Honors program has its flaws

Scheduling difficulties plague honors students.

Erin Cowles

The Minnesota Daily article about the University Honors Program (UHP) did touch on many of the amazing pluses of being a UHP student: advisers know us as individuals and class sizes are often smaller. However, the author failed to mention the downsides and struggles of trying to stay in the UHP. Fulfilling honors experiences can be a royal pain. I had many difficulties with my previous adviser who left this summer (thankfully, my new one helped me plan out how I will fulfill the rest of my âÄòexperiencesâÄô). I fulfilled two honors experiences my first semester. My second semester I took another freshman seminar, and I had planned on taking honors biogeography (GEOG 1403H). However, all sections of GEOG 1403H were cancelled. I contracted to make it honors, one of the most difficult things IâÄôve had to do at the University of Minnesota âÄî a project that graduate students would normally take on. My previous adviser also conveniently forgot to tell me that my two semesters of French could count as an Honors experience, as I was working toward a B.S., so I didnâÄôt need to fulfill the language requirement. I needed four honors requirements my first year, yet I managed to take five. Not all UHP students have my âÄúluck.âÄù It is difficult to find honors courses or to fit all the classes we need to take around an honors class only offered at one time, and honors classes seem to get cancelled often, forcing honors students to rework their entire schedules to try to fulfill the honors experiences requirement. I have friends who did not complete the four honors requirements from last year, and though they have one-time extensions to try to finish fulfilling them, their chances are pretty slim. UHP is an excellent way for students with good grades and high ambitions to have smaller classes and great discussions with professors in their fields. Having individual advisers is a definite plus, as well. Overall, UHP is an outstanding program, but there are several changes that could be made to better serve the academic interests of its students. Erin Cowles University undergraduate student