The Honors Program offers high academic achievers opportunities to interact with other students who have similar academic standards, small classes to ensure individualized attention, faculty who are caring and supportive, a strong academic program, and an enhanced academic record. It also provides opportunities to enhance regular courses through specialized projects.
The Honors Program offers many benefits to students besides Honors coursework. Beginning in the fall of 2016, Honors students will be able to enjoy the Honors Program suite in the new humanities building, which will include a student lounge and conference-style classroom. Honors students also have the opportunity to work with faculty and advising staff who can help them apply for transfer scholarships to use after graduating from Vol State.
Honors courses involve more student involvement in discussion, critical thinking and analysis, presentation of ideas, and writing. Because there are substantially fewer students in Honors courses, the faculty and students are able to interact more in order to promote intellectual curiosity, creativity, self-awareness, intellectual independence, open-mindedness, and the leadership abilities of highly motivated students. The goal is to encourage Honors students to strive for academic excellence and personal achievement.
In the fall of 2016, incoming Honors students had an average composite ACT of just over 26. There is not a set minimum ACT score for incoming students, but students who have lower ACT scores should demonstrate good performance in college-level work in high school. Current Vol State students should have a 3.5 or higher GPA and a faculty recommendation.
The only requirements to stay in the Honors program are to maintain a 3.0 GPA and continue to take Honors courses. However, in order to gain the Honors certificate, a student is required to do more than just twelve (12) hours of Honors courses. An Honors certificate also requires participation in some on-campus events as well as some off campus ones. Remember that part of the goal of the program is creating not just high academic standards, but solid citizens as well.
Each semester, several Honors courses are offered, including the combined Honors U.S. history and literature (HIST 2010 and ENGL 2110 in the fall semester and HIST 2020 and ENGL 2120) in the spring semester. Honors offerings often include psychology, sociology, economics, popular culture, and integrated science. In addition, each spring, Honors students pursuing the Honors certificate take the Honors Leadership course (HUM 275).
Honors-by-contract is taking a regular course and, through an agreement between a student, the Honors Director, and the instructor, making it an honors credited course. This Honors Contract should include some sort of project that enhances student learning in addition to the normal course requirements. Ideally, the instructor and the student arrive at the arrangement together and submit a contract to the Honors Director. Creative and challenging projects are encouraged and some projects may be selected for public presentation and/or posting on the Honors Program website.