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Countdown to college: Honor colleges are states' best-kept secret

Lee Shulman Bierer, Tribune News Service on

Published in Education News

* Priority class registration

* Honors classes and seminars just for honors students or smaller classes with limited enrollments

* Honors housing with more amenities and often more convenient and desirable locations

* Specialized programming with guest speakers and meet-and-greet opportunities with visitors to the university

* Living and learning communities that combine academic interests and housing

* Team-building and leadership programs


* Enhanced career guidance services

* Greater access to undergraduate research opportunities

* Greater access and scholarship dollars toward study abroad opportunities

* Guaranteed admission to highly selective majors and programs

John Willingham has literally written the book on honors colleges, "Inside Honors: Ratings and Reviews of Sixty Public University Honors Programs" (Public University Press; www.publicuniversityhonors.com), where he shares his methodical research results. His research has demonstrated that one can find equally excellent value in the growing number of honors colleges in non-flagship institutions. But to find that value, you have to look deeply into what Willingham calls the “ground game” of honors colleges and programs.

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