College Admissions: 4 Honors Programs That Rival the Ivies
Monday, May 30, 2011
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 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 (pictured, above) 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.
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 capital (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. Sixty percent 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 freshman 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.
More: 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, 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.
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