National Collegiate Honors Council


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From: The Demonstrable Value of Honors Education: New Research Evidence, edited by Andrew J. Cognard-Black, Jerry Herron, and Patricia J. Smith. (Lincoln, NE: NCHC, 2019). Copyright 2019 by National Collegiate Honors Councils.


Activities that take place early in students’ college career can strongly influence their academic engagement and success. Two experiences that honors programs may provide during the initial phases of the undergraduate experience are pre- or earlysemester programs and honors residence halls. This study compares honors students who lived in an honors residence hall and/or took part in a pre-semester academic, credit-bearing class upon entry into college to their honors peers who did not elect these options. It tracks the degree of the students’ subsequent engagement with the honors program and also several measures of their academic success, such as grade point average (GPA), during their undergraduate experience. Results indicate that students who elected to participate in a pre-semester class and live in an honors residence were more engaged in the honors program and had greater academic success overall at the university than honors students who did not. This direct comparison of honors program students who have elected certain honors experiences to those who have not strengthens the claim that specific honors experiences add value to the undergraduate experience.