Outside of Lycoming Hall. Photo by Bri Raymond.

The Honors College

Only 20-30% of people graduate university with honors. It is a demanding yet rewarding process as it opens up lots of opportunities for the future careers of undergraduates.

The Honors College at Bloomsburg University holds determined and wide-eyed students looking to better their future. Incoming freshmen should have the opportunity to know what they are getting into when they join the honors college and how the program can be beneficial to them. 

When you think of the Honors College you would typically think that it would be more demanding and more challenging than being a “regular” student. For example, every honors student has to do a capstone project by the end of their four years. This project encapsulates one of their best and most fulfilling experiences on campus, turning it into a 10-12 page paper. Some other requirement of being in the Honors College is having to take 3 honors seminar classes, participate in 2 events per semester, do 16 hours of community service, and keep a 3.0 GPA. This may all seem like a lot but it is definitely manageable and most students do not have a problem getting it done. 

Upon walking into the fishbowl, sat Abby, a current freshman with short brown hair and bangs. Lycoming has become Abby’s home away from home.

“I really enjoy living in Lycoming, there are a lot of opportunities and people here. You get great study rooms and can get a lot of help from the directors.” Abby stated confidently. 

“Getting to meet the people I am friends with now, I think being in the mentor groups really opens you up to getting to know new people.” She said fondly with a smile, recalling her friends. 

Life as an honors student

Abby and her friend, Carly, working in the Fishbowl.

In addition to Abby, sat her mentor Alyssa. In the honors college students, older students get the opportunity to be mentors for incoming freshmen. As a mentor, you plan events for your “mentees” and have monthly check-ins. Some events in the past have included yoga, study nights, and bonfires.

“I had a mentor and she was super helpful and I enjoyed my time with her. I never understood the mentor/mentee relationship and when the position was presented to me I had never been in a leadership position. But I just went through it and I thought I could help first-year students.” Alyssa discussed. 

“There are a lot of benefits to joining the honors college like the priority scheduling, and the internships, and I wanted to be around people who were serious about school. It’s not harder to be an honors student, we have an edge because we seek out this program and the honors classes are catered to us.” Alyssa explained as her hands expressed these benefits. 

 As an honors student, you get certain events that other kids may not have. For example, around the time of pursuing these interviews, that weekend the honors kids got to go on a camping retreat where they kayaked and did bonding activities. 

 As an honors student, one of the benefits you get is getting to live in Lycoming Hall. Living in Lycoming, you get a big study space called, “The Fishbowl.” This makes a lot of sense as most of the walls are windows from the bottom to the top of the walls. Many outsiders walking around campus can peer into the students working. In the morning hours of the Fishbowl, you can typically find students cramming in last-minute assignments before class and you can hear quiet conversations over coffee. But when it comes to the night hours of the Fishbowl you can almost always find a big group of friends catching up, talking about their classes, and rushing to get homework done. 

Not only do you get great study spaces like the fishbowl, but you also get the directors of the Honors College in close contact with you. The fishbowl holds three separate meeting spaces, decorated with pictures of students in the honors college on trips and events they have held.

From the Director of the Honors College

 “It’s always fun to work with high achieving students who are able and willing to engage in not only scholarly material but with the world and they are ready and willing to take on challenges. They tend to be really interesting students to work with.” Dr. Hintz, the director of the honors college, exclaimed. Dr. Hintz, a tall middle-aged man with brown hair and glasses, speaks eloquently clearly having a lot of knowledge and passion about the honors college.

“The point of our honors college is not for it to be ‘harder college.’ A willingness to expect different kinds of challenges and an eagerness and a desire to make the most of your 4 years. It’s easy to come to college and declare a major and you get your degree, which is great, but what else did you do?” Dr. Hintz remarked.

“We have a call out to our faculty that we have this new curriculum that any faculty are welcome to apply to teach a gen ed. seminar within honors. We have this fairly long and detailed list of what we want the faculty member to explain to us why they want to teach this course and what techniques they will use.” Dr. Hintz explains in regards to the honors seminar classes. 

“As a first-year/second-year honors student you are getting an experience that costs the university more so in effect you are getting more for your money’s worth. A lot of students don’t see that since they are not getting their money back. The university is spending tons of money per student to give you this different, qualitative experience from the moment you arrive on campus.”

It’s clear that Dr. Hintz is passionate about what he does and he really does want to see these students succeed, especially in taking these honors seminars. When it comes to spending all this money on college and your education, it’s important to take all the opportunities you can get and the Honors College is a surefire way that you will be doing that.    Being an honors student has its difficulties and can be challenging but the reward is worth it. Not only do you become a part of that small percentage getting to graduate with honors but the amount of knowledge you will have gained will have been worth it. You can take what you have learned not only in the classroom but outside experiences as well to be fully prepared for your future career.