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Can someone explain Honors Colleges?
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I'm not entirely sure about Honors Colleges. What are the pros and cons? Do I apply on the Common App or is an invitation offered after the application is accepted? Is the difference between Honors College students and the general population primarily the level of the coursework for my selected major(s)?

Honors
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Accepted answer

Honors colleges are special accommodations (schools) at universities that are for more gifted students who enroll at their institutions. You only can be invited after you get accepted (although that can vary between schools). The main difference between honors colleges and the general population is coursework and living accommodations.

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Honors Colleges are basically like a step up from regular college. The Honors college/program will usually require a higher SAT/ACT score, GPA, and more extra circulars.

The overall program is more rigorous but sometimes even more practical if that makes sense. For example, an honors program might focus more on applied skills than the regular college would. Overall, the classes will be tougher and held at a higher standard.

In terms of the application process, it varies from school to school but I know most of them work like this:

- you apply as if you are applying for the university (not the honors program yet)

- there will then be an option asking if you want to be considered by the honors program

- there might be supplemental (extra) short essays you need to write if you want them to consider you for their Honors Program

- then they will look at your test scores, GPA, etc to see if you qualify for the honors program

Another note: I don't know if all universities do this but some universities allow you to take honors-level classes that are part of the Honors Program even if you aren't in the program. (definitely check with the university you are interested in!)

Best of luck!!

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So to go into more detail than Yonathan

Honors is a more rigorous study path at a university sometimes it is a college others it is a program.

Admission to honors is sometimes directly (or are offered a place with the baseline application) or for admission there is an additional process.

But honors is sometimes the top x% of admitted students, a GPA and SAT/ACT cutoff, or it is a additional application sometimes with essay.

But as honors is more rigorous it serves to challenge students and with that they get a few perks.

Classes in college especially popular ones are signed up for quickly at most schools honors gets priority for these.

There is also additional scholarships for honors students and sometimes co-ops / internships are given to honors students.

Also honors college usually has unique classes that are highly interesting. Also honors courses are usually more discussion based not lecture based.

Also honors typically has a honors only dorm which is more academically minded and can lead to, depending on your personality, an improved social life. Also honors typically has improved mentoring/advisement.

So if you are curious if you are a top student and or very academically minded Iโ€™d highly recomend honors.