Published July 16, 2009
Written by Grace Chen
Learn about the many benefits associated with taking honors courses at your local community college and what you should expect in these rigorous classes.
Enrolling in honors courses in high school certainly offers its advantages, ranging from intellectual challenges to fast-paced learning. The perks of honors classes, however, are not restricted to high school!
Today, many community colleges are providing students with honors credit and accolades. Through the various advantages associated with honors courses, students enrolled in community college can enhance their competitiveness as they prepare for graduation and the challenging job market.
Honors Options at the Community College Level
While each community college offers its own programs and standards, Quinsigamond Community College is one of the exemplary schools providing diverse honors academic opportunities. Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) is one of the many institutions providing students with advanced honors credit. As QCC explains, their honors program is designed to “Motivate academically talented students to develop their fullest potential... The Program seeks to awaken and nurture a sense of humane citizenry and community responsibility within its members.”
Alongside general credit courses, students eligible to enroll in honors courses are permitted to engage in these alternative learning venues to fine tune their critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills. While the objectives for standard and honors courses maintain the same focus, students enrolled in QCC honors classes typically experience more classroom involvement, alongside enhanced independent analysis.
The Benefits of Honors Courses at the Community College Level
As the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) reveals, enrolling in honors courses at the college level demonstrates a student's skills, abilities, and work ethics. Adding to this, NCHC asserts, “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.”
Furthermore, through the 1,000 community colleges that have honors programs available, students who are effectively enrolled in such venues tend to report greater satisfaction with their classroom interaction experience, especially since their peers share the same academic values. In addition, for students who have expressed boredom or a lack of motivation in regular paced courses, the honors pathway can help stimulate a new rigor, drive, and passion for one's education.
Additionally, as QCC further reveals, students enrolled in the honors program enjoy a myriad of benefits, such as:
- Greater opportunity to participate in cultural and social events
- Personalized guidance from advisers, instructors, and peers
- Increased opportunities for scholarships and transferring to four-year universities
- Potential access to a restricted “honors only” lounge, library, or other facility
Understanding the Community College Honors Pathway
While some honors courses may require more work than regular paced options, an honors pathway does not automatically translate into more studying and homework. Oftentimes, the work required for an honors class may be similar to the volume in a regular course. The main difference, in general, between the regular and honors options is the nature of the class, the expectations established by the instructor, and the amount of participation required by each student.
In an honors setting, the frequency of discussion tends to be higher, with participation that is more challenging and intellectual. As one of the main goals of honors coursework is to boost each individual's critical thinking abilities, the demands of discussion, clear argumentation, and written analysis may be explored at a greater depth.
How Can I Enroll in Community College Honors Classes?
To determine if you may be eligible for honors courses, first find out if your community college has accreditation from your state's Department of Education and the Commonwealth Honors Program. Furthermore, students interested in pursuing honors courses should meet with their academic advisor, as each institution has its own requirements and entry procedures.Additional Resources [+]
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