National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, 2022, 23(1): 89–91


Copyright © 2022 Claire Guthrie Stasiewicz


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.

Earning an undergraduate degree feels decidedly common today. 42% of Americans hold an undergraduate degree, and about 62% of all high school graduates attend some college (U.S. Census Bureau, 2021). What feels less common, however, is an education through an Honors College. As one of the first graduates to earn an Honors Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts degree from the University of New Mexico (something done by only a handful of students), I’ve had to explain what being an “Honors Major” means in every job interview, grad school proposal, and awkward small-talk conversation. Describing what Honors is and why it has value is an inevitable reality of pursuing an unusual degree path, and one I typically enjoy.