Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Honors Program

Dr. Meredith is back, this time to describe how students are invited to join the Honors Program at Carolina, as well as how you can get involved even if we're not able to invite you to join the program as a first-year student.

Hello again, It is that time of the year when we start fielding questions about the Honors Program. Invitations were mailed early last week, and most students should have received them by now. Just as I did earlier with merit-based scholarships, I’d like to provide some information about the selection of Honors Program invitees and what that means for the students invited and those not invited.

In my earlier post, I described how the Admissions Committee reviews about 13,000 applications for each of our two deadlines. From this pool, we identify about 600 students per deadline for a faculty committee to review. This committee selects about 300 students to be invited to join the Honors Program in their first semester. At no point in this review are we making decisions based on your SAT, class rank or other numerical values. Your essays and recommendation letters are really the focal point. I won’t repeat my “mental wrestler” description but that’s what we’re looking for. As you can see, it is very competitive and in reality, a great number of very bright students are not invited to join the program in their first semester.

What does all of this mean? If you receive an invitation to join Honors, you will need to either accept the invitation or decline by notifying the Honors Program of your decision. If you accept the invitation, you will be contacted by the Honors Program about selecting classes, advising options and other opportunities and responsibilities.

If you were among the 4,000 admitted students who were not invited, do not despair. If you choose to come to Carolina, and we certainly hope you do, you will have the opportunity to do some amazing things that are not contingent on membership in the Honors Program.
  • You can take a First Year Seminar with one of the top faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill. These classes are small, discussion-based seminars that allow for in-depth examination of the subject matter.
  • You can participate in a connected learning community through the good folks in Housing.
  • Get involved in undergraduate research EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT INTERESTED IN SCIENCE!!
  • Take a couple of Honors classes. What? Yep, anyone with a 3.0 GPA can take an Honors class and about 1/3 of the seats in most Honors classes are actually students not in the Honors Program.
  • Go see the world through our top ranked study abroad program
  • Create your own study abroad program through the Burch Fellows program.
  • Graduate with Honors. Work closely with a faculty mentor in your department to complete a senior thesis and you’ll graduate with Honors from Carolina.
And I’m not even close to being done. Hopefully you can see that there are plenty of exciting, rewarding experiences awaiting you at Carolina. If you find yourself still wanting to join the Honors Program you can apply after your first or second semester. Just contact the Honors Program for more information about that option.

Hopefully this helps clarify the whole invited vs. not invited situation. Not getting an Honors invitation is not a commentary on your value to us nor is it an indication that you were not worthy. Just as we don’t have room in the first year class for all of the outstanding students who apply, we don’t have room in the Honors Program for all of the amazing students who are admitted each year. Come to Carolina and experience all that we have to offer.

-David Meredith