Honors Student Organization promotes diversity

Missouri Southern offers various honors programs, which includes the HSO or Honor Student Organization, which began in 1982.

Gil Salgado, president of the HSO, said there are many benefits to the organization.

All students are welcome to join the program during their first year at Missouri Southern. Each fall, 40 students are accepted into the program, which has a total of 150 members.

Students joining the organization must meet three requirements: have an ACT score of 28 or higher, be in the top percent of their class have a GPA of 3.75 or higher. The application process also includes an essay, and if selected a final interview.

“Spots are limited, trying to pick the best out of all,” Salgado said, adding the interview helps members understand what a specific student can bring to the program.

Once in the HSO, students are required to complete a few requirements in order to stay in the program all four years. Every semester, students must maintain a GPA of 3.3 or higher.

Additionally, the honors program has a point system that is designed to encourage student involvement within the campus community in the areas of academic, humanity and social events. Depending upon a student’s classes, each member is required to obtain to eight points per semester.

“If not completed, you will have a warning as well as you can be put on prohibition” said Salgado, adding students need to show their involvement in order to remain in the program.

At the end of the fourth year honors program students need to present a thesis. The goal is to show to masters’ programs and future employers the honors graduates know how to write and conceptualize their ideas and thoughts on paper as well as to conduct as research. 

In order to complete the thesis, students are required to take additional classes including a research method class which teaches the fundamentals of creating a research project. Another class is service learning which helps students find a need in the community.

One of the main qualities of the program is that it promotes diversity, in fact, many international students are involved in the program.

There is also a requirement of studying abroad for a minimum of two weeks, which Salgado said helps immerse students into a new culture.

“It helps you to learn from real-world experience by being pushed out of your comfort zone,” said Salgado.

In order to integrate the program, there is no admission fee. Students only need to pay $100 to the school, which helps finance social events organized for participants twice a month.

The program also offers three scholarships: the first one covers half tuition, the second one is full tuition, and the last one is full tuition plus room and board. 

For those who are not a freshman anymore but still want to integrate the program, they still have a chance to do it. The only challenge according to Salgado, is that new members would need to catch up on required points and classes missed in the first year.