By TOM SCOTT SCHAERRER JR.
More homework. The mere mention of it causes most students to cringe, yet each year nearly 800 incoming freshmen welcome the increased load by joining the honors program.
Students who want to join the honors program must sign a contract promising to maintain a 3.5 GPA, take certain honors courses, complete written summations of 40 classic works and submit a senior thesis paper. While all students are accepted to the program, only 150 of those students successfully complete the program each year.
“Obtaining the honors distinction is the highest academic distinction for BYU graduates. It is the most prestigious and does make a big difference,” said Steven E. Benzley, associate dean of honors.
The honors designation is more important to potential graduate schools than a high grade point average because it shows that the students have truly challenged themselves, Benzley said.
Candice Jones, a junior in the honors program, originally joined the program to help her chances of being accepted to a graduate program, but enjoys the reduced class sizes and teacher student interaction.
“I feel that the teachers try to get to know the students better and reach out more to the students,” Jones said.
While the classes tend to be smaller, more intimate and shorter, the grading and expectations are much higher. Jones said that the teachers expect the students to already have efficient writing and research skills.
Paul Sellers, a senior majoring in zoology, took two honors classes but then decided the honors program was a one-sided experience that would not give him time to develop practical skills.
“I feel that work experience has been more valuable to my future career than just more reading and study,” Sellers said.