Why Student Development?

The Benefits of Good Standing

The challenges of being an Honors Program student include meeting a higher standard of academic performance, accepting rigorous coursework, and contributing to service work beyond that required for an ordinary A.A. or A.S. degree. "Why take on those challenges?" is an important question students must answer for themselves. Many of the challenges themselves are enjoyable to a significant number of students. Others accept the challenges in order to qualify for the benefits.

The benefits of good standing as a Certificate-Track Student in the Honors Program include

Honors Student Council Club Rush

  • Priority registration* 

  • Free UC Irvine and UCLA library cards;

  • Dedicated transfer counseling with longer appointments;

  • Eligibility for special scholarships and awards;

  • Special recognition at graduation;

  • Special preparation for upper-division work;

  • Transcript notation not only for each Honors Program course taken, but also for Program completion;

  • Priority, preferred, or other special admissions consideration to Honors Program transfer partner colleges and universities;

  • Opportunities for mentorship in research presentations at honors conferences; and, most fundamentally,

  • Challenging and enjoyable academic experiences.

*New California legislation taking effect in Fall 2014 places limits on priority registration. The main issues for new Honors students are completion of matriculation and advisement requirements. For details, see
http://www.saddleback.edu/admissions/registration-appointment-priority. Regardless of matriculation or other status, Saddleback students concurrently enrolled in a K-12 institution are not eligible for priority registration.

The Requirements for Maintaining Good Standing

To be in "good standing," Certificate-Track Honors students must

Honors Student
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 over all UC-transferable courses and finish with a GPA of at least 3.2 in Honors courses.

  • Commit no acts of academic dishonesty or other violations of the Saddleback College Student Code of Conduct.

  • Meet with a Transfer Center counselor at least once per semester.

  • Make reasonable progress (as determined in consultation with an Honors counselor) toward Program completion. Usually, this equates to at least one Honors class every semester.

  • Engage in community service, school service, or leadership activity, every semester unless for extenuating circumstances you are excused from this requirement.

  • Make reasonable progress (as determined in consultation with a Transfer Center counselor) toward completing academic goals such as major preparation and fulfillment of Honors Program core and elective requirements.

  • In dealing with the Honors Program Office and the Transfer Center, keep all appointments, update contact information as needed and complete correspondence in a timely fashion, meeting deadlines.


Certificate-Track Probation

Students who have been admitted as Certificate-Track students but fall out of good standing are still Certificate-Track Honors Students.

Students in this category

  • retain their eligibility for Transfer Center counseling,

  • are welcome in all Honors classes,

  • are not eligible for Honors priority 

  • are not eligible for Honors transfer certification, but must continue to see a Transfer Center counselor each semester so that -- when good standing is again achieved -- the transfer certification can go forward

  • will not receive transcript or certificate recognition for Program completion until they return to good standing, but will receive Honors credit for all such courses on their transcripts.

Honors Probation is not noted on transcripts and does not appear on any academic record outside the Honors Program Office. 

The Honors Program’s goal for its students on Honors Probation is their eventual return to Good Standing, and we seek to facilitate that wherever possible. Reinstated students regain all rights and privileges of Certificate-Track status.



Students whose enrollments indicate no intent to complete the Program, those who commit acts of academic dishonesty, and those who otherwise violate the Saddleback College Student Code of Conduct may be permanently removed from Certificate-Track status.

The growing body of scholarly research devoted to the relationship between student development and student success clearly demonstrates that the co-curricular is an essential partner with the academic experience.

Vincent Tinto asserts, “students are more likely to persist and graduate in settings that involve them as valued members of the institution. The frequency and quality of contact with faculty, staff, and other students in an important independent predictor of student persistence. This is true for large and small, rural and urban, public and private, and 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities.”1

A 1996 report from The American College Personnel Association pushes this argument further, articulating that “institutions want to demonstrate that they are paying attention to instruction that transcends the classroom experience education that encompasses the whole collegiate experience and thus articulate institutional learning competencies for all students." To this point, “[t]he concepts of 'learning,' 'personal development,' and 'student development' are inextricably intertwined and inseparable."2 To make this connection function at the highest level, student affairs departments, such as student development, must articulate student learning outcomes to be a part of this institutional conversation.

Saddleback College Student Development Philosophy

The Student Development Office is committed to the philosophy that students who participate in the life of a college excel academically, personally and professionally. Students who participate in co-curricular activities, building relationships with faculty, staff, and peers are most likely to stay in school and persist to graduation. The Student Development Office therefore supports the leadership and personal development of our students through opportunities such as the Associated Student Government (ASG) and campus clubs.

It is our mission to attend to the whole person in supporting student development and lifelong success. The eminent Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner(link is external), in his research concerning the cognitive abilities associated with leadership, asserts that if we are to thrive personally and professionally we must develop five mental capacities: a disciplined mind; a synthesizing mind; a creating mind; a respectful mind; and an ethical mind. The Student Development program, along with Saddleback College’s top rated academic offerings, athletic programs, and other co-curricular experiences, all serve to offer every student the opportunity to cultivate these cognitive characteristics of excellent leadership.

The Student Development Office’s programmatic foundation is built upon three cornerstones within which we categorize all of our learning lab experiences (lessons, experiences, training opportunities, reflections, etc.):

  • Self-Awareness, Personal Development, and Life Skills
  • Leadership and Communication
  • Social Justice and Responsibility

Student Development Advisement Philosophy

Student Development staff advise the Associated Student Government (ASG) and provide significant support to all campus student clubs and organizations. Utilizing our articulated student learning outcomes (below), we work with students individually and in group settings to realize their full potential as emerging leaders. To achieve this ultimate goal of supporting student success we’ve articulated a multi-step co-curricular advisement process:

PART I (Fall):

  • Orient, educate, and train:
    • Presentation of Student Learning Outcomes
    • Expectation setting
    • Initial leadership training (retreats)
    • Introduction to personal development
    • Development of personal rapport, mutually learning about personal goals
  • Significant support for initial endeavors:
    • Guided program and event development/management
  • Potential for success and failure, challenges and opportunities (usually all):
    • Planned events, programs, and initiatives in execution will fall on the spectrum of “requiring significant improvement” to “requiring minimal improvement”
  • Process success and failure, challenges and opportunities:
    • Planned events, programs, and initiatives will be assessed and discussed.
    • Devise revised plans for future endeavors
  • Guided reflection and assessments

PART II (Spring):

  • Minimal guidance (with thorough support) for secondary endeavors
  • Potential for success and failure, challenges and opportunities (usually all):
    • Planned events, programs, and initiatives in execution will fall on the spectrum of “requiring significant improvement” to “requiring minimal improvement”
  • Process success and failure, challenges and opportunities:
    • Planned events, programs, and initiatives will be assessed and discussed.
    • Devise revised plans for future endeavors
  • Guided reflection and assessments, some cumulative

1. Tinto, V. "Classrooms as Communities: Exploring the Educational Character of Student Persistence" Journal of Higher Education. 68, 6 (November/December 1997): 599-623. Taking Retention Seriously

2. The American College Personnel Association, "The Student Learning Imperative: Implications for Student Affairs. www.acpa.nche.edu/sli/sli.htm.

Students who have been removed from Certificate-Track status retain only their eligibility to enroll in Honors classes and earn Honors credit for all such courses on their transcripts.