Benefits of Honors
The many benefits of participating in the Honors program include:
The Honors designation on the student's transcript shows graduate schools and employers that he or she has achieved academic success in rigorous classes and worked with some of the college's finest teachers and students. The challenging curriculum also allows students to grow as thinkers, writers, and speakers.
Small class sizes
Restricted enrollment ensures classes have an intimate, seminar-style feel and allows for close student-professor interaction and mentoring. Core Honors seminars are capped at 16 students.
Professors teach Honors classes by choice and are some of the college's most committed and energetic instructors. Team-taught core seminars ensure lively debates between students and professors in a vibrant, challenging learning environment.
Alternative General Education (WCore) Experience
The Honors curriculum offers a unique learning experience that goes beyond the standard General Education classes in a series of specially designed seminars. The menu of Honors seminars provides students with the flexibilty to pursue their interests. This flexibility also frees up students to fit in double majors, multiple minors, extracurricular activities, intensive research projects, and other enhanced academic experiences.
The interdisciplinary nature of Honors seminars brings students and professors from different departments together, ensuring an exciting class atmosphere and preparing students for the interdisciplinary approach of most top graduate programs and professional fields.
Sense of community
Because Honors students take core classes together, repeated interaction with Honors faculty and students in seminars, and in other academic and social settings, helps establish a sense of belonging to the college community.
Peer Mentor Program
Incoming Honors students are grouped with peer mentors--upper-class Honors students with extensive experience in the program--who can help guide them during their first year in college.
Enhanced support, advising, and mentoring
Honors students attend an early, supplemental day of orientation activities to help ease the transition to college life. They also have the Honors director assigned to them as an advisor in addition to their major advisor.
The seminar-style approach to teaching, the emphasis on writing and research in classes, and the program support of outside research allow students to investigate their academic interests more fully and also help mentor students who wish to present or publish their research. The program also makes two annual $3,750 awards to support student research over the summer. These awards are administered by members of the Honors Council through a competitive application process.
Graduate school preparation
Seminar-style classes, interdisciplinary approaches to academic subjects, and close interaction with faculty that results in strong research mentoring and effective letters of support all help better prepare students who wish to attend graduate school. The Honors program is also a member of the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA), which advises colleges on the major national and international fellowship competitions like the Rhodes, Goldwater, and Truman fellowships, among others.
Special Study Abroad Opportunity
Westminster’s Honors program is a member of the Principia Consortium, which gives students access to a unique Honors educational experience at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.
Access to supplementary resources
Honors students have special access to the Honors program newsletter; the Honors program listserv; the "Pizza with Profs" lecture series; the Honors program resource library; "Profs Pick the Flick" film nights; enriched learning experiences such as attendance at cultural events and other field study; funding to attend and give papers at academic conferences; a supplemental orientation session and a peer mentoring program through the freshman year; leadership training opportunities like the student Honors Council; special recognition opportunities like the Honors seminar book awards; financial support to investigate graduate schools out of state; and opportunities to participate in special meetings with distinguished visiting scholars and lecturers.