West Georgia’s Honors College, the first to be established in the state of Georgia by the Board of Regents, has grown tremendously over the years. The program offers a comprehensive curriculum and honors distinction to all of UWG’s undergraduate programs along with many opportunities that allow students to achieve greatness.
The Honors College offers students so many opportunities outside of being able to take honors courses. The hallmark of UWG’s Honors College is the research project. This is when honor students get to attend a conference and present the research they have done for any honors course they choose on a national level. Students get to add this to their academic resumes.
“[Eight] of the last [eleven] years no other college or university in the nation has had more research projects accepted for presentation at the National Collegiate Honors Council than UWG,” remarked Michael Hester, dean of UWG’s Honors College. “We believe it is a key part in the success that many of our graduates experience when they apply for graduate and professional programs.”
Another great opportunity that is granted to students in the program is scholarships. Georgia’s prestigious Presidential Scholarships are awarded to at least eight honors freshmen each fall semester and range from $3,000-$4,500 each year. They are renewable for up to four academic years. Students who qualify are contacted directly by the Honors College office to schedule interviews.
The Honors College offers thirty honors courses to its students each fall and spring semester in chemistry, economics, English, history, marketing, mathematics, physics, political science, psychology and other subjects. Roughly 500 students are eligible and take honors courses each year.
“In 1993, just twenty years ago when I was in the program, there were only three honors courses that were available to us the entire time we were in the program,” said Hester. “Now, there are so many courses that students can choose from each semester they are in the program, and the courses change up. That’s a tremendous change in the program from then to now.”
The program has an Honors Council that was not a part of the program twenty years ago. The Honors Council is much like Student Government except that it is only for honors students. This council allows students to take a leadership position that they will be able to add to their academic resume. This council adds a lot more structure and communication in letting students know what is all out there for them as far as internships, conferences, research opportunities, etc.
The structure that the Honors College has now was not there twenty years ago. In addition, students could go to conferences to present their research projects, but their expenses were not paid for. The Honors College now pays for all expenses.
One of the biggest perks to being in the Honors College is priority registration. Students in the honors program get first pick of classes whether they choose to take an honors course or a regular course. Another perk is students who choose to take an honors course will take that course with fifteen other students. A smaller class size essentially means professors can have a more structured focus on every student.
Some students think since they were not chosen to be in the Honors College as an incoming freshman, they would never get the chance. Students already enrolled at UWG will qualify to be in this program after they have obtained at least fifteen credit hours with at least a 3.2 cumulative GPA.
“I am extremely grateful to have been in the Honors Program during my college experience. I have worked at the Honors House the past three years and being in the program has greatly enhanced my education. The University of West Georgia is a great school, but for me the Honors Program made it a superb school,” said Emily Lamb, a senior in the speech-language pathology program at UWG.
“I was afforded the opportunity to take the most challenging yet rewarding classes with some of the best professors on campus, explore the field of research by presenting at a conference and seek several scholarships available through the program. The Honors Program was a major factor in expanding my capacity to think originally and deeper than ever before, and I feel I have gained immeasurable knowledge and experience in academia from my time in the Honors Program.”