By Lisa Pino
Arizona Summer Wildcat July 30, 1997
Honors program advantageous for studentsThe Honors Center, located in the Slonaker House, provides multiple opportunities for aspiring scholars. Honors candidates are normally incoming freshman who have maintained at least a 3.5 high school grade point average.
However, students who have this average after the first semester or year in college can still apply for the program. This also applies for international students.
The advantages of participating in the Honors program are numerous.
Students receive more guidance and interaction with advisors, can choose among independent study, thesis and study abroad options, or can take advantage of undergraduate research grants.
Sam Rogers, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, said class instruction is more in-depth in honors classes. Rogers also enjoys the social interaction of the community.
"You get to see people from your classes and that makes it easier to get to know people, especially your freshman year."
Jessica Yingling, also a chemical engineering senior, adds: "Maybe you don't get to know all the honors students but if you ever need the resources, the Honors Center is always there."
Most honors students reside in designated honors halls, which can give new students the social support needed as well as initiate lasting friendships.
Honor's courses average 15 students per classroom, offering students a more intimate atmosphere within a large university.
Providing personal attention and a viable network of peers and faculty within the university is the goal of the Honors Center, said Patricia MacCorquodale, the center's director.
"We like to think of the Honors Center building as a community of scholars," she said. Students learn how to connect with their peers as well as faculty members.
The Honors Student Association organizes programs, activities and cultural events to provide social support. In class, the emphasis is on oral and written skills and the utilization of primary sources.
Providing assistance is important to all those involved with the Honors Center, MacCorquodale said.
"It's a place where people really get to know and appreciate multiple talents," she said.
This supportive community, established in 1962, has grown immensely under the direction of MacCorquodale. In 1985, only about 200 students were enrolled compared to the 3,172 this year. Honors students have won annual scholarships such as the Rhodes, Truman, Marshall, and Goldwater.
One false assumption that may ward off potential candidates is that honors students simply get assigned more work. Learning how to juggle a new college life is difficult enough for freshman, let alone adding the stress of being in the honors program.
The Honors program does not simply entail more work. The difference is in the method of learning.
"It's a different angle, a different approach," said Stephanie Adamson, an honors program coordinator.
"There's more discussion (in the honors classes) that encourages analytical and critical thinking."
Challenging one's own intellectual potential is rewarding but at times intimidating and overwhelming, Adamson said. The center helps students get through the rough spots with a staff of 10 and 90 advisors.
For more information on the Honors Center, call (520) 621-6901.