Incoming students are invited to participate in the program based on their high school GPA, class rank, and standardized test scores.
First-Year Honors courses are designed for high-ability, highly motivated students. Faculty do not assume you will be experts on the course subjects but do expect active participation. These honors courses do not cover more material than other courses, nor are they advanced major courses for non-major students.
Faculty do not wish to penalize you for being part of an honors program. Work is evaluated by the same standards that apply in non-honors courses.
Yes, you still get to choose the topic of your Inquiry Seminar. One way of deciding whether or not you’d like to participate in the program would be to review the list of Inquiry Seminars that are available in each area. If there’s an Honors Inquiry Seminar that appeals to you, it may be in your best interest to be part of the program and take that Inquiry Seminar. However, if you find an Inquiry Seminar from the non-honors list that speaks to your interests more, then that could shape your involvement as well.
It’s not necessarily a minor or other degree/certification you receive but more of a chance to be recognized for the work you’ve done in high school and have that extend to your time at Concordia.
The coursework isn’t necessarily more challenging or more work. The main difference is that the classes are limited to 10-12 students rather than 15-20 in the standard Inquiry Seminars. This means that you get to dive a little deeper into some of the topics and work more closely with the faculty member teaching the course, but it doesn’t imply that it’s more work.
There aren’t additional requirements beyond the first-year courses, so your participation in co-curricular activities and work-study are not impacted.
It’s not really a program that has extended years, so you wouldn’t need to join it later. However, individual departments often have their own honors programs within the majors, which you may be invited to later. For example, one student may be part of three honors societies – such as Lambda Pi Eta (communication honors), Alpha Psi Omega (theatre honors), and Omicron Delta Kappa (leadership honors) – so if you decide to not take part in the First-Year Honors program, you could still look forward to other options later.
There is no cost to be part of the First-Year Honors program.
The courses that you take are an honors-level Inquiry Seminar and the writing or speech course that all first-year students take. The main difference is the size of the classes, typically around 10-12 students as opposed to 15-20 in the standard classes. The courses at the honors level are not necessarily more challenging or require additional work, but there’s more opportunity to engage in the content.
Benefits vary a little depending on the student because the experience is subjective. For some students, they may have taken college dual-credit courses or honors courses in high school and are seeking similar opportunities at the college level. For others, the advantage could be the smaller class size in those early courses as a means to interact with their professors more. It depends on what you’re hoping the college experience to be.