One of my favorite parts about working Fridays in the Admissions Office is getting to participate in the many preview day events we hold for incoming freshmen. Today was Honors Visit Day 2011, which talks to incoming freshmen who’ve been accepted into the Honors Program about the benefits of becoming an honor student at UWO. I got to tag along with the students and listen to the advantages and cool perks of this great program! (and wish I participated when I was a freshmen…)
Check out our pictures of the day!
10:00 a.m. – Welcome by Dr. Roberta Maguire, Director of the University Honors Program
So we started off the day hearing about how the Honors Program has been around campus for three decades and all the impressive jobs it has helped honors students land after graduation. Who knew that ABC’s funny show Wipeout is produced by a UWO honors grad! Dr. Maguire explained that the program involves honors versions of general education classes and works with any major at the university. She stressed that the honors credits count towards the general education credits needed for graduation. This means students aren’t taking any unnecessary classes – a major plus when it comes down to graduation time.
10:15 a.m. – Student Seminar on Class Experience by Dr. Larry Carlin
The students split off to talk with Dr. Larry Carlin, a philosophy professor and last year’s winner of the University Honors Program’s Outstanding Teaching Award. While brainstorming ways to approach this session, Carlin asked his current Honors Intro to Philosophy students what their concerns were when considering joining the Honors Program. They gave him their three main “worries” which they found out were not true once they got into the classroom.
Worry #1 – Honors classes will require hours more work than regular classes.
False: Students don’t do more or less work than non-honors students. The difference between the classes lies in the depth of inquiry and examination of topics. Honors classes only have 20-25 students. This promotes in-depth discussions of topics because of the closer contact time with classmates and the professor. The Honors Program is supposed to be a reward, not a punishment of a bigger workload.
Worry #2 – I’ll be surrounded by over-competitive people that are difficult to relate to.
False: Carlin said most of his classes have 12-18 students so everyone gets to know each other very well. Each student cares about school and is looking to get the most out of his/her college education. Camaraderie, not tension, occurs from being on the same page and going through the experience together. Many of his students have said they have formed life-long friends and had lots of fun in the process. Which is what college is all about, right? J
Worry #3 – Doing the Honors Program will be much more stressful than if I did non-honors classes.
False: It’s actually less stressful because the small classroom size grants unlimited access to the professor. This allows for more knowledge being learned, as well as having an easier time getting questions answered. Also honors students get to register for classes before anyone else, so they never have to worry about not getting into a class they need. Talk about VIP treatment!
11:00 a.m. Lunch at Blawkhawk Commons (yuuum! Have you seen the ice cream bar??)
12:00 p.m. Honors Student Panel Presentation and Closing
The last part of our day was getting to sit with four honors students, Shannon, Caleb, April and Alexa, while they answered questions about the program and general student life. Here are a few:
Are there any pros to living on the Honors Floor in the residence halls?
You get to see the same people inside and outside of classes, so it’s easy to build relationships and friendships with them. It’s convenient to have people in your classes living around you because you have study buddies everywhere! There is also the perk of doing exclusive activities only available to honor students, such as the spring trip to Milwaukee.
Why should you join the University Honors Student Association (UHSA)?
You get to make friends and have people to study with any time you want, what’s better than that? Also the connections you make through knowing people of influence and who are knowledgeable in their field can be a huge benefit when looking for internships and jobs down the road.
What would you say is the biggest benefit to participating in the honors program?
The interactive discussions in the classes gets students involved instead of simply watching the professor lecture the entire period. In addition students are inclined to prepare feedback and promote dialogue, which means they are getting more out of each class. “All honors classes I’ve had have been great. The teachers are great. They are very optimistic about the subject they are teaching,” Alexa said.
Good job and congratulations to the students who’ve been accepted to the Honors Program! It’s a big accomplishment to be where you are right now and you should be proud of yourself. Take advantage of rewards like this, it will only help you in the end. Does anyone have any questions about the Honors Program that I didn’t cover or any questions about student life in general?