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Computer Engineering
Dummerston VT

Honorable Mention

Josh Kramer on Friday, 08 January 2010. Posted in Advising & Support, Clubs, Coursework, Orientation, Student Life

Are you smart? Since you are considering RIT as your home for the next 4 or 5 years, you probably have a little bit of intelligence stored away somewhere in that head of yours. If you happen to be the best of the best, you may find your way into the RIT Honors Program.

The RIT Honors program logoHonors Program is an organization on campus where the smartest of the smart, the nerdiest of the nerds come together and make their time at RIT more valuable and more fun. We have barbeques and free food, a mentoring system and dedicated orientation, and Honors classes and college advocates, plus so much more!

If you know anything about college life, you know that free food is a magical thing. It can be found every once in a while around campus, but Honors students get it every week. Every Friday the program buys all the students pizza. A suprisingly few students take advantage of it, but I usually go. Nothing says TGIF like 3 free pieces of Salvatore's Pizza before Semi Dev! Along with Pizza Fridays, we have a barbeque in the fall and spring, and a semiformal dinner once a quarter in the SAU Cafeteria.

Transitioning to college life can be tough. You don't know anyone and feel out of place. Going through orientation help a lot, but there are over 3,000(correction - 2,400) freshmen going through the process at the same time, which sometimes feels overwhelming. If you want to hang out with a smaller group before you get to orientation, be a part of Honors and have a little extra bonding time during Honors Orientation. It is a much more
intimate experience, and is very helpful in making new friends!

Another part of the Honors support system is the Peer Mentoring program. Upper class Honors students are assigned a small group of first years to hang out with and be a resource for. If any first year honors student has a question they want to ask an older student with more connections, their Mentor is the person to go to.

Every Honors student needs to get 20 Honors points by the time they graduate. Part of that can be fulfilled with Honors classes. They are taught by Honors advocates and offer a more rigorous and challenging class experience for those who crave it.

The program, like all of RIT, is getting bigger. However, the Honors Program is growing at a speed much faster than the RIT community. This would not be an issue if the program was huge, but the whole point is the sense of community. You can have a sense of community with 150 or 200 students. You can't with 500 or 600. If the program expands at the rate is is starting to, who knows what it will be like 3 years from now.

The administration realizes that the program is a way to retain students and attract more. To help those numbers, they are making it easier to get in. You used to need to go through an application process to get in; now you just check a box on a form.

Don't get me wrong, the Honors Program is a great program. If you become a member, that's awesome and I hope to get to know you. Unfortunately, due to the size, I may not. Nevertheless, the Honors Program is, at the time being, a great experience, a great opportunity, and a great way to make your time at RIT awesome.

Comments (2)

  • Michelle Bishop-Utano

    Michelle Bishop-Utano

    11 January 2010 at 07:55 |
    Josh – as an Admissions representative I just wanted to clarify a few points that you made in your blog that are incorrect. Currently our incoming freshman class is around 2,400 students (not 3,000), and many different groups around campus other than the Honors Program do specialized Orientation programs, such as the NTID students, International students and Women in Engineering. As well, during Orientation each academic college does a specialized College Day with their group of students, so there are many different ways that the feeling of community is fostered during Orientation (and beyond).

    Secondly, with regard to the admissions of students to the Honors Program and the size of the program. Students do not just check a box and are accepted into Honors, and even though there is no longer a formal application process, it is still quite rigorous to be accepted into Honors. Currently, the process is that after all of the applications are reviewed and the incoming RIT class is selected the top students are then invited to join the Honors program. This Fall’s Honors class was one of the most academically qualified in the history of the Honors Program. The goal of the Honors Program is not to grow much beyond the number of the students that are currently in the program, but in recent years we have just been quite fortunate to have a larger number of accepted students that are academically exceptional.
  • Josh Kramer

    Josh Kramer

    17 January 2010 at 13:53 |
    The fact that there are more "qualified applicants" for the Honors Program could be true, but the fact remains that the quality of the program depends on the size remaining small. There is no "cutoff point" for being in Honors. A percentage of accepted students are invited to the program, and that percentage is growing. The people who are in that qualified applicant group need to show no extra incentive to be in the program than their peers who are not invited, such as filling out an application.

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