By Lauren Beeman
Quincy University’s honor program presents student members with the opportunity to go above and beyond academically.
During his sophomore year, Dylan Handlin was granted the opportunity to take his developmental biology class as an Honors’ course, and conducted assigned research over the course of an entire semester.
“Myself along with another Honors student conducted research analyzing the development of zebra fish embryos. We concluded the experiment by sharing our results and findings with the remainder of the class,” Handlin explained.
Quincy University’s Honors Program began in 2006 with only 26 student-members.
Now entering its eleventh year, the program boasts 206 active members, and intends to welcome 17 new freshmen students this semester.
“QU’s Honors Program is unique and encourages students to strive to do their best inside the classroom,” Erin Flaherty said.
To qualify, an incoming student must have achieved a cumulative 3.5 or higher grade point average throughout his or her entire high school career. The student must also have an ACT score of 27 or greater.
Students who qualify for or receive the Presidential Scholarship are automatically admitted into the program.
However, this is not the only way an interested student may become a member. At the start of the spring semester, any freshman who achieves a 3.5 or higher grade point average during the fall semester receives an invitation.
Simon Bruckner, believes the perks associated with being a part of program make it worthwhile.
“Before I came to Quincy, I was the type of person who just skated by on natural talent and intelligence alone. I could have continued that when I got to college, but instead I decided to try and push myself to become better. The Honors Program has helped me do that,” Bruckner said.
With the perks, however, comes hard work.
In order to remain an active member, a student must meet a certain amount of additional criteria in order to graduate with Honors at the end of his collegiate career.
The stipulations require a student to maintain a 3.4 or higher grade point average as well as complete six “honors” courses spread across eight semesters.
An Honors student may take a class already designated as “honors” in the course catalog or may choose to make a required class “honors” via a contract with the professor.
In the contractual case, the student and professor establish an extra project, presentation, or reading assignment for the student to complete that is not available to other students in the class.
For junior member Bridget Hunkins, this is what makes the Honors Program the most attractive.
“Taking an honors class allows me to explore the subject matter in greater depth and in a direction of my liking. I want to go to graduate school for research, so this instilling a habit of looking deeper into the information given to me leads to a deeper understanding,” Hunkins said.
The purpose intended by the six courses is to heighten the level of difficulty required by a class and make it more challenging for the student.
Benefits for Honors’ members stretch far beyond the walls of the classroom.
Students involved in the Honors Program are granted preferred registration for all classes, and are allowed to signup for classes before other students.
In addition, Honors students also receive preferred registration for study abroad programs.
Typically, students who take over 18 credit hours are charged additional prices, but members of QU’s Honors Program may take up to 21 credit hours a semester at no additional charge.
Bruckner also notes another benefit of being a member of the program includes the chance to be surrounded by other Honors students.
“Being surrounded by people who are always going the extra mile and trying to do the best work they possibly could inspires me to try harder, take risks, and further myself not only as a student, but as a person as well,” Bruckner said.