Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 10:55 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Leonidas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Where the stars at night are big and bright
Posts: 2,847
Honors Colleges

We've been inundated with mailings from colleges since eldest son took the PSAT at the beginning of last school year. Most of that was driven by the schools' mass mailings to any student within a broad range of scores they were interested in - pretty generic You'll love Whatsamatta U kind of stuff. Over the summer he took the SAT and did pretty well and now the mail has changed to some very specific We like your test score, please come see us stuff. He is certain that he does not want to be just a face among thousands at a large school, but his field of interest (science) almost demands that he go to a major school where he can access the right kind of resources.

Among the most recent mail he's gotten were a couple of invitations to come see the "Honors College" at two major state universities. I'm trying to get a grip on exactly how the honors college thing works. They are really putting a hard sell on with invitations to have hours dourves, cocktails and dinner with the dean and meet their nobel and pullitzer prize winning professors.

On one hand I'm impressed with things I have learned from honors college students and their parents. The small school inside a large school is an interesting concept, along with the small class sizes and the fact that many undergrad classes are taught by real professors rather than TA's. Paying regular state tuition instead of private tuition also is very appealing. But I'm wary any time someone pulls out all of their tops guns when trying to sell me something. When a product needs a lot of selling I start to worry about what is wrong with it.

Anybody out there have any thoughts or experiences on honors colleges?
__________________

__________________
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
Leonidas is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 11:02 AM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: Honors Colleges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
Anybody out there have any thoughts or experiences on honors colleges?
Gosh, I can't believe he hasn't heard from the military academies yet...

I don't have any honors college experience but small schools are (re)gaining popularity. Students are less likely to get lost in the crowd and to have more opportunities for better professor contact, internships, and meaningful research. Only one student can be the quarterback on the football team or get that coveted internship, whether the school has 2000 students or 20,000.

We found Loren Pope's "College That Change Lives" to be a big help, as well as a harsh indictment of larger schools. I wonder if "honors colleges" aren't just a marketing tactic to obscure the "big" school stigma and restore their appeal.

Our 9th grader has been agitating to take the PSAT this year and to start taking the SAT next year. I can see why...
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 11:30 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
2B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Houston
Posts: 4,330
Re: Honors Colleges

My son fell 30 points short of "honors college" at Texas A&M(TAMU). He wouldn't bother to retake the test knowing that he probably would have. At TAMU the "honors" kids get to stay in a special honors dorm. Per my son and older daughter they have about the same flunk out rate as the rest of the students. They also have a lot more drug problems.

My son did take honors calculus and learned a lot of higher level math I totally didn't understand. He was eligible because he placed out of a full year of college calc in his placement test.

FWIW and IMHO, if your son is looking at a science or engineering field he wants to go to the big school with a "name" in his field. The only way he should consider a smaller college is if it is some how renowned in his chosen field.
__________________
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane -- Marcus Aurelius
2B is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 11:44 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,913
Re: Honors Colleges

AGES ago I was a science major placed in the honors college of a large public university.* I dropped out of that program because I wanted to finish in 3 years and it put me in honors classes (like composition) outside of my strength.* What I did get, however, was smaller classes, great profs and classes that opened my eyes to the rest of the world (Study of Societies comes to mind- I still have the text).*

So, take a long look at the program.* He can always move to their regualr program if it doesn't fit his needs.* The classes are not for slackers.* Science majors always work hard so that shouldn't be an issue.

The cholice of the U is very important and will be on his resume for a lifetime.* In life it is what you know, not your college program, that produces results.*
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 12:07 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Telly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,448
Re: Honors Colleges

Quote:
Anybody out there have any thoughts or experiences on honors colleges?
Yeah, avoid it. At least in the beginning.

Kids going off to school have a lot of adjusting to do. And by far, most of it occurs in the first two semesters. Yeah yeah, I know, every parent thinks their kid is well-adjusted and will do fine blah blah blah. It just ain't so. And parents can be oblivious to what is really happening there.

Many honors programs allow one to enter later, if one chooses and has the grades required. There is a lot to be said for not saddling little pootsy with yet another standard to measure up to right away out of the gate.

We have seen a lot of the "honors" drive to be from the parents, not from the kid! That is not good.

Honors setups that sequester kids in their own little honors place, IMHO, is a bad idea. With that, not only is the kid worrying about getting good enough grades right off the bat to stay in the program, he/she has to worry about losing where they are living and any daily relationships they have built up there.

Our kids were not really interested in the whole honors thing. They felt that there was a pressure to say that you were interested, even if you weren't. Their observations of a few people they knew who went that route there, separate living area and all, were not real good. A big part of the college experience is to learn how to get along with people that you do not share much in common with, and how to get along with people you really don't like. As that reflects the work world, and the real world in general.

Quote:
FWIW and IMHO, if your son is looking at a science or engineering field he wants to go to the big school with a "name" in his field.* The only way he should consider a smaller college is if it is some how renowned in his chosen field.*
That is very good advice!
__________________
-- Telly, the D-I-Y guy --
Two fools dancing on the hands of time
Telly is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 01:33 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,898
Re: Honors Colleges


At his small college, my son was fortunate to receive personalized attention from his professors, hired as a TA, received focused job help and recommendation for research fellowships. These advantages are all but nonexistent for kids at big state universities unless they are very focused, rather aggressive in seeking out professor's attentions, as well as highly talented (which is a given).

Kids who like to be in huge lecture classes and not feel pressured to contribute to class discussions would not do well at the small college. I was one of those who really enjoyed being part of the big crowd at UC Berkeley.

The option for high achieving kids who can't afford the 30K/year price tag is to look into the second tier small colleges who offer tuition scholarships. These are fantastic deals that reduce the cost down to the level of the state college/university. My sister's kid got a tuition scholarship offer at a couple of these colleges.

The honors program within the larger university is also a great opportunity IMHO. Small classes, personal attention, social life with others who have similar achievement goals. It really is no different from the "honors track" in high school. The discussion level in these honors classes is much more challenging! Usually these programs have an honors dorm as well. Sometimes there are other opportunities attached, like internships which can really be of benefit to a kid.
__________________
Zoocat is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 02:43 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,616
Re: Honors Colleges

I am a scientist.* I used to be a professor and now I work in the private sector.* I still help teach courses.* I have mentored high school, undergraduate, grad and post-doctoral students over the last 25 years.* I have written many recommendation letters for college applicants, grad school applicants, job applicants and green card applicants.

So my consistent advice for someone who will major in science (molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, etc) is to try to go the absolute best university you can get into it.* Don't try for second best.* You want to be able to do undergraduate research from the very beginning.* Maybe wash glassware your freshman year, but from sophomore year up you should be working in a lab in the field of your major.* In this way, you will see what science is really like and you will interact with real scientists daily.* Class work is such a small part of a professor's work and will be a small part of the student's development as well.

I agree completely with Oldbabe's comment
Quote:
At his small college, my son was fortunate to receive personalized attention from his professors, hired as a TA, received focused job help and recommendation for research fellowships. These advantages are all but nonexistent for kids at big state universities unless they are very focused, rather aggressive in seeking out professor's attentions, as well as highly talented (which is a given).* *
I would still suggest going to the best-rated university possible.* If one is not accepted, the an honor college at a major state u would be my safety choice.* If you can't get accepted at either, then future opportunities will be tough.
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 04:36 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,643
Re: Honors Colleges

My DD ended up going to NYU but she checked out the honors program at the U of Colorado at Boulder. The head of the program claimed to be one of the original developers of the honors program concept. The idea was to give bright kids an intimate school within the school where they could have some of the advantages of a small liberal arts college but with the resources (and, frankly fun) of a big school.

DD wasn't all that interested in Boulder but I sure wanted to stay.
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-04-2006, 05:11 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,913
Re: Honors Colleges

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
The head of the program claimed to be one of the original developers of the honors program concept.
In that case their honors program would need to almost 50 years old..
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-13-2006, 07:06 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Leonidas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Where the stars at night are big and bright
Posts: 2,847
Re: Honors Colleges

Thanks for all the responses. I like this forum for the wide array of experiences and the quick responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Gosh, I can't believe he hasn't heard from the military academies yet...
He's a smart kid but there are some real whiz kids that outshine him. Plus, last year was tough on him and he dropped his GPA. His younger brother is sizing up to be as smart (and a better student) - I'm hoping he gets a full ride somewhere and I can waste his college savings on something frivolous for me and mom. I'm buying him a Naval Academy sweatshirt for Christmas this year (hoping he'll take the Marine Corps option - don't know if I can deal with a squid in the immediate family) to try and encourage him to seek Uncle Sam's wonderful all-expenses paid educational opportunities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbabe
I've gone through the college application routine twice with two kids who ended up going to highly rated small liberal arts colleges. I have a background in college education as does their father, which is why we were prejudiced toward the small college experience. The small college offers limited class size, more personal attention both from professors and from college advising, as well as the "small college" social experience. So far we are extremely happy with this decision! (And feel lucky that we could afford that option for our childrenj).
He prefers a small school. He's quiet and laid back and while everyone in the school seems to know him, he only has a small group of friends. Watching him interact in different settings (college visits, taekwondo tournaments, etc.) he takes the lead in small groups but in large crowds he is a wallflower. I think the small school (or small school within a big school) setting would be right for him.

Like you I'm grateful that I am lucky enough to be able to afford to send him wherever he can get accepted (I would love to get away with in-state public school tuition, but if the right school costs more then so be it). My main concern is that his college choice be right for him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
So my consistent advice for someone who will major in science (molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, etc) is to try to go the absolute best university you can get into it. Don't try for second best. You want to be able to do undergraduate research from the very beginning. Maybe wash glassware your freshman year, but from sophomore year up you should be working in a lab in the field of your major. In this way, you will see what science is really like and you will interact with real scientists daily. Class work is such a small part of a professor's work and will be a small part of the student's development as well.

I agree completely with Oldbabe's comment
I would still suggest going to the best-rated university possible. If one is not accepted, the an honor college at a major state u would be my safety choice. If you can't get accepted at either, then future opportunities will be tough.
That all makes sense to me. The honors college (at the right U) seems to be a good idea for this particular kid because he prefers and performs well in smaller groups. But he does need the access to the variety of fields, the research opportunities, etc. that a big U gives. The working in a lab idea is important and won't be hard to get him interested in. It may be more difficult to get him out of the lab once he is inside. He spent some time with a physics instructor at a major U who showed him around the lab where they are doing some on the edge research involving fullerines and my son was buzzed for a month about that.

We're going to several receptions this weekend and next week, followed by another round of campus visits later this month and next. I'll report back on the honors colleges after I get a better look at them. As it stands now, the important thing to consider is that all honors colleges are not alike. Some big U's can have a very strong science program, but not have a lot of honors science classes. Sending someone like my son to the honor college there, where he will get tons of honors level literature and philosophy classes, but be lumped in with 200 people in Biology would not be a good fit.

It's a good thing I RE'ed, because figuring out the right college for this guy is becoming a full time job. I'm not sure how working parents find the time.
__________________
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
Leonidas is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-13-2006, 11:43 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13,267
Re: Honors Colleges

I have a friend and a niece that went to the Honors program at UT... I think both liked the program..

My friend graduated with three majors... Honors count as a major...

My niece (bless her heart)... only graduated with Honors... no other major.. but, her backup plan was law school...
__________________
Texas Proud is online now   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-14-2006, 05:44 PM   #12
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: Honors Colleges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
He's a smart kid but there are some real whiz kids that outshine him.*
Plus, last year was tough on him and he dropped his GPA.*
I'm buying him a Naval Academy sweatshirt for Christmas this year (hoping he'll take the Marine Corps option - don't know if I can deal with a squid in the immediate family) to try and encourage him to seek Uncle Sam's wonderful all-expenses paid educational opportunities.
The "whole candidate multiple" has a lot of factors in it-- academics and GPA are two facets, but there's also advanced coursework, SAT scores, varsity sports (leadership/teamwork), and extracurricular "whole man" activities. The only "hard limit" I'm aware of is 590 minimum on both SAT verbal and math, but he can take the test as many times as he wants.

Especially if he can throw a football 70 yards...

http://www.usna.edu/Catalog/

http://navysports.cstv.com/camps/navy-camps.html
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-14-2006, 08:00 PM   #13
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,898
Re: Honors Colleges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas

But he does need the access to the variety of fields, the research opportunities, etc. that a big U gives.* The working in a lab idea is important and won't be hard to get him interested in.* It may be more difficult to get him out of the lab once he is inside.* He spent some time with a physics instructor at a major U who showed him around the lab where they are doing some on the edge research involving fullerines and my son was buzzed for a month about that.*
Sounds like your son would do well at a small college. Let me re-emphasize that he will have MORE research opportunities as an undergrad at a top liberal arts college than at a major U, even if he is in an honors program there.* * The grad students at major U are the ones who get to work on the cutting edge research.*
__________________
Zoocat is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-14-2006, 08:34 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Spanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,046
Re: Honors Colleges

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldbabe
Sounds like your son would do well at a small college. Let me re-emphasize that he will have MORE research opportunities as an undergrad at a top liberal arts college than at a major U, even if he is in an honors program there. The grad students at major U are the ones who get to work on the cutting edge research.
Another small college to consider is CalTech - small, very intense science program, a lots of opportunities to do research with well-known professors, a lots of interactions with classmate to work on projects.
__________________
May we live in peace and harmony and be free from all human sufferings.
Spanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: Honors Colleges
Old 09-14-2006, 08:45 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Spanky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 4,046
Re: Honors Colleges

Quote:
Gosh, I can't believe he hasn't heard from the military academies yet...
West Point and the Naval Academies have sent post cards and letters describing their elite programs to my daughter. The message is that the selection process is very touch and less than 10% of the applicants are accepted and that you should consider it if you want to serve your country and to receive an elite education at no cost. I guess she's only interested in the latter. She is not the military type. I think their programs are great for people who want to acquire leadership skills. Employers, public or private sector, love to hire junior military officers.
__________________

__________________
May we live in peace and harmony and be free from all human sufferings.
Spanky is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Russian Red Army Day honors USS MISSOURI Nords Other topics 0 02-24-2006 08:17 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:47 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.