**Written for Students by Students**
What is Campuswide Honors?
Campuswide Honors is a rigorous academic program and a close-knit community. Honors provides me with a solid support system academically through interactions with faculty who genuinely care and honors advisors who are always there to help. It also has given me my closest friends and classmates who are supportive and friendly. Honors provides a stimulating environment that has allowed me to grow into who I want to be.
Is it worth it to do honors? Is it only a “title”?
Between honors curriculum, the ability to do my own research, and the many social events, I find that honors is incredibly worth it. In honors core classes, I am able to really interact with professors, learning a range of different things and also developing the ability to think more critically and deeply. I can apply this learning and way of thinking to my honors and major classes, to my research thesis, and to the entire world around me.
How would you describe the honors community?
The students in the Campuswide Honors community are highly motivated, energetic people who strive to be the best they can be. You’re surrounded by people who want to achieve and importantly want to help others achieve. I easily found a support system among honors students, especially because honors students all take the same honors core classes together. Many honors students live in honors-themed housing, which is a great way to study together, have fun together, and get to know each other.
How can I get involved in Campuswide Honors?
As an honors student, you are a member of the honors community! Getting involved in Campuswide Honors can be as simple as coming to the weekly Coffee Hour or stopping by the Honors Office to chat with a Peer Academic Advisor. If you are looking for more, there are so many ways to get involved and gain leadership experience, depending on what your interests are. Campuswide Honors offers many opportunities to develop and grow as a leader in honors, including joining the Campuswide Honors Student Council or becoming a peer mentor. For creatively inclined students, there are the Campuswide Honors Yearbook and Neon Anteater Renaissance (NAR), a quarterly publication featuring student work such as poems and photography. In these positions, you can play a role in building the honors community.
Why should I get involved in Campuswide Honors?
Attending Campuswide Honors events is the easiest and best way to get plugged into the honors community. Students who actively participate in honors are able to build a support system and network of resources that ultimately help them to thrive and succeed at UCI. Moreover, honors is a great place to gain and develop leadership experience. Many honors students attend and volunteer for events as first years and become peer mentors and Campuswide Honors Student Council members as second years. These experiences provide a strong foundation for higher-level leadership positions in Campuswide Honors such as Honors Peer Academic Advisors and Honors Resident Advisors. Honors student leaders build a portfolio of skills and experience that translate into strong applications and prepare them for future careers. Honors students have won prestigious fellowships such as the Fulbright and the National Science Foundation as well as the Chancellor’s Award of Distinction; gone on to medical, law, and graduate schools such as Harvard, Stanford, and Yale; and to work for companies such as Google, SpaceX, Deloitte, and the federal government. And you could be next!
Are honors courses more difficult than non-honors courses?
Honors core courses are taught by top-notch faculty who look forward to teaching honors students. In a sense, honors courses are more challenging because they go into greater depth—that’s a good thing as honors students are really engaged and do have lively discussions about course topics. I also find a lot of support from the professors who are happy to talk to me during office hours and from my classmates who are in my study group. In the end, I learn a lot from honors courses in terms of breadth and depth of topics as well as developing important critical thinking and study skills, which have helped me succeed in my major courses and research.
The honors curriculum encourages students to better engage with their coursework through exciting discussion-based courses, led by some of the best professors on campus. While honors courses were designed to explore extensive interdisciplinary topics in greater depth, they are not meant to be more difficult than non-honors courses. The intimate class sizes allowed me to form long lasting relationships with my peers and professors organically, providing me with the support I needed for success both in and outside of the classroom.
Is it possible for honors students to graduate in four years? to double major? to study abroad?
Yes! Most honors students graduate in four years, completing multiple majors and minors, conducting research, and studying abroad. Students succeed with the support of the honors advising team comprised of professional staff advisors and student peer advisors who provide personalized one-on-one academic advising. Honors students also attend workshops tailored to specific needs throughout their time with Campuswide Honors, such as course planning for freshmxn, career exploration for sophomores, and research preparation for juniors.
How are the professors at UCI?
As honors students, I feel like we can answer this question better than many of the students on this campus. Honors students get access to smaller class sizes with great professors. They are available to answer questions and talk about your thoughts in class and afterwards during office hours. Honors students also work one-on-one with faculty to conduct their own honors research. Also, professors often attend Campuswide Honors community events such as Coffee Hour, present on topics that they love in special talks, and take students on tours of the UCI Arboretum. Honors offers many great opportunities to meet professors, learn about their work, and get access to research—and, later down the line, letters of recommendation.
Research allows honors students to delve more deeply into their area of study, exposing them to the topics and allowing them hands-on experience of the methodology of their chosen field. It can be as interdisciplinary as you wish and should be tailored to your own interests. Research takes place in many settings: you can work in a scientific laboratory, conduct a field study, or even choreograph a dance piece! I met with an honors advisor in a one-on-one meeting about strategies and resources for conducing innovative research such as the Honors Research/Thesis Online Handbook. I am currently doing research in computational biology, and I was selected to present at the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium. My project is definitely a highlight of my academic experience!
Honors research provides an excellent opportunity for hands-on learning in your chosen field of study and other areas of interest. You have the freedom to explore topics of personal interest outside the traditional classroom setting, delving deeper into the subject matter in a variety of different settings. While the traditional biology laboratory might come to mind when you think of research, honors students across all majors on campus have utilized their unique environments to showcase their discoveries and creative undertakings. I am currently conducting research in a surgical oncology lab, where I am constantly expanding my knowledge and scientific literacy.
How does doing an honors program prepare me for a professional career?
The honors core curriculum—with their smaller class sizes, emphasis on active participation, and broad reach—provide students with a strong academic foundation that will enable them to succeed throughout college and beyond in their professional careers. Honors professors go out of their way to encourage independent thinking in an open learning environment, while simultaneously cultivating collaborative skills through group discussions and projects. Honors research allows honors students to plan and implement out a major project, which is crucial in all fields and careers. Honors students spend a lot of time working closely with faculty, fostering professionalism and leadership. Moreover, the Campuswide Honors community extends beyond college, with alumni happy to advise new honors graduates.
What’s special about honors housing?
Honors housing helps promote a strong sense of community among honors students. Close proximity makes it easy for students to form study groups and learn the material covered in honors core classes. The resident advisors are current honors students who serve as mentors and role models for those living in honors halls. They work hard to build a community that is supportive, inclusive, and fosters academics success. Additionally, they host many in person and online honors events, making the residential halls the hub of the honors community.
What kind of social lives do honors students have?
Honors life is not solely centered on academics. Honors students engage in and put on many different activities and events. Every Friday morning, students congregate in the Locus, the honors student lounge, for coffee, donuts, and conversation. The honors calendar is filled with beach bonfires, camping trips, and exclusive guest lectures. The Campuswide Honors Student Council plans a range of activities throughout the year such as flag-football between honors houses, a variety show, and even a whale-watching expedition. All of these events help bring honors students closer together over shared interests, creating a smaller family inside of the larger UCI community.
What is there to do at UCI?
UCI offers a variety of activities, both on and off campus. There is a diverse array of student-run organizations such as dance crews, Greek life, and the e-Sports initiative. In addition to top-level athletic teams, students can join a host of intramural sports teams and take part in a range of activities at the Anteater Recreation Center. Honors students are involved in all of these activities and many of these organizations. UCI also brings many famous and high-profile speakers (prize-winning scholars, politicians, and activists) for lectures that draw large student audiences. Viet Thanh Nguyen and Colson Whitehead, the two latest winners of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, have visited campus and talked to UCI students.
Irvine is centrally located, so that you can go to the beach or to the mountains on the weekends. There are many shopping centers nearby (some on the bus route): Fashion Island and Irvine Spectrum are where students enjoy restaurants and shopping—and even a trip on the Ferris wheel! There are also several amusement parks in the surrounding neighborhoods: Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Go back to the Campuswide Honors Prospective Students page