Ten Benefits of the Honors Program

Ten Benefits of the Honors Program

Honors courses allow you to challenge yourself in a classroom filled with students who have similar academic goals. These courses are designed differently than most other courses, but the content and assignments are not necessarily more difficult relative to other courses. Rather, instructors use student-centered techniques to develop critical thinking, research, and communication skills to challenge students to think “outside the box”, and to delve more deeply into important questions than they ordinarily would do. 

Furthermore, students have a greater opportunity to learn because of smaller class sizes and increased interactions with their classmates and instructor. In fact, honors students often engage themselves in lively discussions and constructive arguments with their classmates. The skills that students acquire and develop in these courses serve them well in all of their college courses and in their future education and career. Outside the classroom, we organize community-based and extracurricular learning activities that complement in-class instruction. Above all, our aim is to prepare our students for a life of independent inquiry.

Honors instructors are full-time faculty members, all of whom are active scholars in their respective fields. They often integrate their expertise and scholarship into their honors courses, not only keeping course content fresh and current but also inspiring students to acquire and apply their own knowledge in new and exciting ways.

In addition, you will have more opportunities to perform student-centered research with professors. Honors courses are often structured to develop students’ research and critical thinking skills through independent and group research projects. Projects range from theoretical to empirical, novel research to literature research. Sometimes Honors students are invited to contribute to their professors’ own scholarship outside of class. Regardless of the type of project, students benefit from ownership of their project. More importantly, they gain not only a valuable introduction to the intellectual methods of their field, but also acquire the analytical experience and skills critical for entry into professional degree programs or careers.

You will be a part of a great community of learners. The number of students in our Program is relatively small, so you’ll be taking classes and participating in extra-curricular activities with many of the same students. It’s the best way to find study partners and make friends, especially during your first few months on campus. 

Honors students rarely restrict their activities to academics. Rather than fitting the “geek” stereotype, these students are some of the most active and well-rounded students on campus, participating in diverse sports programs, Greek life, clubs, and community service groups. Through students’ association with the Honors program, there are almost limitless opportunities to explore new interests and make meaningful contributions to the SHU and Bridgeport communities.

To be educated, a person doesn't have to know much or be informed, but he or she does have to have been exposed vulnerably to the transformative events of an engaged human life. -Thomas More

Students who are accepted into the Honors Program are eligible for a generous merit scholarship. Please visit the financial assistance website for more information.

Starting with the Class of 2015, we will develop mentoring relationships between our Honors students and SHU alumni or members of the local community who share their career interests. In addition to sharing their career experiences with Honors students, mentors will advise them on preparation for post-graduation employment or education, and provide tips on balancing the professional life with personal responsibilities.

Students have two opportunities for taking honors courses abroad. The prestigious EuroScholars Program allows qualified students to perform research for a semester with a professor at one of 11 European universities. Besides the research, students take a culture and language course, and one more elective (usually research methods). Research opportunities exist in the social and natural sciences, as well as some humanities disciplines, and they count toward the required honors electives. Alternatively, students can take honors courses at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.  All honors students are entitled to a small one-time increase in their Honors scholarship to defray travel costs (subject to availability).  

>> Learn more about the Study Abroad program

Freshmen honors students enjoy the privilege of living on our newly renovated honors floor in Roncalli Hall, which is highlighted by state-of-the-art media and study lounges, and newer facilities than those found in other freshmen dorms.  Sophomore honors students will reside in common living quarters in an upperclassman residence on campus (TBD), again with facilities designed to enhance the living and learning experience.

Thomas More honors students travel to several cultural events throughout the academic year. These events include trips to museums, theaters, and other performances from New York City to Boston and beyond. Back in Roncalli Hall, students will enjoy our exciting new “Life, the Universe and Reel Food” film discussion series over dinner, lectures and discussions with Honors faculty in the new study lounges, impromptu snacks and dinners with members of the Honors Council and the resident assistants, and other social events.

The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don't want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don't have a soul. — Thomas More

Admission into the Honors program is highly selective, and you will belong to a community of students who have been recognized for being accomplished scholars and well-rounded individuals. You will be offered many unique privileges, including the ability to waive certain courses, the use of dedicated study spaces in the library and in the freshmen and sophomore honors residences, special trips, and a host of other opportunities to further your education.

There is no denying it: having "Honors" on your transcript is advantageous when applying to a graduate or professional program or an employer. The “Honors” distinction indicates that you're a serious student who is not only goal-oriented but who also enjoys learning for its own sake. Application reviewers will know that you are an independent learner who has been trained to think creatively and critically, to communicate well in all forms, and to successfully complete demanding tasks.

I think that if any good thing shall go forward, something must be adventured.
—Thomas More, A Dialogue Concerning Heresies, CWM, v. 6, p. 339

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