I’ve been invited to join the Honors Program, but I’m nervous about taking on too much in my first semester in college. What should I do?
It is wise to be a little cautious as you make the transition to college. Indeed, Penn State Fayette requires that all new students take a First-Year Seminar (FYS) class to help smooth that transition. Fortunately, every fall the Honors Program typically offers a one-credit Explore Seminar that also counts as an FYS class. This way, new honors students can fulfill their FYS requirement while also meeting other honors students and getting a taste of the honors program. For more about the Explore seminars, click here.
Why should I join the Honors Program? What are the benefits?
The Honors Program is for those students who seek to get the most out of their college education and out of life in general. Some benefits of the program are direct and tangible: free honors trips, exclusive honors classes and cultural events, support for undergraduate research, and priority registration.
Most of the benefits, however, are harder to quantify. They are the kind of benefits that come from challenging yourself to be the best you can be, or from following your own ideas and passions, or from networking with other ambitious and exceptional people. They are benefits that come in the form of opportunities rather than immediate recognition or reward.
The significance of such opportunities will only become fully apparent later. For example, your application for your dream job might be strengthened because you are able to talk enthusiastically about the honors project that you pursued in your field and you have a strong letter of recommendation from an honors faculty member who worked closely with you on the project. You might make a connection between academic fields that helps to shape your career, or your undergraduate research experience might help you to get into your desired graduate program. Perhaps the benefit will simply be an increased flexibility and creativity in your thinking, or life-long friendships that you make with other honors students. Finally, intellectual stimulation itself is a benefit. The Honors Program is aimed at those students who enjoy opportunities to be challenged and to pursue their own ideas and interests in more depth.
If I decline my invitation to join the Honors Program now, will I have another opportunity later?
We make an effort to recruit qualified new honors students every semester, and students are welcome to indicate their interest in joining the program.
How is the Honors Program different from Pi Sigma Phi or other academic awards?
Pi Sigma Phi is the Fayette campus academic honor society. The campus and university also have various academic awards each year. Honor Societies and academic awards recognize students for something they’ve already done—earning excellent grades, for example. Membership in the Fayette Campus Honors Program, by contrast, offers students opportunities to do interesting and challenging new things in the future.
Is the campus Honor Program related to the Schreyer Honors College or the Schreyer Scholars?
Like the programs at other campuses, the Fayette Campus Honors Program is part of the Honors Consortium at Penn State. However, campus programs are separate from Schreyer Honors College (SHC) and campus program requirements vary from location to location.
SHC has its own rigorous application process and Schreyer Scholars have specific membership requirements to meet. For more on Schreyer Honors College. Campus honors students can choose to apply to Schreyer Honors College as rising sophomores or juniors through the Gateway Scholars and Paterno Fellows programs. Accepted Schreyer Scholars can also choose to attend Fayette campus for some or all of their four years, but they must successfully complete all relevant SHC requirements each year.
What do I have to do to join the campus Honors Program?
Once invited, simply sign up for an available honors course or arrange an honors option. Students who would like to join can also discuss their interest with their academic adviser, their faculty members, or the campus Honors Coordinator.
What are the requirements to remain in the campus Honors Program?
Students are considered members of the program so long as they take at least one honors course or honors option each semester and maintain at least a 3.2 overall grade point average.
For any further questions, please contact Dr. Gib Prettyman, campus Honors Coordinator, at [email protected] or 724-430-4250.