Honors college students are expecting too much

Maria Duque/ Contributing Writer

It is obvious that becoming a member of the Honors College is a worthwhile choice. 

Even so, its reputation and benefits are not enough for some students. 

After winter break, I returned to Honors classes with far fewer students than I started with. I knew several people who left Honors after the first semester, and I know several more who do not plan to return in the upcoming fall semester. 

Hearing conversation among Honors students, it seems many are disillusioned by the requirements of the Honors College when compared to the benefits they receive.

Among these requirements are taking a few year-long Honors classes and earning 20 community service hours and 20 engagement points. These engagement points are earned by attending on- and off-campus events. 

By comparison, benefits include priority registration, exclusive internship and job opportunities, scholarships, housing in Parkview and Honors-only study abroad opportunities. 

But many say that the engagement points are too difficult to earn for full-time students that work as well. 

This is not an invalid reason, but as someone with a job and a full-time course load, I know earning the points is not impossible. 

While some events do take place during class or work hours, many are on weekends, nights or mornings. 

Attending a few events per semester is not only doable but also beneficial for students. 

I have attended cultural events such as Art Basel and plays at FIU or the Adrienne Arsht Center for free or with a discount while earning my points.

Another complaint is that Honors classes do not fulfill any major requirements and take up at least three credits per semester. 

This is understandable, since many students have almost no room for extra credits in their curriculum. However, the classes often take different approaches to issues relevant to different majors. 

For me, the appeal is that the Honors class is the most creative class I take every semester, and it is unique compared to the rest of the classes in my major. 

Another perk is the familiar atmosphere and connection that comes from having the same peers and professors for two semesters.

The fact is that these benefits should not even be the main attraction of the Honors College. It should be the prestige that comes from being a member of a more rigorous and exclusive segment of a university as large as FIU. 

This is what sets Honors College students apart in the eyes of graduate schools and employers. 

All this said, there are valid reasons to leave Honors. 

If the extra classes are too much work or too many credits, students should not sacrifice their well-being to stay. 

If students do not plan on going to graduate school or studying abroad, they do not need the benefits that Honors provides. 

The problem comes when students who choose to stay in the Honors College feel entitled to more scholarships and opportunities for doing less in class and around campus.

Students are well aware of what is expected of them when they accept admission into the Honors College. 

We know we will have demanding classes. We know what the advantages of a rigorous curriculum are. 

We are not entitled to more because we choose a program that ultimately benefits us after graduation. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo retrieved from FIU Flickr

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