Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Selection Process?

The application and essay are reviewed for the applicant’s potential match with the program. Selected candidates are required to interview with the Honors Council as part of the final application process. Once the interviews are completed, the Honors Council makes its final decisions and offers invitations to the chosen applicants.

Why should I want to be in the Honors Program?

More than a thousand colleges have established honors programs precisely because good students do better in them! Without a peer group that values academic excellence, social life can easily become more important than studying. Talented students can be bored in normal classes and coast through or put off simple assignments (just as they did in high school). Unfortunately, students who avoid challenges and try to take the easy way out often face severe shocks in college (it’s not grade 13!) and graduate with mediocre academic records.  If you want to go to graduate school, you will want to show the best you can be with your undergraduate record. Membership in an honors program shows a level of self-discipline, motivation and performance that graduate schools and prospective employers like to see.

Am I going to take all honors courses during my four years at UIW? I’m worried about the work load.

There are ten honors courses in the curriculum including the senior project; seven are required and the other three are for those who need the credit in world literature, history and science to fulfill their core curriculum requirements. The honors classes are spread out over your four years of undergraduate study. That means you may take one to two honors classes per semester.  Your senior honors project, conducted in your major, is managed with the help of a faculty mentor over an 18-24 month time frame. The long time frame allows you to spread the work out so the load is manageable and not overwhelming.

What’s the difference between a regular class and an honors class?

An honors class uses the program’s theme, “What does it mean to be human?,” as a unique lens through which the various topics are examined. For example, the world literature course looks at the human struggle and the role of the oppressed and the oppressor in various scenarios. Generally, you will find that honors classes tend to be more interdisciplinary in nature and are more interactive. In addition, the class discussions and assignments in an honors class require a deeper level of critical thinking. There won’t be more assignments; the challenge is in the type of assignments you receive.

Can I sit in on an honors class?

Absolutely. Simply contact the director of the Honors Program at 210-832-3211 or at jloden@uiwtx.edu in order to find out when the classes meet and how you can sit in.

Do I get extra scholarship money by getting in the Honors Program?

There is no additional scholarship money at this time for admittance to the honors program. However, the Honors Program supports its students with extra experiences and funding. For example, you will have access to funds within the Office of Research and Graduate Studies for your senior project. We will pay your way to participate in a social justice trip during your undergraduate years, for your attendance at specified workshops such as graduate school preparation and leadership development and to professional performances such as the symphony, ballet, theater or opera.

Does participation in an Honors Program really matter?

Yes, it will speak volumes about your abilities and aspirations. Students in Honors programs are widely recognized as being the best students at a college, having both superior academic ability and the motivation to make the most of their college experience. Consider what an American college degree means to the general public. Because there are more than 3000 colleges and universities in the United States, most people have no way of evaluating the quality of colleges in their local area. But people do know that if you join an honors program, you are a superior student who is clearly committed to getting the best education-the best courses and professors-available to you.

Once I’m in the program what are the requirements to stay in the UIW Honors Program?

All honors students follow the honors curriculum, completing all seven required courses and those among the three optional courses needed to fulfill graduation requirements. All honors students graduate Cum Laude, which means a 3.5 GPA. Each semester, the Director checks in with every student to discuss their progress towards this goal. Also each semester, students attend three events of their choosing: one service, one cultural and a third that can be in any category of service, cultural or academic. The idea behind this requirement is to practice reaching out to others that need assistance, to gain leadership and organizational skills, to expand personal experience of the arts and to gain exposure to subjects outside the major. The bonus is that honors students get a jump on fulfilling the university’s 45-hour community service requirement. There are also monthly meetings for all honors students to attend, similar to any student club on campus. Finally, we strongly encourage every student to attend one of the social justice trips offered each year.

How do I apply to the UIW Honors Program?

The student must submit an essay from the SAT or ACT testing along with the completed online application.  Request an application from the Honors Director by completing an inquiry form on this website. The Director will then email the link to the application. Selected applicants interview with the Honors Council as part of the final application process.  Once the interviews are completed, the Honors Council makes its final decisions and offers invitations to the chosen applicants.

If you have other questions not answered here, fill out our online inquiry form to get more information.