Is there a difference between an honors program and an honors college? This is a common question asked by academically talented students who are motivated to challenge themselves throughout their college careers in an effort to fulfill their long-term goals. With so many different majors, universities and colleges to choose from, deciding which institution is best and which program is best can be a daunting task. The first step, for students who want to be challenged, is distinguishing between the honors program and the honors college. Here is a guide to understanding the difference:

What Are Honors Colleges and What Are Some of the Characteristics?

You can find honors colleges in comprehensive universities and also in some 2-year community colleges that are larger in size. These colleges are a single and diverse college that is located in a multi-collegiate setting. It is separate from a college of arts, a college of science, a college of business or any other colleges you can find at a four-year institution. Because these colleges are located in universities with large populations, they tend to have several more honors participants than an honors program will. The student body that attends an honors college often tends to be more diverse, because it reflects the mixture of students who are enrolled at the university.

How Does a Honors Program Differ From an Honors College?

Another option for highly motivated students is to attend an honors program at a public school. One of the major differences between an honors program and a college is that the program does not have its own physical identity or facilities. It is simply one of the many different programs that are offered by the university, but there is no special staff and no special dean to oversee honors students and make special honors-related decisions. An honors program may be more challenging than a traditional program, but in most cases you do not have to complete a thesis or special project. This can affect you if you would like to attend a honors program after you complete your undergraduate degree.

What to Consider When You Choose an Honors College

You need to consider several different factors when you are comparing honors colleges. Size is extremely important, especially when you are considering the population of a school. You should compare the student population and the honors population, and see if the ratio will dilute intellectual intimacy. You also need to consider the reputation of the faculty members who work at the college. What is their background? Do they take a unique approach to teaching? Is the curriculum challenging but practical? Can you complete the honors courses through all 4 years of your studies?

As you can see, there are several different things to consider when you are trying to decide if you want to attend an honors program or a college. High-ability students who need more individualized attention can benefit from attending an honors college. The college will keep high-achieving kids interested and also challenged in school.  Honors classes are statistically the better option to teach students skills for the future, and choosing the best school is imperative. Now that you know what an honors college is, it is time to compare the colleges located close to you to make a decision.

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