Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Centennial Honors College
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does it cost more to join the Honors College?
A: No, there is no fee for joining the Honors College. Any WIU student who meets the eligibility requirements for joining the Honors College may do so, free of charge.
Q: If I join the Honors College, will all of my classes be honors classes?
A: No. Honors students typically take one honors course a semester. A student can complete the fullest set of honors requirements (University Honors) in four years by taking the equivalent of one honors course a semester. It is possible to take more than one honors course a semester, but it's rare for a student to take more than two honors courses at a time.
Q: Can I do a Study Abroad Semester if I join the Honors College?
A: Yes! Honors students are encouraged to study abroad, and in some cases studying abroad can help a student complete his or her honors requirements. The Honors College offers a $500 scholarship for honors students who plan to do honors work during the study abroad term. If you plan to study abroad, be sure to discuss your plans with your major advisor and your honors advisor.
Q: What happens if I join the Honors College and then decide that it's not right for me?
A: You can withdraw from the Honors College at any time. If you feel that the Honors College is not right for you, just tell us and we will take you off of our lists.
Q: What happens if I join the Honors College and my GPA drops below 3.4?
A: Depending on your major, your GPA must be 3.4 or 3.5 when your degree is granted in order to graduate as an Honors Scholar. If your GPA drops below 3.4 at some point before you graduate, you won't be withdrawn from the Honors College immediately as long as it is still realistic for your GPA to come up to the required level before you graduate. However, if it becomes unrealistic for your GPA to rise to 3.4 or 3.5 before you graduate, or if you are placed on Academic Probation or Academic Warning, you will be withdrawn from the Honors College.
Q: Do I have to live on an Honors Floor if I join the Honors College?
A: No, you are not required to live on an Honors Floor if you join the Honors College. However, if you are interested in living on an Honors Floor, contact us and we will help you make that happen.
Q: Are honors courses a lot more difficult than other courses?
A: Not necessarily. The main difference between an honors course and a non-honors course is who is taking the course. Because honors courses are filled with honors students, the level of discussion will be different, and the expectations of the faculty member teaching the course will naturally be higher. You might spend more time working on your honors course assignments than on your non-honors course assignments, but primarily because you find the honors course more stimulating. Students typically get similar grades in their honors and non-honors courses.
Q: Do I have to take an honors course every semester if I join the Honors College?
A: No. Honors students who have not already completed a set of honors requirements are required to complete at least one honors course a year. If you have not already completed a set of honors requirements and two semesters pass without your completing an honors course, you will be withdrawn from the Honors College for lack of participation. If for some reason you are not able to take an honors course for two semesters, talk to your honors advisor.
Q: Do I still see my regular major advisor if I join the Honors College?
A: Yes! Your major advisor is your main advisor. You MUST meet with your major advisor every semester. Your honors advisor is there to help you through your honors requirements. It is a good idea to meet with your honors advisor every semester, but you are never required to meet with her, and she cannot lift your "advisor hold." Your honors advisor usually emails you when it's time to set up an honors advising appointment.
Q: What is an "in-course honors" project?
A: An "in-course honors" project is an extra assignment that you do in a regular class to turn it into an honors course. The project should be something that enhances the class for you, and relates the course material to your own interests. The type of project is up to you and your course instructor, but some examples are papers, presentations, websites, performances, works of art, and reports. Depending on your major, your Upper Division Honors requirements might include anywhere from two to five in-course honors projects. At the beginning of each semester, you have four weeks to decide if you want to do an in-course honors project in a course, consult the course instructor, fill out the in-course honors proposal form, have your instructor sign it, and turn the form into the Honors College. You can download the form as a Word file from here: http://www.wiu.edu/centennial_honors_college/forms.php. At the end of the semester, the Honors College will contact your course instructor to verify that the project was completed to his or her satisfaction. If it was, an "H" is put at the end of the course number on your transcript. Before you consider doing an in-course honors project, be sure to check your honors plan to make sure it will count towards your honors requirements. When in doubt, talk to your honors advisor.
Q: What is the difference between graduating as an Honors Scholar, and graduating with a GPA based distinction like Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude?
A: You do not need to join the Honors College to graduate with a GPA based distinction like Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude. These three distinctions are determined solely by your GPA (the guidelines for these three distinctions can be found in the WIU catalog here: http://www.wiu.edu/catalog/2011_-_2012/requirements/graduation.php#honors). Graduating as an Honors Scholar means that not only did you have a high GPA when you graduated, but that you went further by either taking some honors courses, completing honors work in your major, or both. Many students graduate both as an Honors Scholar and with a GPA based distinction. Both designations appear on the final transcript, and both are recognized at graduation with a medallion.
Q: Do I have to write an honors thesis in order to graduate as an Honors Scholar?
A: Not necessarily. It depends on which set of honors requirements you are following. Students who plan to graduate as either a Lower Division Honors Scholar or a Pre-Law Honors Scholar are not required to complete an honors thesis. The requirements to graduate as an Upper Division Honors Scholar vary by major. To see which majors require an honors thesis for Upper Division Honors, look at the honors requirements organized by major here: http://www.wiu.edu/centennial_honors_college/requirements.php.
Q: Do I get to register early if I'm an honors student?
A: Being an "active" honors student is one factor that determines your registration time. If you are an "active" honors student on the 10th day of a given semester (meaning you are currently in an honors course, or have completed an honors course in an earlier semester), you will get the honors registration time for the next semester. The honors registration time for juniors and seniors is usually on the first day that undergraduate students can register, and the honors registration time for freshmen and sophomores is usually 10 days after that. If you are in the Honors College, but are not in an honors course and haven't taken one in a previous semester, you will not get the honors registration time.