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College Admissions: 4 Elite Honors Programs in the East

Monday, November 18, 2013

 

Honors programs are a phenomenon that did not exist when most parents went to college. But today, many schools are touting them as a competitive tool. Some are extremely substantive and others are light in content and benefits. But, the truly robust honors programs offer students an academic experience that rivals the Ivy League, with many perks Ivy League students rarely see. The best offer an array of special courses, low student: professor ratios, top notch academic

advising, research and publishing opportunities, and in some cases—FABULOUS honors dorms. For top students who are selected (based on GPA and sometimes SAT scores), these programs present amazing opportunities, and often, generous merit awards. Participants end up being highly sought after for graduate programs and careers because of the resumes they are able to build while still in school. Here are just a few of the best east coast honors programs*:

University of Vermont -Named a Public Ivy in 1985 by Richard Moll (a former Yale admissions officer), UVM is small and unique. It began as a private university and became public in 1862. Nevertheless, with just 10,000 undergrads and 75% hailing from other states, UVM maintains a very private feel today. Set on a hill overlooking the picturesque town of Burlington and flanked by Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains, it is no wonder that UVM is home to one of the top ranked environmental programs in the country. Students take special honors courses based on their college (and later major) within the university. Research opportunities, fellowships and publishing opportunities abound, and honors graduates often matriculate at the top graduate programs in the country. Participants are encouraged to live in the honors dorms, which are state of the art, and there is a laid back feeling of excellence in the program which invites intellectual achievement without pressure.

University of Maryland -If you want a big state university with easy access to the nation’s capitol, U. Maryland at College Park could be the perfect place for you. It is home to very elite computer science and engineering programs, a terrific basketball team, and 26,000 diverse students (75% from Maryland). The honors program is based on 6 innovative Living-Learning communities and is rich in content. From “Digital Culture and Creativity” to “Entrepreneurship and Innovation”, students embrace the honors experience through living communities, seminars and advising. U. Maryland is a very active research university, so honors participants reap the benefits of those opportunities as well as internships in the nation’s capitol (which is just a few minutes away on the metro).

University of Delaware -this mid-sized university of 16,000 students is set in the town of Newark, Delaware with easy access to Wilmington and Philadelphia. 60% of students come from outside of Delaware, so the university is a welcoming environment for out-of-staters. UDel has many fine programs, but the Lerner School of Business and its Exelon Trading Center gives grads a real edge in pursuing Wall St. opportunities later. Students must apply to the Honors Program, and many who are accepted receive generous merit scholarships (on top of an already low tuition rate). Honors courses comprise half of the freshmen courses, including a writing colloquium, and there are special freshmen dorms. Class sizes are kept small, research opportunities are prevalent, and academic and career advising is stellar.

University of Georgia -Athens, Georgia is always named one of the best college towns in America. With just over 26,000 students (about 85% from Georgia), the university is filled with southern hospitality and school spirit, especially for their football team! The honors program focuses on motivating students to find their passions and excel. Professors who teach in the program are carefully selected, and students enjoy close professor relationships and mentoring. Honors course offerings are varied and students are encouraged to spend a semester abroad. Toward the end of the program, qualified participants may take graduate level courses and some majors offer a combined 5-year Master’s program.

* Other great honors program at public east coast universities include William & Mary, UVA and UNC. However, the minimal number of students accepted from out of state, and the high number of spots going to D1 athletes, legacy and international students, makes it extremely difficult for most out-of-state students to be serious contenders.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com .

 

Related Slideshow: Top New England Colleges According to Business Insider

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#13 Wesleyan University

Overall Rank: 49

Location: Middletown, CT

Score: 2.73 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $47,244

Business Insider: "With roughly 2,900 undergraduates on a 316-acre campus overlooking the Conn. River, Wesleyan uses its small size to provide highly personal faculty support and customizable programs of study to students.

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
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#12 Boston University

Overall Rank: 45

Location: Boston, MA

Score: 2.79 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $44,910

Business Insider: "A concrete campus located in the bustling city of Boston, BU has nearly 100 study abroad programs in 23 countries, an active social media presence with more than 200 Facebook pages and groups, and 20-plus NCAA Division I varsity sports, including a multiple NCAA national championship-winning hockey team."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#11 Wellesley College

Overall Rank: 44

Location: Wellesley, MA

Score: 2.86 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $43,544

Business Insider: "Madeleine Albright, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Diane Sawyer are among the nearly 37,000 living alumni of Wellesley College, an institute with an unwavering commitment to empowering women to make a difference in the world."

"Students are central to decision-making at this liberal arts college: They serve on major committees of the board of trustees, participate in faculty search, and contribute to strategic planning."
 
Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#10 Middlebury College

Overall Rank: 40

Location: Middlebury, VT

Score: 2.94 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $57,075

Business Insider: "Renowned for leadership in language instruction and environmental studies, Middlebury emphasizes close interaction between students and faculty as the core of its education. All courses are taught by faculty members, rather than graduate assistants, and 65% of classes contain fewer than 20 students."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
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#9 Tufts University

Overall Rank: 37

Location: Medford, MA

Score: 3.07 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,598

Business Insider: "Tufts University encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary studies at its two colleges, the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering. An overwhelming 90% of students are enrolled in the first, which boasts a liberal arts college feel in a research-rich environment."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#8 Boston College

Overall Rank: 36

Location: Boston, MA

Score: 3.09 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,088

Business Insider: "Boston College jumps four spots on our list, thanks in part to its tremendous growth in recent years. Undergraduate applications have soared 75% over the past decade, and voluntary giving by alumni has increased the university's endowment to $1.9 billion."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#7 Amherst College

Overall Rank: 27

Location: Amherst, MA

Score: 3.31 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $58,744

Business Insider: "Ranked the second-best liberal arts school in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report, Amherst College climbed four spots on our list this year."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#6 Williams College

Overall Rank: 23

Location: Williamstown, MA

Score: 3.40 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,600

Business Insider: "Williams was number 27 on last year's list, but our readers voted it up to No. 23 this time around. A top liberal arts college, Williams is set to host its own TEDx conference for students and faculty in January 2014."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#5 Brown University

Overall Rank: 20

Location: Providence, RI

Score: 3.60 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $45,612

Business Insider: "Brown is known for being the most individualistic of the Ivies, and with some of the happiest students."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#4 Dartmouth College

Overall Rank: 9

Location: Hanover, NH

Score: 3.96 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $46,752

Business Insider: "At 4,200 enrolled undergraduate students, Dartmouth is the smallest of the Ivies. But its size has no bearing on the prestige of its programs; the school was ranked No. 1 in undergraduate teaching courses by U.S. News & World Report for the fourth year in a row."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#3 Yale University

Overall Rank: 5

Location: New Haven, CT

Score: 4.25 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $44,125

Business Insider: "Our readers were not shy in praising Yale's hardworking professors: 'Yale is still the best ranking... school thanks to it[s] high profile faculty," one respondent pointed out. 'It's them who keep Yale in the top.'"

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.
Prev Next

#2 Harvard University

Overall Rank: 3

Location: Cambridge, MA

Score: 4.42 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $42,292

Business Insider: "For the third year in a row, Harvard has held fast at No. 3. Harvard's most popular majors (or "concentrations," as they're called there) are economics and political science, and the Crimson school has been hailed for its think-outside-the-box approach to learning."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

Prev Next

#1 MIT

Overall Rank: 1

Location: Cambridge, MA

Score: 4.5 out of 5

Tuition and Fees: $42,050

Business Insider: "The tech school admits fewer than 9 percent of applicants, some of whom have gone on to achieve prestigious awards like Nobel Prizes, National Medals of Science, MacArthur Grants, and National Medals of Technology and Innovation."

Business Insider's rating is scored out of 5 and is based on the results of a 1,000-person reader survey that asked how much each college will help students succeed in life. Tuition was used as a tiebreaker, with cheaper tuition pushing a school to a higher spot.

 
 

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Comments:

these programs present amazing opportunities, and often, generous merit awards

UVM ranked 12th (out of 377) in "financial aid not so great' and maybe the laid back atmosphere is due to the school being ranked 6th for "reefer madness." Given on UVM's own internal survey of seniors that more than 31% would not choose the school if they had to do it over again, I'm not sure that put it in the "rivals the Ivy league" for academic experience.

Yes, the dorms are nice..which maybe a good thing because given more than half the students rate the advising system there as less than good, students may end up there a lot more than 4 years..

Comment #1 by Prof Steve on 2013 11 18




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