The University is renowned for football and the fans that support the team, but a lesser-known campus feature is the Roger Ogden Honors College. The honors college was founded in 1992 and offers a selection of courses tailored to high-achieving students.
The honors college is a small but unified community on campus. Honors students have the option to take courses unlike any on campus. These courses range from post-colonial African studies to the history of magic in the U.S.
Acceptance into this college requires high academic achievement. Most students enjoyed being challenged in high school and continue to enjoy the debate that occurs in these seminars. However, it would be advantageous to the real-world discussion we have if there were non-honors students present.
The honors college should consider giving unfilled seats to interested non-honors students, with the professor’s permission. Most honors courses fill up immediately, but there are a few classes with available seats after scheduling. It could be very beneficial for a non-honors student to experience the culture and potentially decide to join the college.
I appreciate the exclusivity of the college; it is a privilege we worked for. All students who were admitted into the honors college earned their way in. But the main purpose of many of the honors courses is to broaden perspectives, and an effective method to doing so is hearing different perspectives.
The student body as a whole can have the opportunity to learn from each other. There is an unspoken divide between honors and non-honors students, but this can abridged by using the honors college resources to lessen the divide.
An issue that I’ve encountered in these classes is that we often agree too much, making the potentially rich conversations fall flat at some points. In many honors classes, there are moments of wide-eyed silence.
To the professor, we may seem sheepish, but many students simply agree with each other and don’t want to reiterate certain points. There is opportunity for more growth if we expose ourselves to other students.
Honors 2000, a popular freshman course in the honors college, presents many philosophical questions about gender, race, climate change and societal expectations. This class was beyond enriching, but I couldn’t help but wonder what other students thought on the topics.
Most students in the honors college took advanced placement and dual enrollment classes in high school, and I’ve noticed a common thread in the way we think and argue. Working with fresh perspectives would strengthen the student body’s knowledge, both socially and educationally.
The honors college is a great environment to express your personal beliefs and find people to support and negate these ideas. The discussions we have are essential to the individual growth of each student. Being in the presence of high-achieving students and caring professors forces students to think in ways they haven’t before.
As a proponent of continual growth and educational exploration, I think having non-honors students participate in honors courses can be a life-changing experience, even if it’s only with a handful of students.
Erin Stephens is a 19-year-old journalism sophomore from Brusly, Louisiana.