College Honors: Worth it?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 31, 2009 9:39 PM GMT
    I saw the thread about classes and I figure why not?

    I just barely squeezed out a 3.5 last semester and now the honors are asking me to apply. I know that they could reject me, but applying is gonna take actual work and I'm already trying to get into my 'college' of choice in my university.

    The main question I'm asking is do employers care about this? I'm just a freshman though so this isn't exactly a pressing matter.. Its just that some people say they do. I find that a little hard to believe. I could just do well, not have the pressure, and have a good GPA. Wouldn't that mean the same thing?
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jan 31, 2009 10:07 PM GMT
    Depends on what type of job you are looking for. If you are going into sales they look at alot of other factors. I do strongly believe that making deans list affords you the honor of asking and getting a higher starting salary.icon_idea.gif My niece jusy graduated from college with a 3.8 average. She took a position with a starting salary of 50,000. She also asked for and received a two week vacation. A friend of hers took a similar position, they are both in phamaceutical field. Her friend is making 38,000 one week vacation. Same job, same hours. Her friend has to do more travel and a benefit package equal to hers.

    Good Luck in your future endeavors!!

    Mike3
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2009 1:24 AM GMT
    worth putting in the work. Its your future and every little bit helps. If not for employers for yourself. Much success to you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2009 1:30 AM GMT
    I was debating the same thing...thanks for posting this.

    My physics project requires me to do some intesive research so i inquired with my chemestry teacher and he said i can do an honor's program that would be part of my physics project....and inquire to ask my physics teacher if i can get an honors in it if I go the distance....two birds with one stone! haha

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    Feb 01, 2009 1:31 AM GMT
    i actually do a fair amount of recruiting for my company, although it is definitely not my "real" job title (i do statistical analysis for the paycheck). we do look at whether you are a part of an honors program, but it is not the sole decider in hiring decisions. i think your idea is correct - it's not worth it if your gpa will decline significantly due to your involvement in honors classes. however, if you think you can maintain a similar gpa while participating in the program, i highly recommend it. it highlights a lot of positive qualities you might have has a candidate and just makes you more likely in general to get hired. saying that, if you opt not to participate in the program i think it would be beneficial to beef up your resume with other activities or community involvement. employers are just looking for someone who is hardworking and proactive, an honors program is one way to show that, but not the only.

    at my college, you could not graduate summa cum laude without being a part of the honors program, which was a huge incentive for me. granted, the typical classes were a little easy anyway (more a reflection on my college than my intelligence, although i was valedictorian icon_razz.gif), so i welcomed the more challenging syllabus. but, graduating with honors i think is something you can be proud of your entire life...so i would also keep that in mind if your college has a similar structure. hope this helps! icon_biggrin.gif
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Feb 01, 2009 2:23 AM GMT
    I think an argument can possibly be made both ways. If you're looking at continuing your education, I'd say yes absolutely. This is something than give you an edge, though schools also like well-rounded individuals.

    As for the workforce, real-world experience, like job internships, etc., probably matters more. But you look at how competitive the job market is these days, anything that can give you an edge is something worth pursuing. All resumes being equal, if I was looking at two equal candidates with the same education, someone with honors would probably stand out. Given the unemployment rate right now among young adults and people in their early 20s, you want something to make you more attractive to a prospective employer.

    Of course, there's no telling what the job market will be like when you graduate. It could be better. It could be worse.
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    Feb 01, 2009 2:36 AM GMT
    i can't really comment from experience, as i am still an undergrad and haven't done any hiring myself, but being that i have attended a ton of seminars and talked to countless executives, the fact that you were in honors doesn't really cut it. it is a plus, but companies nowadays are looking for a well rounded individual.

    i would recommend participation in extra curricular activities like a professional organization, and also do a recurring community service project (like big brothers big sisters). a high GPA is obviously good tho.
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    Feb 01, 2009 3:24 AM GMT
    LGWC saidI saw the thread about classes and I figure why not?

    I just barely squeezed out a 3.5 last semester and now the honors are asking me to apply. I know that they could reject me, but applying is gonna take actual work and I'm already trying to get into my 'college' of choice in my university.

    The main question I'm asking is do employers care about this? I'm just a freshman though so this isn't exactly a pressing matter.. Its just that some people say they do. I find that a little hard to believe. I could just do well, not have the pressure, and have a good GPA. Wouldn't that mean the same thing?


    In the short term, employers in certain sectors will honor it; I know J&J values it, for instance. It can matter much later on in your career. Particularly with additional accolades under your belt. I recommend it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2009 4:52 AM GMT
    Do it! OMG... do it... you are so lucky.

    To get into our Honors program you have to apply... do research, present a thesis statement... do an experiment and present your results in front of a panel of PhDs/MDs.

    You don't get "asked" at my University.

    Do it! It'll look good on your applicationd to grad school too... if you are continuing on after undergrad.

    What is your major?... I forgot
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    Feb 01, 2009 5:06 AM GMT
    A lot depends on how you position and talk about it to a potential employer. You can do anything, but if you know how to get other people to understand what your experience have trained you to do in the future, that will put you in a better place.
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    Feb 01, 2009 5:08 AM GMT
    I've been to grad school, been an interviewer at corporations and nonprofits, and from my perspective as a past student and employer, it looks like you've been given some good advice and provided some excellent perspectives already. Nothing to add here, young sir.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2009 5:23 AM GMT
    If it's an honors program that involves a senior thesis or research project, that's definitely something that will be a plus in your future application folder. Since you'll work closely with a faculty advisor, that will also set you up for a good letter of recommendation. These things will definitely put you in the upper tier of future applicants and can help smooth over any rocky bits in the transcript.

    Oh, and if you go through the graduation ceremony, you get to buy that extra gold braid that you'll drape over some object in your apartment for a few years, and which will eventually end up in the bottom of your socks drawer for the rest of your life.
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    Feb 01, 2009 5:37 AM GMT

    Lol. This is perhaps not a good time to admit one has been around for a long time, but I have been around a some time (Lol) and have owned, managed, and sat on the board of many companies. You have to do the honors program or generate that high GPA for yourself.

    Having said that the hiring profile for all companies is different. I grew up in a large family owned business that at it's peak employed around 24,000. It was a manufactruing company and the CEO had a PhD in Physics and MBA from Harvard. We were very rigid when hiring and looked back even to high school performance.

    I think you will find that the greatest challenge in life will be taking what you learned in college and expanding that into a usable skillset in the workplace. That skillset will include interpersonal skills, general knowledge, and a whole host of skills that a high GPA will not guarantee.

    Expounding on the above, I had the pleasure of teaching a graduate seminar at a large public university. Most of the students were engineers, but many were also from the business school. I don't recall the entire conversation but a student had answered a question in response to purchasing quantities and stated "you must purchase the economic reorder quantity to run an effective business." My question was, "and what if you don't have working capital to do that?" He frooze. He assumed that what he had learned in the vacuum of college also applied in the real world. It may. It may not.

    But anyway, go for it. Keep pushing until your GPA rises even higher.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2009 6:01 AM GMT
    Your post reminds me so much of myself. If there is anything life has taught me over the years its that you take opportunities when they are given to you.

    I have no idea how much weight an honors program will have on your employment prospects but they definitely come in handy for Grad School. As a freshman you might be unsure of what you want to pursue after university or, as in most cases, encounter new experiences during your studies that alter your professional goals. Undertaking an honors program will keep your options open as well as ensure you are able to remain competitive at all levels regardless of what you might choose to do later in life.

    Stop thinking about the amount of work it will take and just do it already.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2009 6:29 AM GMT
    I don't think there's any harm in it. Aside from the academics, you might learn something new from the experience like research skills, time management, writing, and so on. Learning these now will help later in college and when you get out to the workforce.
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    Feb 01, 2009 8:26 AM GMT
    I'm not sure if there's a different system over there or not, but for most courses in Australia, to get honours means an extra year of study.

    If you get a job after completing your undergrad then you can expect to earn somewhere around $35,000.

    If you stay and do honours, you need to be able to earn enough money to make up that $35,000 in some sort of reasonable time, which is difficult because in comparison to people who didn't do honours, you have one year less work experience.

    If further education is important to you, then honours is important. If it's money, then just get a job.

    You need to be careful to weigh up your options and what is important to you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 01, 2009 4:13 PM GMT
    Thanks a lot guys,
    I think I might join honors next semester then if I don't kill myself. I might get a job and I'm already part of a sport club and killing myself from a lack of sleep is not of my things to do.

    But yeah, thanks for answering that question, my dad was also really confused why I didn't try and apply to join honors when I could have.
  • asupas

    Posts: 234

    Feb 01, 2009 4:16 PM GMT
    Just to add to what everyone else said - I was definitely asked about my GPA and honors program in my first few interviews after graduation. Employers in my field (finance) seem to care about it.
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    Feb 02, 2009 1:02 AM GMT
    honestly, I dont think it matters so much. I was in the honors program because I thought 'that's just what you're supposed to do'. When applying to medical school, the entrance committees cared less about the Honors than about other academic accomplishments and extracurricular activities. I think it depends on what your graduate plans are. Some programs place more emphasis on the honors thing than others.
  • cowboyupnorth

    Posts: 264

    Feb 02, 2009 4:05 AM GMT
    What is your major? I was in the Honors club and I have never been asked about it or my GPA for that matter, but I am a social worker and interview very well. If I was an engineer then I think it would be a different story.

    I also was a member of Golden Key and Mortar Board, a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership and service. Again other than today I do not think I was ever asked about this, lol. SOI agree with others if you can do it great, if not do not sweat it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 02, 2009 4:15 AM GMT
    If you're going into graduate school, I STRONGLY recommend college honors--it will set you apart from the competition (as with AP in high school).

    That aside, it really won't add much to a resume or basic application, unless its specific to the industry (i.e., business, etc...).

    It saved me, that's for sure.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 02, 2009 4:16 AM GMT
    My major?
    Ah, thats funny.

    I'm an undecided trying to get into landscape architecture. I don't know if that will happen. I've made my essay (gotten them reviewed by several sources) and after I submit them I'll cross my fingers and hope the interview goes well.

    If that fails, I'll just have to be an engineer.
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    Feb 02, 2009 5:29 PM GMT
    You get to attend the simple morning honors graduation ceremony so you can skip the boring, crowded evening general graduation ceremony and be free to party for the rest of the day icon_razz.gif
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    Feb 02, 2009 5:53 PM GMT

    This thread calls for a song...



    Thank you. xx
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Feb 02, 2009 5:59 PM GMT
    Some colleges actually weight their honors programs more than the general classes .... check with your college see if that's the case