Q & A and Testimonials
- My child put a lot of time into AP classes and while it was a good experience, it was also somewhat draining. If college classes are of equal challenge, what is the value of taking even more high powered classes? A: While good grades and strong academic performance are definitely important the "depth of knowledge" that is the aim of AP classes is not the primary focus of our Honors College. Students will get "depth" of knowledge within their majors. What Honors offers, is breadth of knowledge. Honors courses, ground in the liberal arts, are all interdisciplinary and focus around the broad theme of personal leadership development for the purpose of civic engagement. Through Honors students build academic relationships with bright, motivated, engaged peers who major in over 60 different programs offered on the campus. Through interdisciplinary study, Honors students gain insights into multiple perspectives change agents use to identify problems and seek solutions----to find the gifts and possibilities existing in themselves, in others, and in the contexts where they work and live.
- How do AP credits work? Aren't those often "general education"? A: These are really two questions. First, WCU does accept AP scores in all test areas. Each department has different regulations in terms of what AP score must be earned to give credit for a specific class. A full listing of AP credits can be found on the Honors College web page. Second, in terms of general education, traditional students at WCU must complete 48 credit hours of identified "general education" work. For Honors students, the nine core Honors courses, plus an additional class in either math or science, fulfills all general education requirements. For many majors, these hours become available as "directed elective classes" where students, with advisement from their academic majors and/or Honors, can consider exploring adding a minor (or two!) or even a double major and still be able to graduate in four years. Other options for the "elective classes" include the potential of a semester of international study or a full semester internship (similar to student teaching) where the students apply the theory of the classroom in the larger community. An important exception needs mention. If a major requires specific "cognate" courses that also count as "traditional" general education classes, then students still need to take those classes. For example, Chemistry majors must take CHE 103. That class is also a "general elective" option for other majors on campus, say, History. While the History major would not need to take CHE 103, the Chemistry Major still would.
- I have taken more than 8 AP classes, isn't my general education already completed? Why would I do Honors? In this case you definitely have a dilemma. With that many AP credits, there are some majors that would allow you to possibly graduate in three years. For all sorts of economic reasons, that would be hard to turn down. What you would need to consider is the value of a four year college experience-----true, you want to "get out" but you also want to use the gift of these years to explore your options and soak up as much learning as possible. Ultimately, you can indeed graduate without an Honors designation, however, our alumni attest that Honors opens doors at times of job interviews and in terms of application for graduate programs. There will be a lot of individuals who graduate with a college degree, but only 40 per year will have the officially transcripted recognition of Honors College.
- If accepted, is it a requirement that Honors students live in Honors housing? A: One of the particular benefits of WCU's Honors College is designated Honors housing. The 7th floor of Allegheny Hall, one of the newest resident facilities on campus, houses the Honors students in two person suites with a private shower and free laundry facilities. Allegheny also hosts a large central lounge and technology center for use of students use. Unlike any other students on campus, Honors students are guaranteed campus housing in Allegheny until they graduate. Housing upper class students with entering freshmen dramatically aids in building community and provides substantial peer mentoring opportunities. Because many of the class assignments in Honors are group related projects, the extended availability for students to work collaboratively makes this community living ideal. Peer mentoring and group study is particularly valuable during midterm and final exam periods. While the floor is designated as "Honors" students in Honors may elect to have a "non-Honors" roommate. It is current practice that all incoming first year Honors students reside in Honors housing for at least their first year. Over 75% of students stay for a second year. Click here for a virtual tour of Allegheny Hall!
- If accepted, how soon is a decision required? A: Admissions to Honors is competitive. We are limited annually to 40 seats. Seats are held once we receive a student’s signed agreement of acceptance, an initial deposit is made to the university and a housing contract filed with Allegheny Hall. We do generate a wait list once our 40 seats are filled as there are often some shifts after the national deadline of admissions acceptance of May 1.
- Does Honors offer any scholarships? A: Honors does not offer specific recruitment scholarships for freshmen. That being said, many Honors freshmen do qualify for university based merit scholarships. For full consideration, it is critical that interested students must: a) file a scholarship application form with the WCU office of Financial Aid (attention Ms. Barbara Fenton); b) have the application filed by early January. It is of value to alert the Financial Aid office that you are a candidate for the Honors College.
- How are roommates assigned? A: Entering Honors students are given designated housing in Allegheny Hall. Upon acceptance to Honors, students are asked if they have a roommate preference. Honors students are able to choose whomever they wish (of the same gender) to be their roommate. Thus, if a student has a "best friend" who is coming to WCU and who is not in Honors, that student is welcome to reside in Allegheny with the invitation of the incoming Honors student. Most incoming students (generally over 90%) do not have a specific roommate request upon acceptance. For these students, roommate selection happens during the Honors College two day summer orientation program. This event, which also fulfills the university's first year orientation program, provides an opportunity for the incoming class to interact in an overnight experience and two full packed days of activities where they are given multiple opportunities to interact. By the final banquet, students are asked to identify someone they would like as a roommate for the fall. The date for the 2015 Summer Honors Orientation is Session VII, June 25th. Honors extends the event through June 26th.
- Would being part of the Honors College interfere with playing a sport? A: Each year we have had athletes involved in Honors, several on the varsity level. It does take commitment and coordination, but we have never lost a student from Honors due to an unresolved conflict between a commitment to a given sport and one to Honors. We work closely with the various team coaches to let them know in advance the time slots where Honors classes are offered. Accommodations have always been reached in terms of practice schedules and class absences (which are rare given the times of official athletic events) are recognized for officially sanctioned performance events.
What was appealing to you about the Honors College/influenced your decision?
What was most appealing about the Honors College was the focus on service. I was always involved with service in high school, so being able to continue being heavily involved in community service in college was very important to me. Another aspect that was appealing to me about the Honors College was the sense of community. The fact that so many disciplines were in one place and were able to interact heavily made my decision to join the Honors College all the more easier. Dana Fillman, class of 2015
The main attribute of the Honors College that sold me was its claim to provide an atmosphere that would truly define the college experience and allow me to become closely acclimated with potential life-long friends. The Honors Curriculum, I feel, was tailored to my needs as an aspiring leader, and really allows students to embark in a deep exploration of themselves and the needs/challenges of their community. Tony LaFratte, class of 2015
I wanted to be a part of a group that I knew had a similar belief system for myself. Community service is very important for me so I wanted to surround myself with people who I knew also had a similar state of mind. I also wanted to have the opportunity to travel to South Africa. After hearing about the work they do there and the opportunity to get to do that first hand, I wanted to be a part of this group. Lauren Montemuro, class of 2012
How has Honors impacted you thus far in your college career?
Honors has essentially made me well aware that there are countless leadership challenges awaiting attention in the community, and that good leaders need to be well developed in many areas in order to successfully engage these issues. Tony LaFratte, class of 2015
I have been able to get a lot of leadership experience that will prepare me well for the future. Networking was another great part of Honors. I have had the opportunity to meet a variety of professors and get connected with them for projects. Lauren Montemuro, class of 2012
Honors gives me a support group and solid group of friends that I can count on. Honors has also made me come out of my comfort zone and challenge myself in ways that I never had before. Finally, Honors has helped me become a more effective leader. Dan VanHassent, class of 2014
Honors is not more challenging with respect to academic courses, but rather getting involved in volunteering and giving back to my community. Besides meeting so many wonderful people and building strong friendships, I have learned a lot about myself and where I want to go in my career. Megan Berberich, class of 2014
Honors has impacted my involvement as a leader on WCU’s campus. Without the skills I learned as a student in Honors, I would have never had the confidence to get involved -- let alone become a leader! Olivia Kenney, class of 2014
What has been your favorite honors-related event overall?
My favorite honors-related event most definitely has to be helping out with Dance for a Chance. I love working with a group of dedicated individuals towards such an event… it donates its proceeds to a charity of the dancer’s choice. Katie Collazo, class of 2015
My favorite Honors event has been Aid to South Africa…This is our signature event and embodies the beliefs and values of the WCU Honors college. Dan VanHassent, class of 2014
My favorite Honors-sanctioned events include: Hanging of the Greens, Orientation, South Africa Trips, Tuesday night Frisbee, Holiday Gathering at the Deans’, and the Crossroads Conference. These events embody the principles of Honors through scholarship, leadership, and teamwork. Michael Jendzurski, class of 2013
What was appealing to you about WCU? (Other than the Honors College):
Besides the Honors College, the overall atmosphere of WCU was appealing to me. The first time I saw the campus, I absolutely fell in love with it and knew it was where I wanted to attend college. The different style buildings, the diversity of people, and the community of the overall campus were aspects I found appealing. Dana Fillman, class of 2015
I like the town atmosphere…it is very close so on weekends there is still a lot to do if you wanted to walk off campus. Lauren Montemuro, class of 2012
My college decision was centered around the word “opportunity.” The primary draws were the Honors College, Division II Tennis, and the potential to take music to college through coursework or ensembles. Finally, I knew I wanted to stay somewhat local, especially knowing how important contributions to my family and alma mater are to me: you can always make a school seem farther away by how often you return home, but you cannot move a school closer to home. Michael Jendzurski, class of 2013
Other than the Honors College, WCU’s education program appealed to me most. West Chester is a great school for future teachers, and they have the best Middle Grades Preparation program I have seen. With a large number of education majors on campus, there are numerous opportunities to get involved at the different schools and after-school programs around campus. Many of them are even in walking distance! As an education major, I know I am getting the best education and experience for a great price. Brianna Plaxe, class of 2015