13 Things to Expect Your First Year in the USF Honors College

University of South Florida honors program

As an honors student in high school, you may be thinking of applying to honors programs at different universities. According to the website, students accepted to the University of South Florida with a 4.0 weighted grade point average and either a 1400 or higher on the SAT or 30 or higher on the ACT are automatically admitted to the Honors College. Those with a 3.8 and either a 1360-1390 on the SAT or 29 on the ACT are invited to apply. Requirements differ for out-of-state and international students, but are pretty much along the same lines. With such an inclusive application program and diverse community, the Honors College at USF is like no other. If you decide to join this community of elite scholars, take note of the following things to expect in your first year.

1. You have a separate Honors Orientation.

After general orientation, honors students are stripped away to for a separate gathering to learn more about the honors program. Then you’ll go to the Allen and Grace building to sit with a peer mentor to register for classes and learn to navigate the honors building.

2. Your honors classes are SMALL.

As a public university that boasts about 50,000 students, small classes are nearly nonexistent. However, the Honors College only offers classes that are just around 20 students. Not only will you connect better with the professor, but you’ll get to know every single person in the class.

3. You’ll make close friends with other honors students.

On top of the small classes, you’re all suffering through the same courses and dealing with the same requirements–a great bonding experience. Some of my best friendships were formed in my honors classes.

4. You’ll be blown away by how smart your honors professors are.

Honors professors seem to know it all, but aren’t know-it-all type of people. Any question you have they can answer, and they’re definitely the best at devil’s advocate.

5. You actually have to attend class.

Sorry, but this is no joke. Three unexcused absences allots getting a D and administrators questioning your position in the program.

6. You’ll learn to think in an interdisciplinary manner.

The courses are listed as interdisciplinary honors (IDH) for a reason. Honors classes are geared towards teaching students right off the bat how to apply situations in all disciplinarians. Whether it be socially, politically, economically or culturally, you’ll learn to take a topic and see how it interacts in every discipline. You’ll first pick up this skill in your first class, Acquisition of Knowledge.

7. You’ll take Acquisition of Knowledge (AOK).

AOK is the first dive into the Honors College for first-year students. This class focuses on knowledge, how humans know things, and philosophic theories behind information.  Each class differs depending upon the professor, so always use ratemyprofessor.com. Expect a lot of philosophy reading, group projects, writing response papers and long essays; however, there are no quizzes or exams #blessed.

8. You’ll have to take a peer leading class.

This no-credit, one-hour class led by an older student in the college teaches you the ins-and-outs of the Honors College and USF. Your peer mentor is there to answer any questions you have and set you up for success.

9. You’ll meet with an Honors Advisor.

On top of your advisor for your major, you’ll have an advisor in the Honors College. They’ll help you map out your courses in the honors program and your major and give you tips on winning scholarships, planning studying abroad and getting involved at USF.

10. You’ll probably take a really cool class your second semester.

When you choose your honors class for the second semester, you’ll realize honors classes are truly unique. From classes on Harry Potter to social movements and protests, the program caters to the wide range of majors in the honors community.

11. You’ll attend honors events.

Other than the interesting classes, the Honors College Student Council organizes fun events like trivia, picnics and holiday parties.

12. You have access to more scholarship opportunities.

Within your first year, you’ll be working towards earning two scholarships: $600 for completing 50 hours of service and $600 for completing the global citizens project. These are applied to either the fall or spring semester of your second year. You also can apply for 30 other scholarships only offered to honors students.

13. You’ll question why you even decided to join the Honors College.

You’ll wade through stacks and stacks of essays you’re writing. You’ll go cross-eyed reading so much philosophy. You’ll watch the program requirements eat away at your extra credit hours. You’ll wonder why you even thought it was a good idea to take on this added challenge. Being an honors student is demanding but oh so rewarding. Just remember, the tassel (actually huge honors medal) is worth the hassle.

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