Ask a College Advisor: Should I Join My School’s Honors College?

Learn from one of our education professionals about the pros and cons of joining your school's honors college.
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Question: Should I join my school's honors college?

Answer: Being invited to be a part of your school's honors college is a distinct honor. It rewards you for your impressive academic performance.

Just like any big decision, it is important to do your research and weigh your options before committing. Generally, the answer to whether you should join the honors college is "yes" — as long as you understand what is required of you.

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Honors college gives students the chance to be a part of an exclusive group, alongside their high-achieving peers. As part of the honors program, students can receive academic and student life benefits, especially in the beginning of their academic career.

Take a look at your school's honors program website before you make your decision to accept.

Honors College Benefits

  • Your diploma will show your honor status. This can be an advantage if you are applying to competitive jobs or grad schools.
  • Some honors programs offer special housing options that include benefits such as early move-in dates and living/learning communities.
  • You will be able to enroll in honors classes, which can offer additional opportunities to challenge yourself and engage with college professors.
  • You can build a community with a group of like-minded students.
  • Many honors programs offer scholarships and grants.
  • Honors class sizes are smaller and often have an interdisciplinary nature.
  • You tend to get priority registration for classes.

Factors to Consider

  • You will most likely have to complete an additional application in order to apply to the honors college. So take into account the extra time and effort.
  • Honors courses can be more rigorous, requiring more time and effort from students.
  • Honors courses and experiences may add to the time it takes to complete your degree.

Most honors programs require that students maintain a minimum GPA and complete a certain number of honors courses or experiences.

Some honors colleges also allow students to join at any point in their academic career. Others require students to join before or during their first year of college.

Before you decide to join an honors college, clarify the requirements and benefits of joining by using the program website or by contacting an honors college representative from your school.

Below are some questions that you should consider asking.

  • Are there special resources available for honors students?
  • Can I join the honors college at any time during my academic career?
  • What are the honors housing options? Are there living/learning communities for honors students?
  • What GPA do I need to maintain to remain in the honors program?
  • How many students are there in the honors program at this university?
  • Is there a dedicated academic advisor for honors students?
  • What are the honors college class sizes?

Summary

Being a part of an honors college has benefits and some potential limitations. If given the opportunity, most students benefit from the additional resources and academic prestige that honors programs can provide.

Before you apply, do your research through the school's website or during a virtual or in-person campus visit to make an informed decision.


DISCLAIMER: The responses provided as part of the Ask a College Advisor series are for general informational purposes only. Readers should contact a professional academic, career, or financial advisor before making decisions regarding individual situations.


BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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