Source: Me, who has been an Honors student for almost three years.
I’ve noticed that the annual Honors Program invitation has been sent out to current students, and prospective students have been talking about Honors Program decisions coming out for a while. I am an Honors student and have been in the program since my freshman year, as I was invited to apply before I started at ERAU.
Since I applied before I arrived at ERAU, I had to submit an essay (and I, unfortunately, don’t remember the prompt) as well as two letters of recommendation. I had already submitted two letters of recommendation to the university for admission, but the Honors recommenders were separate people. I submitted the application in January and heard back a few months later.
My first year was a bit weird since it was Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, so there were no Honors series events. In a non-COVID year students must attend three Honors events, and they can be different things. Last year, for example, the Kennedy Space Center trip counted as one Honors event and I went to GameTime over the weekend with the Honors Program which counted as one of my three events for the semester.
The Honors series events cover many different interests. This year there was one called “To Be a Water Protector…in Florida” and last year Apollo 13 astronaut Fred Haise spoke to us about his experiences at NASA. The Fred Haise talk was my favorite Honors Series event by far, and it was the most popular one I had seen. Students, faculty, and staff filled up the event enter and they even had to turn a few people away.
The Honors program has a few additional perks- one is priority registration, so I’ve always been able to get the classes I want. Priority registration takes place on the first day it’s possible for students to register, which means Honors students (and other students with priority registration) get to choose the classes they want first.
Another perk of Honors is Honors housing. In your freshman year, Honors students get to live on the fifth floor of New Residence Hall 2, which I personally loved. I was close to everything and when it rained, I could simply walk downstairs and go to Boundless for lunch. In New Res 1/2, you have a roommate and two suitemates, which means you share a bathroom/mini fridge/microwave with three other people. It’s a little smaller than Adams and Wood, but New Res 2 (and not New Res 1) has ovens and is much closer.
However, the Honors program does have a few requirements that non-Honors students don’t. First is the HON classes- HON 150/250/350 will replace some of your general education classes. For example, HON 350 replaced my upper-level humanities class. The HON class subjects are determined by the professors every year, but I was always able to choose classes that interested me. My HON 150, titled “Disruptive Technology: Past, Present, and Future” was taught by Dr. Wojton and I absolutely loved the class! My HON 250 and 350 were both taught by Dr. Lear- HON 250 was about video games and HON 350 was about science fiction.
HON classes also extend to your major. I’m an aerospace engineering major, which means my HON classes are built into the curriculum. For example, for AE 316, I am taking AE 316HON instead, and all of the other students are Honors students as well. For other majors without HON classes built in, students do Honors contracts. In aeronautical science, there are several classes that you can do an Honors contract with. An Honors contract is an extra project you and the professor agree on and it will earn you Honors credit for the course and satisfy Honors graduation requirements.
Being in the Honors Program also has the added benefit of access to the Honors center. Located in New Res 3, the center is exclusively for Honors students and has the Honors library within it. It provides a quiet study space for Honors students, and it also has a computer lab. I’ve only been in the Honors center a few times, but I’ve enjoyed using it when I need it.
So is Honors worth it? I think so, but it might be different based on what you’re looking for. I don’t find the Honors classes to be too much more work- maybe just an additional project. While the Honors sections generally have only one professor, I haven’t had an HON class professor that I’ve disliked. There are also currently no scholarships tied to the Honors program, so if you find that you don’t want to be an Honors student anymore then you can drop out of the program without financial penalties. I’m personally glad that I applied to the Honors program and was accepted. Honors or not, I’ll see you in the next post… and hopefully at Riddle!