A thought: what is the true cost of an honors degree? What are the benefits?
We can’t speak to the post-Baylor effects an honors transcript might grant the hard-working holder (being but students ourselves), but today we’d like to talk about in-house benefits.
You know — honors perks.
“Honors” at Baylor can be a confusing term. There are four programs under the umbrella of the Honors College: the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core, the University Scholars Program, the Great Texts program and the actual Honors Program. All of these programs have different requirements and thus, different perks. The actual honors program is the program we call into question.
Students enrolled in this program enjoy registration a full two weeks before their peers. Everyone knows what a hassle scheduling is; to register early is a blessing indeed. Due to early registration, these students stand a chance at getting the classes they need or want. These students stand a much better chance than the average at getting a first class scheduled at a more civil hour than 8 a.m. — say 10 a.m. or so.
As members of the honors college, honors program freshmen are offered the opportunity to live in the honors dorms, including the Brooks and Memorial Residence Halls. These halls, unlike the traditional halls, feature two-bedroom suites with a bathroom. Two people occupy each bedroom, and the four suite mates share the bathroom together, which is still an improvement over the typical residence hall community bathroom.
Bigger isn’t always better – especially when you’re talking about the number of students who share a bathroom.
Furthermore, students who live in the honors dorm may also participate in the honors residential community, which sponsors fun events for its students like dances or video game tournaments.
The benefits are balanced by a heavy work requirement: special classes and seminars, extra reading and, in some cases, the writing of a thesis.
But are they really balanced?
In at least a few classes, the honors workload is either the same or only slightly more stringent than that of regular students.
Primarily that is an issue with the individual teachers, but it is something that the honors program as a whole needs to address.
Should students doing only slightly more work be given as many privileges as they are?
That being said, many of the students in the honors program make an effort, in good faith, to go above and beyond the regular workload. They are to be commended and rewarded.
Additionally, some students cannot or do not wish to incur the workload and drop out early. This is understandable. It is hard to know how much is too much unless you’ve tried to shoulder the workload. We sympathize with students who fail to complete the program for honest reasons.
Others sign up to enjoy the perks, but fail to complete the program by dropping out on purpose before they must write the thesis or complete other requirements.
They are honors students, but their behavior is anything but honorable.
Some early drop-outs are to be expected for reasons of difficulty, but by the time the thesis project begins junior year, students should be well aware of the requirements of the project and prepared to shoulder the burden.
They have made a commitment to the program and enjoyed perks denied to others. Writing the thesis, the most strenuous requirement of the honors college, is where students pay the toll.
It is unconscionable that students could begin the program with the knowledge they’re not in it for the long haul — akin to marrying for a divorce.
There is nothing honorable about only doing a job half way.
It should fall to the college to police this in their students, but — understandably — that can be difficult. There are, however, legions of juniors, seniors and fifth-years that would love to take those registration spots.
In the end it falls to the actual honors students to ensure that they are not abusing the privileges that Baylor heaps on their heads.
To them, we offer this caution:
Honors students, enjoy your perks — but you’d better be prepared to do the work that comes with them.
Consider yourselves honor-bound.