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Frequently Asked Questions

 


Why Should I Join the Honors Program?

To give yourself a transfer edge! Students who complete the Honors Program have access to special transfer agreements, including the UCLA TAP program. See list of our transfer agreements.

To experience a great learning environment! Honors classes have a maximum of 20 students and emphasize active student interaction both among students and between the students and professor. You'll be working with a community of dedicated, motivated students and faculty.

To access individualized counseling and mentoring! Workshops and one-on-one mentoring from the honors coordinators, counselor, and faculty in preparing applications for university admissions and scholarships.

To participate in extra-curricular activities! Honors students have the opportunity to present your own work at the annual Building Bridges honors student research conference, cultural activities, college visits, and leadership opportunities, serving as a Class Advocate, on the Honors Advisory Council, on the Transfer Advisory Council, or participating in Outreach activities.

"Always remember that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing."
–Abraham Lincoln

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What is the Honors Program All About?

The Honors Program offers seminars in a variety of general education classes that you need to transfer, all of which encourage you to improve your critical thinking, written and verbal communication skills, and to cultivate your awareness and understanding of diverse points of view. We are committed to drawing a diverse group of students and faculty together and providing learning opportunities and services which will prepare the you to be more competitive in reaching your future goals.

"All our dignity then, consists in thought. Upon this we must depend, not on space and time which we cannot fill. Let us labor to think well: this is the foundation of morality."
–Blaise Pascal, Pensees

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So How Do I Take Advantage of the Transfer Agreements?

You'll need to meet with the Honors Counselor and the Honors Coordinator to do the paperwork to get the agreement started, plan your coursework so that you can complete the honors program (this means taking 5 honors classes during your time here and maintaining no less than a 3.2 GPA), and then certify that you have completed the program. Please be aware that for many of the schools listed above, you'll need a higher than 3.2 GPA - so you need to take 5 honors classes, fulfill the other course requirements for the major and school you are targeting, and keep up your grades. Staying in close contact with your counselor and honors coordinator is the key here, as well as holding up your end of the bargain in terms of required GPA.

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Will my honors classes show up as honors on my transcripts?

Yes! All but our newest honors courses have the "H" designation and will show up as such on your transcripts. And even for the brand new honors classes that don't yet have the "H" there is still a way for these to show up on your transcript as honors.

Making sure your transcripts reflect the honors course work you do and getting certified for having completed the program is simple. You simply need to request the Extra-curricular activities form (check the box when you order your transcripts online or request one from the Admissions and Records Office).

This form has a place for you to record your Honors coursework; you then bring the form to your Honors Coordinator so he or she can sign and certify your Honors work. If you choose to take the 5 classes required to complete the program, we will certify your completion on this form as well.

This form (which also lists all of your extra-curricular activities, publications, and scholarships and awards-don't forget to include your Honors Program leadership positions here) will be sent out with your official transcripts. Be sure to update the form as needed so what goes out accurately reflects your achievements.

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What are Honors classes like?

Honors classes are smaller, which allows for a greater emphasis on critical thinking by insisting on active student participation in each class session. Classes are typically taught seminar style, which means they are centered on discussion rather than lecture, so come with questions, have something to say, and say it. Developing your verbal agility and confidence is an important part of honors classes.

Honors classes emphasize reading challenging primary texts and not simply textbook material. You'll be reading material that you will have to study and re-read, and you'll encounter texts about which thinking people engage in vigorous discussion and debate, a discussion we fully expect you to participate in actively.

Honors classes emphasize developing your writing and critical thinking skills through the assignment of at least 20 pages written work-this will better prepare you for the demands of university level work and challenge you to learn to articulate your ideas and insights in clear academic prose.

Honors classes emphasize innovative teaching strategies to challenge honors students to go beyond rote learning and to discover creative or original solutions and conclusions.

One of the best features of the honors classes is that they foster a sense of community. This can help you to succeed if you take advantage of it.

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How do I complete the program?
To be certified as having completed the program, students must take and successfully complete with a B or better five honors courses  and maintain an overall GPA of 3.2. Please be aware that for many of the schools/ programs to which you may be planning to transfer, you'll need a higher than 3.2 GPA to be competitive-so you need to take 5 honors classes, fulfill the other course requirements for the major and school you are targeting, and keep up your grades. The Honors Program can give you an edge, but you must meet the basic entrance requirements for the school/ major you're applying for before this "edge" kicks in. 

All of our Honors courses have articulated separately and will show up on your transcripts with an H. For example, if you take honors English 1A, it will show up as Eng 1AH on your transcript.

Making sure your transcripts also reflect your certification for having completed the program is simple. You simply need to request the Extra-curricular activities form (check the box when you order your transcripts online or request one from the Admissions and Records Office).

This form has a place for you to record your Honors coursework; you then bring the form to your Honors Coordinator so he or she can sign and certify your Honors Program completion. Extracurricular and Honors Record Form.

This form (which also lists all of your extra-curricular activities, publications, and scholarships and awards-don't forget to include your Honors Program leadership positions here as well as your conference presentations or publications) will be sent out with your official transcripts-it is official! Be sure to update the form as needed so what goes out accurately reflects all of your most recent achievements.

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Four Key Ingredients Distinguish How Honors Classes Are Designed & Taught:

Honors classes are smaller, which allows for a greater emphasis on critical thinking by insisting on active student participation in each class session. Classes are typically taught seminar style, which means they are centered on discussion rather than lecture, so come with questions, have something to say, and say it. Developing your verbal agility and confidence is an important part of honors classes.

Honors classes emphasize reading challenging primary texts and not simply textbook material. You'll be reading material that you will have to study and re-read, and you'll encounter texts about which thinking people engage in vigorous discussion and debate, a discussion we fully expect you to participate in actively.

Honors classes emphasize developing your writing and critical thinking skills through the assignment of at least 20 pages written work-this will better prepare you for the demands of university level work and challenge you to learn to articulate your ideas and insights in clear academic prose.

Honors classes emphasize innovative teaching strategies to challenge honors students to go beyond rote learning and to discover creative or original solutions and conclusions.

So How Do I Succeed in This Kind of Class?

Class members must attend regularly and come prepared. This last point is crucial. Any small group is demoralized and rendered less effective by sporadic attendance or poor preparation. Unprepared members may get something out of attending, but they sap the vitality of the group, diluting the honors experience for the others. And they can be detrimental if they try to bluff their way through a discussion. For our honors classes to do well, your full commitment is essential.

Everyone participates and interacts-we respond to each other and treat learning as a collaborative effort. It is not possible to divide participation into exactly equal shares. Nonetheless all class members should speak up some of the time. Don't worry about whether you've fully comprehended the material. If we heard only from those who had already mastered the material, then we could simply listen to a lecture from the professor and skip discussion, but that would neutralize the potential for genuine engaged inquiry.

One of the best features of the honors classes is that they foster a sense of community. This can help you to succeed if you take advantage of it. Practically speaking, be sure to get contact information from some of your classmates so that in the rare event that you miss class, you don't compound the absence by coming unprepared to the next class session. Beyond that, treat learning as something that takes place outside the classroom as well as inside-and remember that genuine learning is often collaborative. Consider forming study groups (formally or informally) with classmates, talk about class materials over a cup of coffee, study together, and discuss ideas. This will enrich your learning experience which in turn will pay dividends in the classroom, enriching the experience for us all.

In the Honors Program we stress critical thinking, as do many other classes. Critical thinking means trying to think clearly and honestly-working to become an independent thinker, able to learn from others yet make judgments for oneself. Critical thinkers value intellectual honesty and seek to free themselves from hidden assumptions as well as the dictates of impulse and emotion. This is the ethical component of critical thinking. Critical thinkers do not think negatively. Yes, they notice problems. But they seek solutions. They reflect. They question. They think evaluatively. Success in your honors classes depends in large part on your openness and willingness to thinking critically.

Writing is a key component of all your honors classes. This is where the work you do in class discussion, and your independent reading and critical thinking all come together to demonstrate what you have learned about the material you are studying. Writing (and re-writing and re-writing) is a way to deepen and sharpen your thinking and to begin to really own what you've been studying.

Finally, honors students who succeed ask for help when they need it. Your professors, coordinators, counselor, class advocates, classmates can all help you to succeed. Reach out if you feel like you're struggling. Chances are you're not the only one who feels challenged. Take advantage of the small class to really connect with your professor and classmates; take advantage of the advising you can get from our program counselor and coordinators and from your professors.

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What are the Requirements for getting into the program?

To be eligible for the program, current RCCD students need:

  • 3.0 GPA and completion of 9 transferable units
  • Eligibility for or Completion of English 1A
  • Completed Honors Program Application

To be eligible for the program, incoming high school students and all other 1st time college students need:

  • 3.0 GPA
  • Eligibility for English 1A or Completion of the equivalent of English 1A at another institution
  • Completed RCCD application
  • Completed Honors Program Application

Students must complete an honors orientation before or during their first semester in the program.

Students who may be slightly below the GPA requirement may submit an appeal for admission (see the form) into the program. The coordinators will have the authority to make limited exceptions when a student's ability to benefit from and successfully complete the program is not accurately reflected by his or her transcripts.

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