools we looked for "honors programs" assuming most would be the same...very wrong once we started checking</p>

<p>We are very pleased with D's honors college. It is a stand-alone program that admits about 75 out of 1000 freshmen. It provides small seminar-type classes based on a Great Books curriculum, and it satisfies Gen Eds in Humanities and Social Sciences with year-long courses in each during the first year. </p>

<p>After Freshman Year they continue the Great Books seminars with one course per semester. Their 2 semesters of Gen Ed Science requirement has to be in particular Lab Sciences. </p>

<p>They do a Senior Honors Thesis to graduate from the Honors College. However, they are allowed at any time to leave or return to the Honors College program, depending on their interests or the demands of their major; the only downside to that is that they might not get the HC degree, although the HC courses will of course show on their transcript.</p>

<p>While D has a substantial academic merit scholarship, she does not have to stay in the HC to retain it.</p>

<p>We saw this as a win-win situation. She can only benefit from the Honors College, and also has the flexibility to decide what is best for her from semester to semester. She is also in a very demanding major, and very few students complete both. So far she is finding the HC classes extremely rewarding, and her plan is to follow through for the 4 years. We have let her know that if she finds she needs the time for other academic exploration, that is fine with us. In her case, her major also requires a Senior Thesis, but fortunately the HC's policy is to have the students do one project at an Honors level, not two separate ones.</p>

<p>Her University's Honors College also sponsors trips, discussions and other special activities, and publishes a literary journal. They have a separate physical space within the University, complete with seminar rooms, study areas, lounges and even a music practice room.</p>

<p>I don't think my D would have been happy with the "extra work in regular classes" kind of Honors Program, nor something that would have locked her into a commitment. I like that she has a special goal to strive for, to graduate from both programs, but that the entire atmosphere is supportive rather than restrictive.</p>

<p>My daughter is overwhelmed with her classes. She has three honors classes plus a one credit writing seminar for the honors kids for this semester, plus she has to take two levels classes of math above the calc she took in high school, if she weren't in honors, she'd be done with math. There are 15 in the program.</p>