What Makes it Honors?
It's not about extra material, or longer assignments, or preparing for a nationwide exam. It's about investigating subjects deeply, joining a community of scholars, and becoming prepared for transfer and beyond.
Honors classes are not more work; they're different work. They're an environment in which students mature as scholars. Honors classes may involve
- primary sources and original authors more than textbooks,
- scholarly journals more than magazines,
- seminar discussion more than lecture, and
- original research more than reviews of others' research
- active participation in a small-class setting that allows better interaction with both professors and other students.
Honors Class FAQs:
Will Honors classes hurt my GPA?
- Probably not. We've studied the grade records of students who have participated in Honors Program classes, and we've discovered the following:
- Most students who have been admitted to the Honors Program earn the same or higher grades in honors classes than in their regular classes. A minority - about 25% - earn slightly lower grades in Honors classes
- Among the "Walk-In" students, who take one or two Honors classes without intending to complete the program, grades earned in Honors classes are, on average, higher than grades earned in non-Honors sections of the same class.
- We're not quite sure what the reasons for this are, but we have a few guesses:
- Honors classes are smaller, allowing for more faculty attention to individual students.
- Honors classes put more emphasis on individual research than standardized exams, so that students are more likely to maintain interest in their individual projects
- Students in Honors classes enjoy a sense of community
- Original sources may be more interesting than textbooks
- . . . ?
What application do I have to fill out in order to enroll in Honors classes?
- None. Enroll in Honors courses the way you would enroll in any other course for which you meet the pre-requisites. The only special procedure is for Math 3AH, which requires instructor permission.
Any student may enroll in any Honors class for which he or she meets the ordinary prerequisites, using the same procedure used to register in other classes.
By enrolling in an Honors class, students automatically become Walk-In Honors Students. No special procedure is needed, and no special permission is required.
I want to join the Honors Program later. Will my Honors classes count toward the certificate if I wait until later to fill in the application?
- Yes, but:
Except in highly unusual circumstances, you must complete the application to become a "Certificate-Track" student before your second Honors course is graded. Successful transfer under our Honors partnerships requires careful academic planning and continuous participation.Good standing in the Honors Program requires meeting with an Honors Counselor on a regular basis and participating in school or community service
- Yes, but:
Really, once you are in an Honors class you have joined the Honors Program! You've joined it as a Walk-In rather than a Certificate-Track student, but you will be doing the same work and be graded to the same standards as everyone else in the class.
What's the difference between Walk-In and Certificate-Track students?
- In the classroom, none. Just as you can't tell who in a history class is a history major, you can't tell who in an Honors course is pursuing the Certificate. Faculty themselves don't know who's pursuing the Certificate and who isn't.
Are Honors classes weighted so that an "A" is 5 points?
- No, but:
Every Honors class is noted by an "H" on your transcript next to your grade, and most Honors courses also have the word "Honors" in the title. Your transfer institutions, future employers, and you will know you challenged yourself to be and do your best while at Saddleback College.
- No, but:
"Participation in academically selective honors courses or programs" is one of the University of California's eight Comprehensive Review Factors for transfer applicants. Another is "Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of the college curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs" - exactly the kind of experience Honors is designed to create for you through research conferences and other activities.
Some courses under "HONORS" in the Class Schedule don't have an "H" in the course number or "Honors" in the course name. Are they real Honors classes?
- These courses count toward completion of the Honors Program, but students applying to a UC or CSU should put the number alone, not "H," in their application.
- Example: A course is listed as "ECON 8" in the Honors Class Schedule, The text underneath the ticket number says that the course is an "Honors section."
- The course will appear on the transcript as ECON 8, not ECON 8H.
- An "H" will appear on each student's transcript next to the grade earned in the class.
- In completing UC and CSU applications, students should enter ECON 8, not ECON 8H, as the course taken.
- UCLA and UC Irvine, as Honors Program transfer partners, will recognize the Honors section as part of Honors Program completion. This is done through communication between the Saddleback College Honors Program and the universities. Students do not need to take any action to make this happen.
- The honors programs at CSUF, SDSU, and other CSUs will count the Honors section of ECON 8 as an Honors course even though ECON 8, not ECON 8H, appears on the application. The Honors status of the course is done separately by the Honors Program office. Note that Honors transfer partnerships do not affect CSU admission; they are program-to-program partnerships that come into effect if and only if the student is admitted to the CSU in question.
- The image below shows Honors courses on a transcript. ENG 1AH, ECON 8, and ECON 2H all count toward completion of the Honors Program. A student applying to UC or CSU would indicate that the courses taken were ENG 1AH, ECON 8, ECON 2H, KNES 20, and TU 300:
Overall, Honors coursework can enrich your educational experience at Saddleback College.
We are eager to answer your questions about Honors. Visit, phone, or email, and we'll do our best to give you all the information you need.