Date of this Version
Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 221–36
This study considers the value of honors programs by investigating alumni perspectives of learning goals relative to personal and professional development. Using a longitudinal cross-sectional survey instrument, authors track participants (n = 79) for four consecutive years (2017–2021). Qualitative measures indicate the importance of freedom to develop within the curricula, stimulus to experiment and shape one’s own path, and insights and inspirations resultant of rigorous study. Respondents identify certain learning goals (i.e., ability to look beyond boundaries and show initiative and guts) to be critical in their personal and professional development but question the role of the honors certificate in job applications. While data indicate post-graduate employment (<18 months) for the majority (62%) of alumni, nearly 23% in post-graduate study (a high percentage in Dutch universities of applied sciences), and 5% in trainee programs or apprenticeships, authors do not know to what extent employers use the honors certificate as a criterion for recruiting a candidate. Further investigation into the role and status of the honors certificate during job application is needed, including the viewpoint of employers.