Pforzheimer Honors College perks outweigh workload

Michael Williams

At the start of senior year in high school, students are stressing just to get accepted into college, but there are a handful of students whose primary objective is to get into the honors program within a college. Ultimately, the question is: is the Pforzheimer Honors College worth it?

Honors college requirements vary from school to school, but at the University, a student’s academic performance is what honors college admissions counselors look at the most. In order to be eligible as a freshman honors student, one must have a high school average of 90 or better, an SAT math score and critical writing of 550 or higher, and a combined SAT score (math and critical writing) of at least 1200. If a student meets only two of these three requirements, they may still be considered by the honors director for admission into the honors program.

Current University students and transfer students are also eligible for the program, but they must follow different requirements. These students must have completed two semesters (approximately 32 credits) and have acquired a cumulative GPA of 3.5 during their time at the University. Their acceptance is based on space availability, and each student interested must adhere to the guidelines of the application for the honors program.

An honors student is expected to take a total of 8 honors courses at the University, attributing to about 20 percent of the credits they need for graduation. Honors students must also complete a senior thesis to graduate with the honors college. In addition to that, honors students on the Pleasantville campus must attend two events per semester that are sponsored by the Honors College. If a student fails to maintain a GPA of 3.3, they are put on probation and potentially suspended from the program.

With these strict guidelines, it is difficult to discern whether or not the honors college is worth the process of application. There are undoubtedly numerous perks to being an honors student. To begin with, honors students are eligible for more scholarships, which can definitely have a significant impact on any college student. Honors students are awarded at least $15,000 per year, split evenly each semester, to aid with the cost of tuition.

Honors students are also permitted to register earlier than other undergraduate students. This permits them to acquire the classes they want in addition to “better” time slots and professors. Fifteen honors courses were offered during the fall 2012 semester, and about thirty will be offered in the spring.

Nelli Agbulos, a University freshman in the honors college, said, “I didn’t think I’d have so many options.” She also explains how these courses can also count for some of her major and core requirements. “I love how [the] honors [college] offers a variety of courses that apply to different majors, so there’s definitely room to take a class to fulfill elective requirements or one that fulfills your core or major requirements.”

Conversely, Katie Shipkey, another freshman honors student, stated “There’s a good amount [of courses], but they aren’t always super interesting.” Each semester, the honors director, Professor Ida Dupont, sends out an email listing the courses open at that time. According to Agbulos and Shipkey, these classes are not any more difficult than the regular courses they are currently taking.

In addition to being a great resume builder and a gateway to scholarships and various perks, the honors college provides students with the opportunity for personal satisfaction for a job well-done. Agbulos said, “Deciding to be a part of the honors college is a decision I don’t regret, and I definitely recommend anyone who’s considering on joining to submit their application.”

For more information on the Pforzheimer Honors College program, contact Dr. Ida DuPont at [email protected]