The Activist weighs the pros and cons of being an honors student. The UC Blue Ash Honors Program was launched for the first time for the incoming class of 2017, the only requirements being that students had a high school GPA of at least 3.2 and an ACT score of 25 or higher. Inspired by the UC Honors Program at Clifton campus, UCBA’s new program focuses on experiential learning and requires that students must complete at least two self-designed or approved seminar “experiences” during their time at Blue Ash. If you meet the requirements for admission to the program, should you participate?

Pro: Incoming freshmen are automatically admitted to UCBA’s honors program, and with this admission comes a $1,000 scholarship per year just for being in the program! Several of the honors students have stated that this was the main motivating factor for accepting a position in the program. At the Clifton campus, while there are no scholarships awarded for just being in the program, honors students do have a large pool of scholarships to apply for, which are dedicated just to them.

Con: Acceptance into the Clifton Honors Program is not automatic nor guaranteed for UCBA Honors Students. However, the honors experiences completed at UCBA may count towards the five experiences required to complete the program at Clifton.

Pro: UCBA Honors Students enjoy various perks such as earlier course registration times, and the ability to register for seminars made exclusively for them. These honors courses, which cover a variety of topics, can count towards a student’s experiences required for the program. Previous honors seminars have been “Understanding the Patient Experience,” “Gold Rushes and Oil Booms” and “Rethinking Guilt and Justice.” Many of the honors students who have taken these seminars have greatly enjoyed them and have been able to at least one into their major and course load.

Con: The UCBA Honors Program can be time consuming for students with a full course load and other responsibilities outside of class. In addition to completing two honors experiences by the end of the program, students must also complete an online “ePortfolio” which reflects their progress in the program over the two years. Students are expected to upload reflections, essays, and other pieces pulled from their classes and honors experiences.

Pro: Honors experiences do not have to be just honors seminars. Other experiences can be a UCBA study abroad trip, a research experience, or a self-designed experience. All experiences must be pre-approved by the UCBA Honors Committee in order to count towards completion of the program, but students are encouraged to be creative and to explore their interests.

Con: The UCBA Honors Program is still new, having been launched in 2017, and therefore is still working out some logistics. Temporary change in leadership has also caused some confusion. Some students have called it stressful due to its “disorganization” and lack of clarity on requirements and expectations for participants.

The low down: Overall, if you have the patience, time, and flexibility to participate in UCBA’s Honors Program, it can be a great way to prepare yourself for the uptown program and an automatic $500 extra to put towards each semester at UCBA. Students can begin to explore and begin to craft their ePortfolios in the comfort of a smaller campus with more individual attention from professors and advisors, as well as receive advice and support on transitioning to the honors program at Clifton.

About Kaia LePage

Kaia LePage

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