KU's Honors Program helps humanize the university for some students.
For Seneca sophomore Angie Strathman, enrolling in Kansas University's Honors Program was an idea with multiple payoff.
The honors courses not only offered her the extra challenge that she needed, but the smaller classes also helped her adapt to a school that is more than 10 times the size of her hometown.
``When you come from a town with 2,000 people and the chemistry classes are half the size of your town, it can be overwhelming,'' Strathman said. ``But I haven't experienced that because I'm taking small honors courses.''
Strathman is one of more than 250 students who enroll in the honors program each year. Many students like Strathman feel that the basic curriculum is not enough. They want more of a challenge during their academic career. That's why the Honors Program was created.
In the 1930s, KU introduced honors courses to its curriculum to better serve high achieving, self-motivated undergraduates.
``It's a way of looking at the university with all its advantages, but smaller,'' said Sandra Wick, assistant director of the Honors Program. ``Honors students get the best of both worlds. They have all the opportunities that a large institution has to offer; however, they receive the extra attention that a smaller college environment can offer. This allows the student to fully develop his or her potential.''
Honors students receive many benefits, including special attention and the opportunity to take honors courses. The courses taught at the freshman and sophomore levels are much smaller than those in other classes and are instructed by professors. The courses also tend to have more challenging assignments and discussions.
``The honors classes are really different from the others,'' said Joshua Burdette, Belle Plaine freshman. ``They tend to be taught by respected professors, and they also tend to deal with more discussion-related topics because discussion is possible due to the smaller class sizes.''
Freshmen honors students can also take a freshman honors tutorial, a one-credit, one-hour course.
``They are beneficial in that they allow students to become familiar with a professor that could serve as their honors adviser,'' Burdette said.
With the help of their advisers, students can work on research projects, participate in study-abroad programs and apply for scholarships and fellowships.
KU honors students can live practically anywhere. However, many chose to live in scholarship halls because of their relatively small size and accessibility to campus. Others choose to live on the eighth floor of McCollum Hall, otherwise known as the ``honors floor.''
``The eighth floor does have its advantages,'' Burdette said. ``There is a private study wing, which is great for studying for finals. There is also a computer room. Another bonus is the fact that the people around you are good students, many of whom are in your classes. This helps you to keep on your schoolwork, and there are plenty of people around to help you if you should have a problem.''
Interested students are encouraged to apply for honors courses if they have an ACT composite of 31 or higher or if their SAT score is above 1340. Students with slightly lower scores, but with strong academic backgrounds -- including high achievement in college prep courses -- may also apply.
The honors program doesn't have a deadline, but it is recommended that students apply as incoming freshmen, to fully benefit from all the program has to offer.
For more information about the honors program, call (913) 864-4225, or send for information from The Honors Program, Nunemaker Center, KU, Lawrence 66045.