Opinion: Beware of the Honors Program

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Opinion: Beware of the Honors Program

Nathan Fryzek

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I joined the honors program for my second semester at Loyola but found that the courses were too difficult for me, so I left the program. I didn’t foresee having any problems leaving honors and I definitely never thought I would be writing an op ed to warn you about it, but here I am.

When I was signing up for my first honors class I was instructed (by someone who will remain anonymous) that I should take the course Islam in China, as it could be used to fulfill my world religion core requirement. I took the class. At the end of the semester I left honors, and now that course registration is open for the fall (written summer 2018) I contacted my advisor to see what courses I should take. To my great surprise, I was told that Islam in China does not actually have the correct code for a world religion course and that I might have to take an extra course in order to graduate. I thought that this must be some kind of accident or slip up in the administration, but upon further investigation I found that this exact situation has happened to many other students who have left honors.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this practice (although changing graduation requirements does in a sense reduce the value of an honors degree to potential employers), the only untoward thing about the practice currently is that new freshmen are coming into the honors program, taking courses, and then leaving the program with no idea that their courses don’t in fact count for the requirements they were told they count for. If those entering honors were told this, there wouldn’t be a problem. The only issue is that they by and large aren’t.

So beware before taking any honors course. Verify that the course can be used for the requirement the honors administration tells you it can with advisors outside of honors, and tell any new freshmen you become acquaintances with of the situation so they don’t end up graduating late or not at all.

 

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