Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the Honors and Scholars Program?
The primary goal of the Honors and Scholars Program is to ensure that our best students have an intellectually enriching and challenging experience as undergraduates, and to reward academic excellence. To do this, the program offers special honors courses open only to Honors and Scholars participants, special sections of some other courses, and opportunities for cultural and recreational activities such as free opera and museum tickets, trips to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, banquets, etc.
The Program allows honors students to go beyond the usual disciplinary boundaries of a subject, to develop individualized approaches to existing classes, and to increase one-on-one interaction with professors.
The Honors and Scholars Program also benefits the Virginia Wesleyancommunity as a whole, by creating a greater awareness of scholarly achievement on campus, providing a model of honor within the community, sponsoring programs that raise the level of intellectual engagement and discourse on campus, and offering professors the chance to develop courses that will excite them as much as they do the students.
Why would I want to be in the program?
Aside from the highfalutin' talk of intellectual enrichment above, there are many mundane (if still important) reasons to be in the Honors and Scholars Program:
- Early registration -Honors and Scholars are able to pre-register for classes before any other students, including seniors.
- Honors Hall Eligibility - Honors and Scholars have the opportunity to live in the Honors Hall, two wings of one of the best dormitories on campus. Features include an improved studying environment and funds available for activities and for improving the common areas.
- Activities - Each semester the Honors and Scholars group plans social events, enjoys a catered banquet, performs public service projects, invites prestigious guest speakers, and more. Past activities have included dolphin watching excursions and trips to Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.
- Financial Aid - Students holding the top Wesleyan Scholarships are required to maintain membership in the program as a condition of continuing to hold their scholarships.
- Résumés - Graduating as a Wesleyan or Presidential Scholar (see below for the distinction) is noted on your permanent transcript, and looks great to future graduate schools and employers.
How do I apply for the Honors and Scholars Program?
There are 2 ways to get in to the Honors and Scholars Program:
- Some entering freshmen are automatically included by virtue of the scholarship they hold. If you hold a Wesleyan, Batten, Wilson, or Trustee Scholarship, you are already part of the program (and, in fact, our top scholarship students must remain in the program to keep their full scholarships).
- Any student who has earned the minimum GPA is invited to apply to the program. You must have a 3.4 GPA and get 2 brief recommendations from faculty members. These recommendations can be sent by e-mail to Dr. Easter. Students can apply to the program as soon as they have grades from courses taken at Virginia Wesleyan College on their transcript (so, at the earliest, at the end of your first semester here, or as soon as your GPA is high enough). If your GPA is a 3.5 or higher you may enter the program with the intention of graduating as a Wesleyan Scholar.
How do I challenge a course for Honors?
Each semester several special honors courses, or honors sections of existing courses, will be listed in the Course Schedule under a special Honors and Scholars section. In addition, students may opt to challenge for honors credit any 300- or 400-level class of 3 credits or greater. Permission must be attained from the Honors and Scholars director to challenge a 100- or 200- level class. To challenge a course for Honors credit, the student must request an Honors Course Proposal form from Dr. Easter (or use the electronic form available on the Honors web page), to be filled out in conjunction with the professor teaching the course to be challenged. The form is a kind of contract in which the professor and student agree on what work will be performed in addition to what other students in the class are doing, but more importantly how this work creates a higher intellectual challenge for the student. Often students will challenge a course for honors as a way of pursuing individual research projects in their major. Course proposals are due at the end of the second week of classes in the given semester so that the committee may review all proposals in a timely fashion.