Funny enough, when I applied to the University of Houston, I got accepted into the Honors College before I was accepted into the University of Houston-Main Campus. There were two separate applications. I applied to the Honors College first just assuming that if I got into the Honors College there was no way I’d get rejected from the Main Campus.
I was right.
I was fortunate enough to know early on (since the 8th grade) that I wanted to go the University of Houston; specifically speaking the Bauer Honors College of Business at the University of Houston. Why I chose that school and that program, in particular, is a long strong but the gist of it is I wanted to be like my father.
My father is an entrepreneur and I wanted to run my own business too. I wanted to go to a school that would equip me with the skills to do that successfully, but I didn’t want to be too far from home. The University of Houston has one of the best entrepreneurship and sales program in the nation. I fell in love with the program and the school. The rest is history.
The University of Houston was the only college I ever applied to (because it was the only one I wanted to go to) and I knew I’d get in. I attended a community college the summer after high school (community colleges are awesome and yea, I was that kid) and moved into my dorm room that August.
For most students, the decision to go to college or enroll in an Honors College is not so clear. Since I have directly benefited from the Honors College at the University of Houston, my viewpoint might be a little biased, but allow me to provide some insight.
When you enroll in an Honors College, there’s a set of funding reserved for students within the program. If you are accepted into the program you are eligible to apply and earn those scholarships. Instead of competing against the entire university for those funds, you’re competing against the students in the program.
I have had priority registration since my first semester on campus. That means as a freshman, I got first dibs on classes over upperclassmen who were not in the Honors College. It made planning classes and securing my schedule for the upcoming semester much less stressful. It also offered a level of insurance that I’d graduate on time because 9 times out of 10 I would get all my first-choice classes I needed for my degree plan.
Individual attention from academic advisors
My academic adviser at Bauer Honors is amazing and she has been advising me since freshman year. She really helped me narrow down my options when it came to declaring my major. In fact, after I declared my major in Marketing, I never changed.
Typically, an honors program will have staff dedicated specifically to the students inside that program. That means you get to have a personal relationship with your academic advisors. They’re more readily available to see you and tailor your academic experience to your needs.
There is a cap on the number of students who can enroll in an honors section. This keeps the learning environment conducive. The professor is able to dedicate more time engaging with the students and develop a relationship with them.
When there are only 20 students in a room, you get to learn more about your peers and you’re not just a face to your professor. The quality of dialogue increases and the classroom dynamic is more flexible.
Professional relationships with professors
The Honors College is a great place to build professional relationships with professors from various disciplines. These professors can act as mentors for you in your future endeavours. You have an opportunity to building meaningful relationships with them that can pay off down the road if you’re thinking about going to grad school and need a letter of recommendation. College is just as much about the relationships you make as the grades you earn.
Cool networking opportunities
I have attended networking events with large companies specifically reserved for Bauer Honors students since freshman year. The Bauer Honors program has developed close corporate relationships that want to hire Bauer Honors. Being a student in the program affords me the opportunity to attend those networking events and build my professional brand. Joining an Honors College can give you that level of access as well.
More bang for your buck
Enrolling in an honors college adds more value to your higher education experience. Because you pay the same tuition rate as your peers, participating in the honors college give you more bang for your buck.
Think about it: smaller classes, priority registration, individualized academic support, networking opportunities, scholarships and more. You literally get more value out of your time on campus as your peers. You are paying the same price to get access to more resources.
Strong alumni network
It’s always nice to meet up with an alum who understand the unique challenges of being in the Honors program. It’s another way to build meaningful professional relationships post-graduation.
Strong peer group
Doing the honors program is like having all the benefits of a small college on a huge university. The honors college has its own community that you can thrive in and be a part of. It’s easy to get lost or get a hold of your bearings at a large university. The Honors College can offer you social support and an easy way to make friends and meet new people.
Competitive edge for grad school
Grad school like to see that you went the extra mile in school to further yourself. They want to know you made the most of the resources available to you. Enrolling in the honors college is one way to show that you are proactive and willing to go the extra mile and invest time in yourself to be successful and rise above the pack. It will help your resume and application stand out.
With all that being said, I recognize that not everyone is interested in joining an honors program. That’s okay. It’s not for everyone but I want to caution you against counting yourself out. If you have a desire to enroll but talked yourself out of it for one reason or another I urge you to reconsider. In fact, please let me help you because everyone deserves access to a quality education. Enrolling in the Honors College is just one way to do that.
Have you considered enrolling? If you did, what was your experience in the Honors College? What program did you enroll in? If you decided against it, why? Share your experience in the comments section below. If you’re ready to take your education to the next level, let’s set up a 30-minute consultation today!