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University Honors Program Yes or No

  1. Jan 10, 2012 #1

    When I was in high school I took a lot of hard courses and was also involved extra curricular activities with a full 12 seasons of sports, I was also in a couple of clubs. As a result however I was absolutely miserable and hated high school, due to a lack of sleep among other things. All I literally did was study and work out. As a result of taking hard courses I didn't have as high of GPA or class rank as people who didn't. It really was depressing to see people who didn't do any were as much work and studying I did who were in like our top 10 as far as rank. The weighting system at the high school I went to weighted the grades depending on if they were just a regular course, honors course, high honors course, AP course, but it wasn't weighted enough...

    Any who I was wondering from a career stand point of view if it makes sense to join the honors program at my university. At my university a B is a B no matter what. There's no weighted system for grades. Now an honors course is harder, covers more topics, moves faster, etc. this makes it more difficult to earn the same grade you would of earned in a regular course. As a result one would have a lower GPA by taking a honors course. The only incentive to taking a honors course is that it would show up on my transcript as a honors course next to the course, and that's it. I feel as if the only point in time anyone is going to actually give a darn or even know that I took honors courses at my university is if I were to go to graduate school and was asked for my transcript. Other than that I don't see why I would ever be asked for it, unless I was applying in scholar ships. I learned in high school though that due to the fact that I make up the majority/most represented group of people in the academy there's not really much of a scholarship opportunity for me unless I was like at the top of my class. Sure I could a couple of grand maybe but not much. There were people in my high school who were a couple of class ranks ahead of me who got like a full ride to my university even though I was the better student because I took harder courses and had a lower GPA. They were also female, the parents didn't go to college, etc.

    So I was wondering what you would say if weather or not I should take honors courses at my university. I may never go to graduate school, although I may once I'm settled into a career for a couple of years and can support myself through school and work at the same time. I may be in my mid 40s by the time this happens though. I guess GPA is asked for every now and then, although I hear from people AGAIN AND AGAIN that GPA doesn't really matter and rarely asked for if you just have a bachelor's of science, but it is still nevertheless asked for every now and then and something that you shouldn't get to low. I have NEVER EVER heard of a employer asking to see a applicants transcript so that way they could see which individual courses you took and what grades you got in which courses. Then and only then would a employer know that I took honors courses. I would have a higher GPA by not taking honors courses, which may be asked for when I apply for jobs. All the merit based titles and whathaveyou at my university are all based on GPA. So like I have a easier time getting on the dean's list etc. because that is based on GPA and wouldn't have to work as hard to get onto that as someone taking honors courses because my courses are easier and it's easier for me to get a higher GPA. So as far as putting like awards and what not on a resume that I got from doing well in school, they are all based off of your GPA. I could probably put more awards, dean's list, etc. by not doing honors courses and having a higher GPA.

    Basically I really don't see the advantage of taking honors courses at my university and think that it would actually put me at a disadvantage because of a lower GPA. I think this is especially true for someone like me who will not be going to graduate school, at least right away. Even then I wounder if it would even make a difference if I was. Taking all those hard courses and not having much time to socialize with my pears and not really being able to just have fun and enjoy high school, I thought would benefit my future, and I'm uncertain that it has. I can not do that to myself again if it would make absolutely no difference in taking honors courses at my university. There's no way I'm going to take honors courses if it is only going to hurt me and have a lower GPA and there's no real incentive to make up for that.

    So from a career stand point of view do you think it makes sense to take honors courses at my university. I'm debating weather or not to take them, but don't want to regret it later down the road if there's no real benefit in doing so and as a result actually hurts me because of a lower GPA.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 10, 2012 #2


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    what does "honors course" mean in your university exactly?

    The ones you described doesn't sound all that useful. You need to look at these honors courses and see for yourself whether you actually need them or not. If you are much more confident at achieving much higher grades in, umm, mainstream courses then I would suggest you do that. Otherwise it's just a pain for people to estimate your ability.

    Now, I asked my first question because in my university there are honors courses for "honors degree" which is what most of us have to following bachelors and before masters. I find it a bit unusual that a university would have equivalent courses with varying difficulties (we do, but the department makes an effort to make sure people with same abilities get similar grades in both courses).
  4. Jan 10, 2012 #3
    honors course means that you do more more work, go at a faster pace, cover more topics, go in more detail, etc. A all around harder version of a normal course for "high achieving students" that have show to be qualified in academic record.

    Honors courses at my university generally have smaller class sizes so I guess it has the benefit have a lower instructor to student ratio. It just shows up on your transcript as "honors credit" I think they put - honors course, next to the course on the transcript. At my university a B is a B no matter what. There is no weighted system. So while a student in a normal course has a easier time getting a A because they have less work to do, less topics to cover, a student in a honors course may get a different grade because the course is harder and there's no weighted system to make up for it.

    The benefits they say is that if you apply to graduate school or a employer sees your transcript that they would know the student challenged themselves. And I'm unsure if the honors, high honors, AP courses that I took in high school really even made a difference when I applied to schools. It shows them that I challenged myself...

    I have never heard of a employer asking to see a transcript... ever... rarely is GPA asked for if you have a low degree such as a B.S. or so I've heard over again and again from people who actually have degree related careers who have a B.S., despite what my school advisers say thousands of times on how GPA actually matters and it's important. Sure it is but not to the extent they make it out to be.

    I'm not exactly sure I understand what a honors degree is and have never heard of such a thing before.

    And ya I agree my honors program at my university doesn't seem at all that useful. Even if it was weighted grades these systems prove to not be weighted enough, at least my high school didn't weight them enough by far at all. We had a girl who graduated second who took 1 AP course and the rest just honors, honors courses in our school were below both AP and high honors courses =/... and then some guy who took 6 ap courses his senior year who was like 5 his junior year dropped down to like 12th and didn't even make it in the top 10 because he had some Bs
  5. Jan 11, 2012 #4
    I think this is very true and is the reason why GPA is rarely asked for if you have a low degree. I don't think it's really possible to decide if someone is a good candidate for a job based off the GPA they earned when they were just staring off their lives and basically still kids when you start off college at 17/18 years old. Some people fall under the false impression of translating good grades with an ability to do something. When in reality these two things are not related at all. Solving questions from a textbook is nothing more than answering questions that already have well known answers to. I honestly think struggle, pain, and misery builds your character more than anything and allows you to do something. There were people who I went to high school with who dropped out of high school, got a job doing something that didn't require much thinking, and moved out and were able to support themselves, pay bills, everything. Something that I couldn't fathom doing at 17/18 years old right out of high school... I had better grades sure but I couldn't do that... and those people were looked down upon for dropping out but they were still nevertheless able to do something that I could of never done at that age...
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
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