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Honors College

LBPLBP 400 replies13 threads Member
edited August 2006 in University of Pittsburgh
For those of you who applied to the Honors College, will you please share your stats? My d is interested in Pitt, and Honors seems to be a great place to be if you can get in. Did any of you receive financial aid? (We're OOS, so $ is a big concern). Thanks for your time, and congratulations! Best of luck!
edited August 2006
23 replies
Post edited by LBP on
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Replies to: Honors College

  • venom428venom428 35 replies5 threads Junior Member
    I had a 700 Math 630 Critical Reading 630 Writing, which is low for their standards, but my rank is 2/566 so I guess that helped in the admissions. I played 2 years JV Soccer, Two Varsity, One year track, One year scholastic scrimmage, one year chess, one year stage crew, President of national honors society, math league, math tutoring lab, travel soccer all year round, a fair amount of community service nothing extrodinary, 5 on ap bio test, 790 sat II bio, biology olympics, took the most challenging curriculum for my school, and I think that is everything. So SAT score can be compensated with other activities or displays of ability. Hope that helps.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    This was last year, but S had 1400+ on old SAT, 4's and 5's on AP's, 4.6 gpa, top 1%, good EC's. He got merit FA from the university and from the engineering school. :)
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  • tennisguy137tennisguy137 43 replies3 threads Junior Member
    I'm the guy that just squeeked into the honors program (in terms of SAT)
    -SAT math 690, SAT verbal 630, SAT writing 600, 30 on ACT- 4 on AP Calc AB, total of 2 ap classes and 5 honors classes. 4 year tennis (3 year varsity), varsity captain, NHS vice president, human rights club (3 years) - VP 1 year and president the next, italian club, 250 (about) hours of community service, senior leadership team, thats all I can think of at the moment... I'm out of state and I got $10,000 a year, so not much compared to some people but for OOS I was happy because it lowered the cost to instate tuition at some of my instate schools so it was easier to pick PITT! They claim to make a big deal about needing a 1350 on SAT for honors college but I got in it without the score(granted I had a 1340)plus the $10,000 - I really think if your below 1350 (but close) and you have a decent # of EC's then you have good chances in UHC...The lowest I heard was a 1320 that got into the UHC automatically
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  • WalshsWalshs 13 replies2 threads New Member
    My stats aren't that high either. 710 math 610 cr 610 writing. 93/100 uw average. rank is only 32/325. I have 5 AP's all 3's and almost 40 c.hours from local colleges (2 local state schools and RPI.) I got into the Honors Program, I'm going to Lehigh though, (better aid package.)
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I agree with much of what was said re admission to Honors College. I urge you to keep on working on sats--or acts-- taking many practice tests, hiring a tutor. Scores can go up and if you are close to 1350, you can call them or write to them. We were in touch with a guy named Ron (look on web site for Honors College staff) and while I am not sure he influenced decision, he may have a little. We did not try to convince him but did call to ask about status, indicate testing was always challenging for my student, etc. Best of luck. Your stats are very high otherwise. Keep trying.
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  • moeraemoerae 21 replies4 threads New Member
    710-Math, 740 - Crit Reading, 790 - Writing; SAT II - Math II C - 780, Chem - 770, Bio - 740, History - 690. Taking lots of AP classes, and challenging stuff. activities - Tennis (JV), Model UN (secretary and treasurer)- 3 years, mock trial (Captain), NHS, NAHS, NFLHS, Literary magazine, drama club - Beauty and the Beast musical - Cast, Choir, Ensemble, Quiz Bowl, Math Club, set painting (all 4 years), spanish (4 yrs), art (3 yrs), Volunteering, Lobbying for march of dimes etc.
    I received the Chancellor's scholarship - which means not having to pay anything, and it covers everything even for out of state students. Hope that helps! I also got accepted to Columbia Univestiy, but decided to go to Pitt cause it was too good of a deal to pass up. And no separate application is necessary for honors college; they automatically consider you, so when you apply be sure to send them an essay, teacher recs, activities summary etc even though they don't ask for it because it might help in getting you nominated for the Chancellor's scholarship - I even sent them an art supplement. Hope that helps!
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  • neeleshneelesh 1153 replies132 threads Senior Member
    To get into the honors college, you need a 1350 SAT (i dont know what this converts to in the new SATs) and top 10%. If your scores are a little below this, they will still most likely let u in the honors college still. But these are the minimum requirements, and the only requirements.
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  • worrywartworrywart 1679 replies104 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for sharing your stats with us. Would any of you who are enrolled in the honors college tell us how well it is meeting your expectations. What privileges does it confer and for how many years? Thank you.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I can offer that my son is in the honors college and took several honors courses during his first year. They were worth taking, had excellent profs and some "different" work than the regular level classes. But during the second engineering year, the students move to their major department and I'm not sure if there are some/any honors level courses then. The situation may be different in CAS though. I believe that you can take honors level classes even if you are not officially in the honors college.

    There is honors housing if you want it, honors advisors and honors college activities that seem to be well attended. Research and scholarship opportunities may be easier to come by in the honors college, but we will still have to see about that! I know that students can opt for the honors college degree called BPhil and this involves writing a senior thesis.

    In spite of the goodies mentioned above, I am a little disappointed in the honors college. Nothing was wrong with it, but I guess I just expected "more".
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  • weenieweenie 5444 replies349 threads Senior Member
    Was your son in both honors and engineering? I notice that many schools do not offer that combo.

    Can you tell me about Pitt engineering? My son is interested in EE or Comp Eng. How is the student support? Do tons of kids drop out? Are the classes big or small? Hands on or theoretical? Do Pitt students stick around on weekends or do they go home?

    How's the scholarship money (out-of-state)?

    Sorry for all the questions.

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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    Yes, many engineering students are in the honors program and take their engineering courses as honors. There is even a special honors program for engineers (Fessenden Honors in Engineering Program). My son took some classes as honors, but not all.

    I liked the Freshman Seminar. Once each week they have one large group meeting where they have speakers and discuss the different engineering disciplines. Then once per week they go to a small group meeting with about 12 kids. They do fun stuff of their choice with an older engineering student (cards, movies, sports, dining, etc). This is a nice comfortable way to get close to a few students and have an older student to ask for advice.

    Kids mostly stick around on the weekends, although some do work or go home to visit (not every weekend though).

    The classes are of varying sizes. I think most of the freshman classes have a larger lecture accompanied by smaller recitations and labs. At the upper levels, I think they are all quite small.

    I really liked that they had to do alot of writing. During the second semester, they even participate in a freshman engineering conference where they research and write a big paper and do a 15 minute powerpoint presentation on their findings.

    I think Pitt cares quite a lot about the success of their students, as shown by the peer mentoring program. The kids easily find support if they live in SPACE or Honors housing. (I think the SPACE floors even have a scheduled homework help time right in the dorm). There are many opportunites for academic help, both formal and informal. As I recall, their retention rate is about 90%, which is very high for engineering.

    Regarding money, I'm not sure I can say. My son got one scholarship from the Honors College and another one from the Engineering School. I really don't know what the average award is.

    Overall, I liked Pitt more than I thought I would. My son found many motivated and very intelligent students. Yet they were really nice and down to earth. Pitt offers lots of academic opportunities and tons of recreational things to do on campus or in the city. Maybe my lukewarm feeling about the honors college results from the fact that the engineering school already does so much for the students.
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  • weenieweenie 5444 replies349 threads Senior Member
    Thank you lfk. You've given a wonderful description. I think I'll see if son wants to contact them to ask about open houses. It is only about a 4 1/2 hour drive from here so it might be a trip I can squeeze in without husband along.

    We have only toured two schools - RPI and Penn State. He really likes RPI and some of the things you are talking about (homework help in the dorm and high retention rate) are things I like about RPI. I am concerned about the cost of RPI. Penn State was just SO HUGE. Plus my son was sort of turned off by the rah-rah factor and Greek scene at Penn State.

    I know what you mean about lukewarm feelings about honors programs. My eldest son is in such an honors program at a LAC. I can't even really tell what it is other than an occasional course called honors! I think it is even harder to maintain an honors program in a very rigorous program like engineering though.

    Thanks again.
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  • lkf725lkf725 4596 replies184 threads Senior Member
    I hope you have a good visit at Pitt, if you decide to go. They give pretty nice tours. One of the ones hosted by the engineering school (I forget which one...maybe the one for admitted students? or an engineering open house day? or honors college day?) gave detailed tours of the labs where somebody was waiting in each discipline to show the lab, talked about the work done there and what students could expect to be involved in. There was of course a general meeting to give information and field questions. Really, it was one of the nicest and best organized tours we had.
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I am wondering about Honors courses as well. We sat in on regular classes that were on the roster for ones to visit for visiting students and frankly the level of the classes seemed quite a bit below what my child is used to from High School classes. Little participation, fairly low level of discussion, nice but not stimulating or challenging lecture material. The classes seemed aimed at above average but not excellent students.

    My child has a chancellors for which we are thrilled and grateful.

    Could anyone currently having a chancellors tell me what the intellectual opportunities are for chancellors/honors students beyond the general classes we sat in on. I know there is a Chancellor's seminar. What is that like?? Other opportunities that we do not know about? I would love if you could share a sense of the intellectual and social life of honors/Chancellor's students --perhaps as compared to those not in those programs.

    Are there any classes or extracurricular opportunities about which you would rave and recommend??

    Thanks to any of you who can give us a better sense of what intellectual/social life might be like.
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  • pittpolscialumpittpolscialum 1 replies0 threads New Member
    First off Pitt is an excellent school. Don’t kid yourself into believing that a successful high school career is going to make Pitt easy. When I was a Freshman, I watched a Chancellor’s scholar fail out because he thought the classes were below him It’s a major university that has excellent and demanding courses, and committed faculty. True there are a few courses that are easy, but they are few and far between.

    In general, the faculty provides high quality teaching. There is not a lot of interaction in lecture courses the fulfill requirements because there are 200+ people in the class. There are recitations where groups of 15-20 students discuss the week’s material and are usually led by grad students.

    The best professors will come in at night and discuss the material over dinner in the cafeteria and/or have discussion/study sessions on the weekends. One professor did all of that my Freshman year. He was truly a wonderful teacher, but he died in 2001. Still, there are others who follow his model. But, like most things in life, they have to be sought out.

    I was not in the honors program (I was more interested in working on campaigns, which are plentiful in Pittsburgh). But many of my friends were. Most, if not all, of them did something called the Breckenridge fellowship. They spent the summer doing research, produced a paper, and defended it in front of faculty. It’s sort of a min-grad student experience. Several of those friends are in graduate programs around the country. One went into the peace corps and teaches math to kids in Africa last I heard.

    The department I was in required a 25 page paper written over the course of a semester to graduate. The professor provided excellent feedback over several drafts. It ended up being a pretty good paper. For another class, not in my major, I had to write a book of poetry (around 60 poems). The average course in the arts and sciences consisted of a mid-term, a final, a 5 page paper, and a 15 page term paper.

    I’ve since went to graduate school and earned a MPA. Pitt left me well prepared for graduate school. Fellow students in my class went to UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Penn State and UVA among others. Again, Pitt left me as prepared, if not better prepared, as my peers.

    Finally, even though semester at sea sailed elsewhere, Pitt has a long list of interesting study abroad opportunities. Several friends went on something called “Pitt in China.” When I was there, a foundation provided generous aid to students that significantly reduced the cost of the program.

    Best wishes.
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thank you so much for your detailed and helpful response. I just needed to get off my chest my worries. Best of luck to you and thanks for your thoughtfulness.
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  • kinkosmomkinkosmom 134 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thank you so much for your detailed and helpful response. I just needed to get off my chest my worries. Best of luck to you and thanks for your thoughtfulness.
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  • mercymommercymom 1220 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Don't worry so much about the Honors College. Is this your first child going to college? For me, it's no. 2, so I am not nearly as frantic, except that the first one is on the other side of town at big state u., and this one is going 1200 miles away. I'm more worried about logistical stuff than how good the honors college is.

    Child no. 1 is in the local honors college and it's a lot more "closed off" if you will from the rest of the university than Pitt's. They have their own dorm and you need an ACT 30 with a 30 in English to get in. If you're not in, you can't take an "honors" course. You are living and going to class with some extremely bright kids. BUT....

    The day to day life is still what your kid makes it to be. They only need a minimum of 6 units/semester of honors to stay "in" and some (like mine) take the bare minimum. Some (like mine) are only in it to get the better dorm and priority registration, which is a really good plum at a mega-university. As they get older and move to a frat house or apt., then they don't care about the dorm so much and also their priority registration doesn't matter as much (jr/sr status takes over) and then they decide to drop out of honors (like mine!). We also thought that all the social life we thought was in the honors college wasn't actually there, but then found out that (1) a lot of the kids that put that together had graduated and (2) our kid was hanging out with the greeks and wasn't going to the honors college stuff.

    The deal is they grow up and you can't control them forever. If they want the things you want they will find them and do them. If the opportunities are there the child can take advantage of them....or not.

    We did Pittstart in June and were very impressed. Child no. 2 is in engineering and we got to meet with their advisor who was awesome. That lady deserves a raise, and if they're all like that you have nothing at all to worry about. Our kid is going on some kind of Chancellor's retreat before school starts and there is also some kind of honors housing retreat too. Once again what I like is not so much that it's honors but we will move in early and avoid the crush. Having been there and done that, freshmen move in day is no picnic (here at least). Also, child no. 2 is going to be in an honors engineering seminar and honors physics and from what the upperclassmen who led us around had to say, I think there will be all the stimulation someone adjusting to being 1200 miles from home in a totally different climate needs with the schedule they got.

    As for peers, there was a kid in our kids advising group who had turned down MIT to go to Pitt. Also lots of multiple AP kids (much to the advisor's dismay apparently - they were supposed to wait until later in the summer - oh well, she handled it like a pro). We turned down Rice engineering and UofC to go to Pitt.

    But here's the thing. If the most important thing to my child was to go to a school where 75% of the freshmen were the valedictorian and an average ACT is a 33, then maybe she should have gone to Rice. But even aside from her scholarship to Pitt, and it was a tough decision, but my child had a friend from her school who went to Rice last year and was miserable. She was kind of the Elle Woods of Rice - massively brilliant but very girly. She came home for Christmas w/o a single friend at Rice, not one. No one would be her friend and she was miserable. She is now at another school.

    The way I see it is that Pitt is more the real world. They are a good school who is there for everyone and they give everyone a chance to succeed. There are a million opportunties at Pitt. Like the earlier poster said, all you have to do is make the effort to go and get them. This is college. The professor isn't going to force you to go to the dinner where you have deep discussions. Pitt isn't going to force you to sign up for honors classes or do the work once you're in them. The coop office isn't going to come get you out of your dorm room and drive you to the job interview.

    It's not going to be easy mom, but you've got to take a deep breath and let go. If you've done a good job so far, all will be well. Hey, my older kid may not be taking any honors at all next year, but she's got a 4.0 and hasn't been any trouble at all for two years, and she's got grad school in the crosshairs. It could be a whole lot worse.
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  • weenieweenie 5444 replies349 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for that long post mercymom. We (my son will be doing engineering) are going to be looking at Pitt later in the summer so I'm trying to learn as much about it now as possible.
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  • chrisdchrisd 474 replies23 threads Member
    Excellent advice there, mercymom! My third child will start at Pitt in the fall, and I've learned what you said along the way with #1 and #2. Your child will benefit from college just as much as they care to put in to it. . . whether it's Harvard, Pitt, or your local community college. Initiative makes success, not the gpa or class rank or elite prep school of the student you sit next to in class.
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