Honors Programs

<p>How prestigious are honors programs compared to colleges such as Hopkins, Penn, Cornell, or even Brandeis (which isn't so prestigious yet but is a very good college). Let's say I get into the honors program at University of Maryland with some type of scholarship. Would it be be more beneficial to go there and have a great social life and great education for less money or it still doesn't compare to top universities? How does the workload compare? I applied to Hopkins, Penn, Brandeis, and Maryland (hopefully get into honors program), and I already got into Michigan. Any advice/information on the comparison of an Honors program such as Maryland or a top University such as Hopkins?</p>

<p>Anyone have some insight?</p>

<p>you can't really measure these things objectively. I'm in the honors college at Michigan State and I'd say that my education is as good as any other...but you can't really measure that across schools easily. The honors college at my school allows me to get into upper level classes earlier i.e. take grad level classes, have a lot more flexible gen. ed. requirements, and participate in honors-section classes (which are way smaller than average classes...more professor interaction etc.) But at the same time, the reason why I feel like my degree is worth it is because I am in a residential college for my major (which has a lot of the same benefits as the honors college - accessible professors, smaller class sizes, no TAs etc.) </p>

<p>Most importantly, I'd focus on what the specific major program each of these schools provides more than just the honors program. Workload once again is something you can't measure across universities...you have to talk to people who go to each of these universities in specific majors to get a better idea. U of Maryland and U Michigan have fantastic reputations already even as big state schools, so you know that being a part of their honors program is pretty "prestigious" in itself. I love everything about being part of a big state school, and being part of the honors college really makes you feel like you are the "cream of the crop" as cocky as that may sound, as the university caters to you before anyone else. In a small elite school, you will be one of many students who are all "cream of the crop"...how do you learn best? If you are interested in a specific major program that one of these smaller private schools specialize in and have all sorts of money dedicated to it, then your opportunities will likely be more suited to your interest there than at a big school. But if the program you are interested in at the private school isn't that distinguished or special, there are just more opportunities in general at a big state school than at a small one.</p>

<p>For example, if you are interested in pre-med or international relations, Johns Hopkins is such a good school for those fields that if cost wasn't an issue, I'd go there before going to a state school + honors program. But if you were interested in english at Johns Hopkins, I'd argue that going to the state school + honors program probably would give you more opportunities because Johns Hopkins simply isn't as strong in the english field. If cost is really an issue - just go to the state school, be part of the honors and take the slight loss of prestige. There are very very few career fields that really care about what undergraduate school you graduated from.</p>

<p>I would say that the honors programs at the state universities are a "good try" at making up for the fact that some kids can't afford to go to Brandeis, Penn, Cornell, or Johns Hopkins, but are not sufficient. </p>

<p>It does have value as a "label" you can wear to tell graduate schools and employers that "I was actually smart enough to get into a tip top private school, but couldn't afford it"</p>

<p>I hope the honors programs are not mere window dressing, because my son is applying to the same schools as you, and might well have to go the state university honors route, for financial reasons.</p>

<p>^ I don't think having honors at most public schools shows that one could get into top privates. Maybe at Cal or UCLA, but that's about it. I got honors at UCSB but was rejected to USC and waitlisted at Occidental.</p>

<p>My school's honors program likes to say that they have students who are really competitive for national scholarships and honors (Goldwater, Rhodes, etc). I know, just from who I've met, that the honors students at my school actually did get into top private colleges. I had a roommate who had been accepted to Duke, friends who got into Harvard and Northwestern, but chose a large state school with an honors program simply because of cost. Honors program students aren't necessarily competitive with those students at the top private colleges and universities, as I have met quite a few who clearly were not, but I don't feel like people should be making those assumptions from a couple typed words on a resume.</p>