National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 37–39


Copyright © 2022 Sara McCane-Bowling


As part of the National Collegiate Honors Council’s (2022) collection of essays about the value of honors to its graduates (1967–2019), the author reflects on the personal and professional impacts of the honors experience.

Most honors students arrive at college as academically motivated highachievers. Rigorous honors coursework no doubt serves to sharpen these students’ skills even further. But is it the rigor of coursework that transforms honors students into change agents in society? My experience in honors is that academic rigor alone is hardly the most important determinant of the long-term differences that honors education makes in the lives of students. Instead, the magic of honors comes from the ways in which challenging content is delivered in classroom and community settings that are energetically interactive, reflective, and supportive. Intentionality in building supportive educational as well as social communities propels honors programs and honors colleges to meaningful and transformative student development and long-term societal impact.