National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Spring 2005


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 6:1, Spring/Summer 2005.


Copyright © 2005 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Honors programs and colleges are commonplace in U.S. higher education today with programs in 60% of all four-year institutions and over 40% of all two-year institutions (Baker, Reardon, and Riordan, 2000). The research literature about honors education and/or honors students, however, is sparse (Achterberg, 2004; Long and Lange, 2002; Reihman, Varhus and Whipple, 1995; Roemer, 1984). Hypothetically, experience of nearly a century should generate recognizable patterns (Cohen, 1966a). The purpose of this paper is to review what literature exists to describe honors students, and it ends with a normative definition of an honors student. It necessarily focuses on traditionally-aged students due to lack of information about adult learners as honors students.