Does Graduating with Honors Help?

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GatsbyGatz
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Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby GatsbyGatz » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:18 am

I have a fairly simple question about how useful that little word "honors" is for applications.

I have the option to graduate from a UC UG with honors next spring, but to do so I would need to take on 14 additional units including graduate-level courses (meaning a hectic course load of 5 classes for the next two quarters where I'll be heavy in research). Is the benefit of being able to say that I graduated from "so-and-so UC" with honors worth an insane amount of work which may even result in receiving a B or two, thereby lowering my GPA? If I don't apply for the honors program, I can graduate by next spring with a minimal course load of "easy" classes and assure myself of graduating with a 3.9. Would a regular 3.9 be very much different from graduating with a 3.7-3.8 with honors?

Another factor is that I will be studying for the LSAT sometime next spring, so a free schedule would greatly help that effort. But I mostly just want to know if "graduating with honors" will give me any real advantage over "graduating with a 3.9"?

Thank you all for your perspectives!

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Hawkeye Pierce
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby Hawkeye Pierce » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:20 am

Not worth it. Take the higher GPA.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:41 am

Hawkeye Pierce wrote:Not worth it. Take the higher GPA.

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PDaddy
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby PDaddy » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:55 am

If you can get a high GPA and graduate with honors it bodes well, because it means you had to work very closely with one or more profs and complete a well-written, lengthy, thesis - obviously good training for law school. The intensity of many honors programs trains students very well to do in-depth research, work intensely in small groups (sound familiar?), and do multiple drafts, and it hones their communication skills with mentors, profs and peers (sound familiar again?). UG Honors projects can be as demanding as graduate/professional school projects.

If the GPA is lower, the amount of juice received from honors distinction will depend on the difficulty of the major and the reputation of the college/university and department. Even the professors' reps might come into play if they are well-known. Lastly, LOR's from the honors professors is absolutely crucial. If you don't get one, adcoms will wonder what kind of impression you made on profs who theoretically had an opportunity to get to know you better than others, and you don't want that.

A well-written LOR from an honors professor, department dean or honors program coordinator can give an applicant an edge that turns a maybe into a yes.

If I were you, i would do the honors. That can really put your app over the top. Taking up honors shows a type of thirst for knowledge and toughness that adcoms are looking for. Besides, what's the likelihood that your GPA will drop more than a couple of hundredths of a grade point, if at all?

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Yukos
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby Yukos » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:24 am

Honors are not reported to US News.

/thread.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:54 am

In terms of law school admissions, honors means almost nothing.

In terms of employment, employers like to see things that they can put on your profile on their website (honors/latin honors).

It's a balancing test. Personally, I would go for the honors.

bhan87
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby bhan87 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:12 am

GatsbyGatz wrote:I have a fairly simple question about how useful that little word "honors" is for applications.

I have the option to graduate from a UC UG with honors next spring, but to do so I would need to take on 14 additional units including graduate-level courses (meaning a hectic course load of 5 classes for the next two quarters where I'll be heavy in research). Is the benefit of being able to say that I graduated from "so-and-so UC" with honors worth an insane amount of work which may even result in receiving a B or two, thereby lowering my GPA? If I don't apply for the honors program, I can graduate by next spring with a minimal course load of "easy" classes and assure myself of graduating with a 3.9. Would a regular 3.9 be very much different from graduating with a 3.7-3.8 with honors?

Another factor is that I will be studying for the LSAT sometime next spring, so a free schedule would greatly help that effort. But I mostly just want to know if "graduating with honors" will give me any real advantage over "graduating with a 3.9"?

Thank you all for your perspectives!


3.9 no honors > 3.8 honors anyday. Honors work is an excellent way to get quality LORs, but this is not a .1 GPA drop. Don't forget that graduating with 3.9 means graduating with magna/summa cum laude, while graduating with 3.8 would mean graduating magna cum laude with honors. It almost seems redundant.

bmore
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby bmore » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:14 am

What do you want? Took honors classes from Day 1. Entered top honors program that required extra work. Yes, it lowered the GPA slightly. But it was also fulfilling to be with the students that participated. Don't think it helped in admissions but the school I am at certainly knows about the program.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:50 am

bhan87 wrote:
GatsbyGatz wrote:I have a fairly simple question about how useful that little word "honors" is for applications.

I have the option to graduate from a UC UG with honors next spring, but to do so I would need to take on 14 additional units including graduate-level courses (meaning a hectic course load of 5 classes for the next two quarters where I'll be heavy in research). Is the benefit of being able to say that I graduated from "so-and-so UC" with honors worth an insane amount of work which may even result in receiving a B or two, thereby lowering my GPA? If I don't apply for the honors program, I can graduate by next spring with a minimal course load of "easy" classes and assure myself of graduating with a 3.9. Would a regular 3.9 be very much different from graduating with a 3.7-3.8 with honors?

Another factor is that I will be studying for the LSAT sometime next spring, so a free schedule would greatly help that effort. But I mostly just want to know if "graduating with honors" will give me any real advantage over "graduating with a 3.9"?

Thank you all for your perspectives!


3.9 no honors > 3.8 honors anyday. Honors work is an excellent way to get quality LORs, but this is not a .1 GPA drop. Don't forget that graduating with 3.9 means graduating with magna/summa cum laude, while graduating with 3.8 would mean graduating magna cum laude with honors. It almost seems redundant.


Just FYI, a lot of schools don't have latin honors. hth.

And, on second read through, it seems absolutely redundant. Are there any schools that actually give "honors" and then latin honors? I am sceptical.

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GatsbyGatz
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby GatsbyGatz » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:42 am

Well, it was wonderful to wake up to such a big response to my question! Thank you all for your help.

I agree that although the program would reflect a great level of dedication and research, the benefits would seem fairly redundant and a sort of "icing" on my application. As I've said, the program would require me to take additional units which would force me to take on 5 courses per quarter while preparing a thesis to present at a research colloquium. While I feel morally-bound to always avoid the lazier route, I just don't want to do all the extra work and not get any recognition for it. If I were planning to attend graduate school, then I'd opt for the program, but as it stands I think I'll just see where a regular 3.9 takes me.

Again, thanks for all the help, everyone. This is a surprisingly-friendly website! :o

Big Dog
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby Big Dog » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:51 am

Are there any schools that actually give "honors" and then latin honors?


Sure, at some/many colleges one can earn departmental honors by doing a honors thesis, while also having obtained the four-year gpa to earn College-wide latin honors.

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soj
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby soj » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:03 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:In terms of law school admissions, honors means almost nothing.

In terms of employment, employers like to see things that they can put on your profile on their website (honors/latin honors).

It's a balancing test. Personally, I would go for the honors.

I doubt legal employers care about UG honors.

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Opie
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby Opie » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:28 pm

Yukos wrote:Honors are not reported to US News.

/thread.


+1
also, GPA > basically everything but LSAT.

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theadvancededit
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby theadvancededit » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:28 pm

PDaddy wrote:If you can get a high GPA and graduate with honors it bodes well, because it means you had to work very closely with one or more profs and complete a well-written, lengthy, thesis - obviously good training for law school. The intensity of many honors programs trains students very well to do in-depth research, work intensely in small groups (sound familiar?), and do multiple drafts, and it hones their communication skills with mentors, profs and peers (sound familiar again?). UG Honors projects can be as demanding as graduate/professional school projects.

If the GPA is lower, the amount of juice received from honors distinction will depend on the difficulty of the major and the reputation of the college/university and department. Even the professors' reps might come into play if they are well-known. Lastly, LOR's from the honors professors is absolutely crucial. If you don't get one, adcoms will wonder what kind of impression you made on profs who theoretically had an opportunity to get to know you better than others, and you don't want that.

A well-written LOR from an honors professor, department dean or honors program coordinator can give an applicant an edge that turns a maybe into a yes.

If I were you, i would do the honors. That can really put your app over the top.


This advice is perfect for MA/PhD applicants. However, in the OP's case, I'd have to agree with the rest; take the certain 3.9 over a possible 3.8.

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GatsbyGatz
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Re: Does Graduating with Honors Help?

Postby GatsbyGatz » Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:41 pm

Thanks, everyone. Yes, honors programs would be a boon for graduate applicants, but not so much for our needs.




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