Frequent Questions about Honors
- To give yourself a transfer edge! Students who complete the Honors Program have access to special transfer agreements, including the UCLA TAP program. See list of our transfer agreements.
- To experience a great learning environment! Stand-alone honors seminars have a maximum of 20 students and emphasize active student interaction both among students and between the students and professor. Contract honors courses allow you to work one-on-one with a professor on a project of mutual interest, supplemental to work in a non-Honors course. In your honors courses you'll be working with a community of dedicated, motivated students and faculty.
- To access individualized counseling and mentoring! Workshops and one-on-one mentoring from the honors coordinators, counselor, and faculty in preparing applications for university admissions and scholarships.
- To participate in extra-curricular activities! Honors students have the opportunity to present original work at the annual Building Bridges honors student research conference, cultural activities, college visits, and leadership opportunities, serving as a Class Advocate on the Honors Advisory Council, or participating in outreach activities.
Always remember that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing.”
The Honors Program offers standalone seminars and contract courses in a variety of general education classes that you need to transfer, all of which encourage you to improve your critical thinking, written and verbal communication skills, and to cultivate your awareness and understanding of diverse points of view. We are committed to drawing a diverse group of students and faculty together and providing learning opportunities and services which will prepare you to be more competitive in reaching your future goals.
All our dignity then, consists in thought. Upon this we must depend, not on space and time which we cannot fill. Let us labor to think well: this is the foundation of morality.”
Honors stand-alone classes are smaller, which allows for a greater emphasis on critical thinking by insisting on active student participation in each class session. These classes are typically taught seminar style, which means they are centered on discussion rather than lecture, so come with questions, have something to say, and say it. Developing your verbal agility and confidence is an important part of honors classes.
Honors stand-alone classes emphasize reading challenging primary texts and not simply textbook material. You'll be reading material that you will have to study and re-read, and you'll encounter texts about which thinking people engage in vigorous discussion and debate, a discussion we fully expect you to participate in actively.
Honors stand-alone classes emphasize developing your writing and critical thinking skills through the assignment of at least 20 pages written work-this will better prepare you for the demands of university level work and challenge you to learn to articulate your ideas and insights in clear academic prose.
Honors contract classes involve working one-on-one with a professor, exploring topics that are more advanced than traditional classes. Contract may include assignments like Research Paper, Quantitative/Qualitative Research Project, Conference-Style Presentation, Creative Writing or Fine Arts work, Research Journal, Short Film/Video, Computer Program, or a Podcast.
Class members must attend regularly and come prepared. This last point is crucial. Any small group is demoralized and rendered less effective by sporadic attendance or poor preparation. Unprepared members may get something out of attending, but they sap the vitality of the group, diluting the honors experience for the others. And they can be detrimental if they try to bluff their way through a discussion. For our honors classes to do well, your full commitment is essential.
Everyone participates and interacts -- we respond to each other and treat learning as a collaborative effort. It is not possible to divide participation into exactly equal shares. Nonetheless all class members should speak up some of the time. Don't worry about whether you've fully comprehended the material. If we heard only from those who had already mastered the material, then we could simply listen to a lecture from the professor and skip discussion, but that would neutralize the potential for genuine engaged inquiry.
One of the best features of the honors classes is that they foster a sense of community. This can help you to succeed if you take advantage of it. Practically speaking, be sure to get contact information from some of your classmates so that in the rare event that you miss class, you don't compound the absence by coming unprepared to the next class session. Beyond that, treat learning as something that takes place outside the classroom as well as inside-and remember that genuine learning is often collaborative. Consider forming study groups (formally or informally) with classmates, talk about class materials over a cup of coffee, study together, and discuss ideas. This will enrich your learning experience which in turn will pay dividends in the classroom, enriching the experience for us all.
In the Honors Program we stress critical thinking, as do many other classes. Critical thinking means trying to think clearly and working to become an independent thinker, able to learn from others yet make judgments for oneself. Critical thinkers value intellectual honesty and seek to free themselves from hidden assumptions as well as the dictates of impulse and emotion. This is the ethical component of critical thinking. Critical thinkers do not think negatively. Yes, they notice problems. But they seek solutions. They reflect. They question. They think evaluatively. Success in your honors classes depends in large part on your openness and willingness to thinking critically.
Writing is a key component of all your honors classes. This is where the work you do in class discussion, and your independent reading and critical thinking all come together to demonstrate what you have learned about the material you are studying. Writing (and re-writing and re-writing) is a way to deepen and sharpen your thinking and to begin to really own what you've been studying.
Finally, honors students who succeed ask for help when they need it. Your professors, coordinators, counselor, class advocates, classmates can all help you to succeed. Reach out if you feel like you're struggling. Chances are you're not the only one who feels challenged. Take advantage of the small class to really connect with your professor and classmates; take advantage of the advising you can get from our program counselor and coordinators and from your professors.
To be eligible for the program, current MVC students need a 3.0 GPA in at least 9 units of transfer-level coursework. Incoming high school students and all other first-time college students need at least a 3.0 high school GPA. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement may request admission through submitting a letter of support signed by an RCCD faculty member.
To be certified as having completed the program, students must take and successfully complete with a B or better five honors courses (at least three of which must be stand-alone seminar courses) and maintain an overall GPA of 3.2. Please be aware that for many of the schools/ programs to which you may be planning to transfer, you'll need a higher than 3.2 GPA to be competitive-so you need to take five honors classes, fulfill the other course requirements for the major and school you are targeting, and keep up your grades. The Honors Program can give you an edge, but you must meet the basic entrance requirements for the school/ major you're applying for before this "edge" kicks in.
You'll need to meet with the Honors Counselor and the Honors Coordinator to do the paperwork to get the agreement started, plan your coursework so that you can complete the honors program (this means taking five honors courses during your time here – at least three of these must be stand-alone seminar courses - and maintaining no less than a 3.2 GPA), and then certify that you have completed the program. Please be aware that for many of the schools cited above, you'll need a higher than 3.2 GPA - so you need to take five honors courses, fulfill the other course requirements for the major and school you are targeting, and keep up your grades. Staying in close contact with your counselor and honors coordinator is the key here, as well as holding up your end of the bargain in terms of required GPA.
All honors stand-alone seminar courses have the "H" designation and will show up as such on your transcripts. Honors contract courses will not receive an "H" on student transcripts, but will be considered as part of a student’s Honors coursework and will be fully recognized by all of our transfer partners as contributing to Honors completion.
Yes! You simply need to request the Extracurricular and Honors Record Form from MVC Student Services (check the box when you order your transcripts online or request one from the Admissions and Records Office).
This form has a place for you to record your Honors coursework; you then bring the form to your Honors Coordinator so they can sign and certify your Honors Program completion.
This form (which also lists all of your extra-curricular activities, publications, and scholarships and awards-don't forget to include your Honors Program leadership positions here as well as your conference presentations or publications) will be sent out with your official transcripts - it is official! Be sure to update the form as needed so what goes out accurately reflects all of your most recent achievements.