<p>My son has been accepted at these three great programs, but is undecided about which to choose. He's an intended physics major. Can anyone provide some insight about the pros and cons of the honors programs at these schools, and which might be the best choice?</p>
MSU Honors, Maryland Honors, or Penn State Schreyers?
<p>Well, I’m between MSU honors, Brown, and Dartmouth, so I really wouldn’t be able to offer any insight in regards to the last pair, but MSU does seem to offer some excellent programs. If your soon got above a 33 on his ACT, he’s eligible for the PA program, which means he’ll pay in state tuition in exchange for research… He’ll also get paid for the research (about 2500/year). If he’s also a national merit finalist, he’ll receive his room and board free of charge, as well as another 4000/year scholarship. In addition to these two, I was able to qualify for a 1500/year scholarship given to out-of-state students who had a parent attend MSU. I plan on researching a few more to negate the cost of college completely (there’s the big turn-off for the ivies…$$$).</p>
<p>Honestly you really can’t go wrong with those 3 schools. All share a similar environment in terms of big state school/research opportunities, and all 3 honors programs are pretty reputable nationwide. I can’t speak for any other school but MSU, but I am in my last semester as an honors college student and I have no complaints about the honors college here. As an honors college student, you get priority registration for classes (super helpful at such a large university/especially if you are taking multiple majors/minors/specializations). You get immense flexibility with your gen ed requirements (instead of taking the often boring, huge lecture classes of integrative studies required for the rest of MSU, you can take just about any upper level history, science, etc class you want to substitute). You have to take 8 honors classes, sections, or honors options over 4 years. See the MSU honors college website for more details, but generally this means more interaction with professors, no TAs, smaller class sizes etc. You have the option to live on an honors floor with other honors college students. There are in-house scholarships that you can be eligible for (I got an honors college study abroad scholarship). You can bypass most course prerequisites and you are even permitted to take graduate school classes (contingent on if there is space). Generally I would say there are few downsides to being in the honors college at MSU.</p>
<p>Now, if you are comparing the experience of being in the honors college to 2 ivy league schools, the overall education at the ivy league schools is probably superior to the honors college experience at MSU. But being at a big state school comes with plenty of advantages as well, as I’m sure livinglax is well aware.</p>