The Honors College Experience
Success. Support. Community. These are terms that come to mind when I think about how the Honors College has helped me throughout my years at the University of Arizona. The UA Honors College is an institution that works to build on my prior success as a high school student and uses a model of support and community to do this.
Each Honors student is asked to complete 30 units of Honors credit and have a 3.5 GPA by the time they graduate. Further, an Honors thesis is also completed by each Honors student in their last year of attendance (which can count for 6 of the previously-mentioned units). The first Honors course students take is their Catalyst course, a fall semester, 1-unit course that encourages discussion about the common reading book from the summer. In the spring, students will be able to take their second Honors course, the First-Year Seminar (Colloquium). Students choose a particular topic of interest for this course out of over 50 options which can be found here: https://www.honors.arizona.edu/first-year-seminars.
While the Catalyst course and freshman colloquium are required, students have the freedom to choose the other Honors courses they take throughout their time at the UA and the classes are in addition to regular courses that they will take in their major or degree program. I am a Neuroscience and Cognitive Science student with an emphasis in Cognition and a minor in Psychology. I chose my first Honors course on civic leadership which has nothing to do with my major directly and that course turned out to be incredibly useful to me. I was taught a lot about political leadership and how to adjust my leadership style to cater to particular types of workers which is useful across many fields. Most of the Honors courses teach skills that are applicable to many majors and programs offered by the University as a whole. My favorite Honors course is offered in my major every year and is taught by the Neuroscience department head. Non-Honors students that take this class only experience the 300+ person lecture on Cellular Neurophysiology, but Honors students taking this course have access to a nearly 20-person discussion section that includes quite a lot of one-on-one time with the professor. What’s nice about Honors courses is that they are so diverse! It is truly a breeze finding interesting classes to take from the list.
The courses offered to Honors students are certainly a large part of the experience; however, the benefits do not stop there. As an Honors senior, I am able to enroll in courses at the same time as Veterans and NCAA athletes. Honors freshman and sophomores enroll alongside regular seniors and juniors. Priority registration is a useful perk for Honors students because it ensures that we can get a spot in competitive courses and at the times we prefer. Another benefit of Honors (arguably the most important) is the supportive function the institution serves. Honors offers scholarships and awards to students for tuition, study abroad, internships, and research opportunities. The college also offers its own mix of study abroad programs (one of which I have participated in). To learn more about my experience on the Advanced Honors Study Abroad trip to England and the Netherlands, follow this link: https://admissions.arizona.edu/onmywayua/entry/tristen-v/oh-places-youll-go.
Being an Honors student also allowed me the choice of living in an Honors dorm (of which there are two). I chose to live in Arbol de la Vida when I arrived at the UA. Arbol is a nearly 720-person residence hall and has the highest environmental certification that a building can have. The building has multiple study rooms on each floor and is home to a number of Honors College offices. The other Honors hall is Yuma which is much smaller and also more affordable. Yuma is centrally located and is definitely the coziest hall on campus, so it is a perfect choice for students looking for a tight-knit living community.
All in all, applying to the Honors College is a fantastic choice for any student that wants to challenge themselves and be a part of a supportive community within the University of Arizona! I like to say that we are “Wildcats first and Honors students second”. If you’d like to apply, be sure to submit your application by December 3! Information about the application process can be found on the UA Honors College website!