Honors students are highly intelligent subgroup of students engaged in higher education. These are students who have maintained high-performance levels from high school by scoring good GPAs or even passing SATs with exemplary results. This particular niche of students need a certain level of attention and require intellectual stimulation for them to participate effectively in learning. Successful honors students program have been initiated by institutions of higher learning so as to guarantee these students can achieve the best they can in their professional fields.
The makeup of honors program differed from one institution to the other. The programs offered special housing arrangements, mentorship opportunities, special extracurricular programs, internship opportunities, smaller classes and a special curricula. The environment encouraged by the program is that of a close-knit community that is engaging in learning effectively (Angell, 1960). The programs are successful because they are tailor made to meet specific needs of individual students.
One of the features about successful honors program is that they offer students a sizeable amount of merit-based financial aid. This is crucial in motivating these students to focus solely on their studies. When honor students do not lack financially, they do not see the need to work as non-honor peers do so as to fund their lifestyles (Evans, 1998). Honor students have more time for intellectual stimulation that ensures they achieve the best they can in their field.
A wide variety of extracurricular activities offered in honors programs stimulates growth and development in these students. Gerrity, 1993 did research on the impact of extracurricular activities on the intellectual stimulation of honors students. Students who frequently engage in extracurricular activities are smarter and tend to perform better in academics. Community service is also important as it challenges honors students to find purpose in what they are doing (Fischer, 1996). These students can devote more time to other important issues in their lives rather than education.
For honors programs to be more successful, institutions trained advisors and counsellors on how to deal with this particular niche of students. Before such a program, when honors students had problems, they could not find help from an individual trained sufficiently to handle their situations. Training needed to take place since these students needed to be approached differently from the rest of the students. The advisors need to understand academic issues that honor students face. Such issues are tutoring and preparation for graduate school. The other important aspect is career counselling (Gilligan, 1993). These students often face career indecision since they are better at most things and do not know what they want to venture into. A good honors program provides insights on various career opportunities shedding light on the best approach honors students can take.
Most authors proposed the changes above to the honors program. They did various research on this unique niche of students identifying with their particular needs and requirements. The research methods used mostly varied from personal interviews to issuing questionnaires to institutions that were implementing the honors programs. Issuing of questionnaires ensured that primary data on the program is accurate and verifiable from the source. Instructors and students were able to give their opinions about the program that ensured researchers could gather credible information to substantiate their claims. The primary data collected led to the modification of the honors program such that it could enhance learning in the program.
Honors students are students who have a track record of high performance. These are students who need particular attention that ensures they can perform effectively in their academic fields. The honors program supports this effort. It does so by providing these students with financial aid, extracurricular activities, effective counselling and special housing arrangements. It is an initiative that guarantees the success of honors program.
- Angell, R. (1960). The honors program at the University of Michigan. Journal of Higher Education, 81-87.
- Evans, N. F.-D. (1998). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
- Fischer, D. (1996). The new honors programs. U.S. News & World Report, 108.
- Gilligan, C. (1993). In a diﬀerent voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Kerr, B. C. (1988). Gifted adolescents’ attitudes toward their giftedness. Gifted Child Quarterly, 245-247.