Harper College

Honors Program FAQs

One would expect Honors courses to offer more depth and challenge, and our Honors courses do that. However, Honors courses emphasize enrichment over acceleration, meaning we define Honors more by the nature of the learning experience than by the amount of work assigned. Many courses cover essentially the same material that will be covered in regular undergraduate courses. In any case, the weekly workload of Honors students generally will not exceed two hours of out-of-class work for each hour of course credit.

We do expect Honors students to be motivated, responsible, persistent, curious and serious about their education. Therefore, we try to include enrichment activities that build on and develop these qualities. Students are often asked to become leaders in the classroom--perhaps by directing some discussions or helping to design class projects. In some cases, students may help develop the structure and content of the course itself. Often, Honors instructors schedule special events and activities: guest speakers, field trips, hands-on projects, etc. Smaller enrollment in the courses (usually eight to fifteen students) allows for more student-to-student and student-to-instructor interaction.

There are multiple ways you will be able to find Honors courses before you register. First, check this Web site! Honors courses are posted by semester on the COURSES page. Second, every Honors student receives mailings from the Honors Program Coordinator that include the following semester's courses, often before any other courses are published and released to students. These mailings will also contain information about upcoming events within Honors Society. Third, the window of the Liberal Arts Division Office (L203) has a section dedicated to Honors, with all the information a current member needs. Nevertheless, the best resource will be the Honors Program Coordinator and Honors Society Officers. They have the absolute, most up-to-date information. You can find the Coordinator in his/her faculty office and the Honors Officers often can be found working in L334. Lastly, every Wednesday they all get together in L329 for the Honors meeting.

You don't have to be a genius to be an Honors student. Nonetheless, something in your record should indicate the qualities we want to see in Honors students. High school GPA (3.5 or of 4; 4.5 out of 5) may be one indicator; ACT (25+) or SAT (1130+) scores may be another. Students can also qualify based upon recommendations by Harper instructors or in other ways. (The criteria for entering the program are listed below this section.)

We are all trying to do this, and it is never easy. Welcome to the club! One advantage of membership in Honors Society is that it invites you into a "social life." Once you are accepted into the program, you automatically become a member of the Honors Society and you are eligible to involve yourself in our activities. We go on outings (plays, museums, etc.), do community service activities, throw parties, have weekly meetings, and just have fun.

..., all of which are optional. If you don't have the time, you are not required to do any of these things. Still, we strongly encourage people to get involved. Not only do you get to know your fellow Honors students, you also build your résumé. If you wish to transfer to a four-year institution after leaving Harper, you can point to your social and community activities as well as your academics. Colleges like students who do things-constructive things-besides studying. If you can combine a high GPA with a record of extracurricular activity, you will be a good candidate for scholarship money.

Honors instructors generally expect their Honors students to be capable of "A" and "B" level work. If all students in an Honors class earn A's and B's, fine. The only "catch" is that Honors students are expected to do quality work, come to class, and be active and constructive participants in their own education. There should be an element of challenge in Honors, and therefore high grades are earned, not handed out ("A"s and "B"s are not guaranteed). Still, most Honors courses stress cooperation rather than competition.

The Honors Colloquium course at Harper, "Great Ideas of World Civilizations," has been designed specifically as a shared learning experience for Honors students. It offers a multidisciplinary approach to some of the greatest thinkers in the history of civilization. Core readings currently can include selections from Plato, The Buddha, Bacon, Darwin, Freud, Nietzsche, Rousseau, Machiavelli, Swift, Voltaire, Marx, Frederick Douglass, and Simone de Beauvoir. (These are supplemented by other readings, historical and contemporary.) It is a discussion based course that gives the student the opportunity to self reflect on their thoughts through writing and then voice their "Great Ideas" in an environment that is conducive to group discussion. The course is listed in the catalog under either HUM 105 or HST 105, and students may enroll under either designation for humanities general education credit. 

Harper offers a number of scholarships open to Honors students. And of course, your participation in the Honors Program may help you earn scholarships at a four year institution.

Don't enroll in Honors courses. You will still "be in Honors" and will receive our materials as long as you're enrolled at Harper, but you are not required to remain active.

If you complete twelve credit hours of Honors courses and maintain a GPA of 3.25 or higher, your transcript will contain the designation Honors Program Graduate. Students who first enrolled at Harper College in or after the fall of 2001 must take the Honors Colloquium class (HUM105 or HST105) as part of their 12 Honors credits. You will also receive recognition at the Spring Honors Convocation. (You need to let us know when you plan to graduate with the four courses, to assure that you will receive the appropriate recognition.) If you take three or fewer Honors courses, those courses will be marked as Honors courses on the transcript, but you will not receive Honors Graduation status.

Most students continue with their education, transferring to other schools around the country, including DePaul, Loyola, Northwestern, Harvard, Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Berkeley, Michigan State, Elmhurst College, Roosevelt, Northern Illinois, Barat College, University of Chicago, Northeastern, Indiana University, Illinois-Chicago, Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Columbia College, Colorado State, and many, many more. Other students enter directly into the workforce.


Last Updated: 12/14/23