What We Do
What do we do with our students in The Honors College? Well, at the most basic level, we bring them in, help them develop, and send them on.
We Bring Them In
Each year, we accept about 125 high school seniors to join The Honors College as they matriculate at UAlbany. About 5% of each UAlbany entering class is admitted to The Honors College, and the honors students in each entering class represent some of the brightest and highest-achieving students at UAlbany.
- Because we care about helping our students get off to a great start in college, we created our year-long, comprehensive orientation program. Our orientation program helps all the new honors students get to know each other and get to know UAlbany well. It also provides many skills that will help the honors students achieve at a high level as they begin their four years of college.
In addition, we admit about 35 first-year UAlbany students during their first year. UAlbany students can apply to The Honors College at the end of their first or second semester. Most of the first-year students admitted to The Honors College have earned a 3.9 GPA during their first semester or first year.
You can read more information about applying to The Honors College as a high school student and applying to The Honors College as a first-year UAlbany student.
We Help Them Develop
We Provide an Enriched Academic Environment. Honors students take 18 credits of honors courses during their first two years. Honors courses are small, involve active learning, and are limited to the students in The Honors College. Through them, honors students can explore many disciplines and discovered bits of the world of ideas that exist at UAlbany. during their first two years.
All honors students participate in research, scholarly work, or creative work under the guidance of one or more UAlbany professors. Most honors students participate in this work for two years, although some start as early as their first year in college. In this work, honors students actively contribute to the knowledge base of their disciplines and begin the process of learning how to become a scholar in their discipline. Honors students are encouraged to present their research, scholarly work, or creative work at UAlbany's Undergraduate Research Conference.
During their final year, all honors students complete an honors thesis under the direction of a UAlbany professor. Often, this thesis is based on the student's earlier scholarly work. Completing the thesis is an important step in the development of honors students as scholars and frequently distinguishes them from the many other college graduates to professional schools, graduate schools, and employers. You can read the honors theses that our students have submitted over the years. Some honors students present their thesis at a professional conference in their discipline and many present their thesis at the UAlbany Undergraduate Research Conference.
We Provide a Supportive Honors Community. We all grow and learn in ways other than through our academics. Thousands and thousands of conversations with each other–after class, during dinner, at 3am Saturday morning, and many other times–can be important sources of this growth and learning. Perhaps most important, we grow and learn through our interactions with others - and how we grow and learn is influenced by who these people are.
A walk through the honors residence halls, at almost any hour, will find honors students studying together, working on their computers together, or hanging out with each other. The windows of the Steinmetz study rooms are often filled with calculus calculations as students struggle together to complete their math or physics assignments. Students critique each others writing and give each other advice about handling personal difficulties. The high quality of our students is what makes The Honors College such an exciting place to study and grow.
To take advantage of all that UAlbany has to offer, all honors students are encouraged to join musical, theater, and dance groups, club and intramural sports teams, and some of the hundreds of student clubs that are on campus. Honors students are involved across campus - from sax players in the Jazz Ensemble to forwards on the Women's Rugby Team. Our Get Involved! nights bring honors students in various clubs to the honors residence halls to facilitate honors students joining their clubs. In this picture, honors students in the fencing club demonstrate some of their developing skills to other honors students.
"I lived in another dorm my first semester and moved to honors housing my
second semester. It makes a huge difference. The people in honors
housing are much friendlier and share many of the same interests as
myself. They also act as a positive influence since there is always
someone studying or working hard. The people you live with and spend
tons of time with have to make the same sacrifices as you do for their
studies, which makes it easier to turn down a fun activity, because
inevitably someone else is in the same boat. Or if they are not, they
are willing to help you. Honors housing is a very motivating environment
and I definitely recommend it." Erika Kneeland, Class of 2011
We Send Them On
As they prepare to graduate, honors students are well-positioned to obtain good jobs in their field of interest or continue their education in top graduate and professional schools. Most have excelled in their coursework (60% of the 2012 graduates from The Honors College had at least a 3.8 cumulative grade point average and 85% had at least a 3.5) and all have completed a thesis focused on their research, scholarly work, or creative work. Only a small percentage of undergraduates can claim to have contributed to their disciplines through their scholarly work - all of the graduates from The Honors College can.
We work hard to support our students as they apply for graduate work or jobs. Our students can receive excellent advice from the UAlbany Career Center as well as the career counselors in many of our colleges and schools as they prepare resumes and begin to search for graduate schools or jobs. Each honors student has the advantage of conversations with the professor advising his or her honors thesis, as well as conversations with his or her academic advisor about strategies for identifying graduate programs and submitting a strong application to the programs. In addition, each student's thesis advisor is in a position to write the type of detailed letter of recommendation that helps greatly when students are applying for jobs or graduate programs.
We also support our students through information on requesting letters or recommendation and writing personal statements. Professor Haugaard works closely with many graduating honors students, helping them to edit their personal statements and preparing for interviews.
And, of course, we work to remain connected to our students after graduation through yearly letters and other outreach efforts. Each year, some of our graduates return to The Honors College to discuss their graduate school experiences or job experiences - helping the younger honors students with their experiences. Once an honors student, always an honors student.