Honors program offers students chance to qualify for scholarships

Alyssa Raymond

The Missouri Southern Honors Program is accepting applications for the second semester. Current students are welcomed to apply. Many first-year students consider joining the Honors program but ultimately don’t due to academic concerns.

“We’re a program that’s made for any major across campus, and it’s just supposed to enhance the education that you get at Missouri Southern,” said Rachel Stanley, assistant director of the Honors Program. “We hear a lot that it’s hard, that it’s going to be overwhelming, that it’s going to be too much with the student’s course of study.”

While Stanley recognizes that program has its challenges, she says many students have misconceptions about what those challenges actually are.

“As opposed to saying this is an honors class and you’re going to write five research papers, whereas the regular section of the course only writes one research paper, that’s just not how we work. It’s not about more work; it’s about more in depth work. It’s about thinking through a problem and really coming up with a good analysis of it,” she said.

The Honors Program also offers many benefits to students. There are honors-only versions of many general education courses that allow a maximum of 15 students, who all must be in the program.

“These professors across campus, who are some of the best professors around, learn who you are, what you think about specific ideas, and really your educational goals,” said Stanley. “I think that’s the biggest selling point of the honors program.”

One of the biggest advantages of being an honors student is receiving a scholarship. Three different scholarships range from $3,500 per academic year to full tuition plus room and board. Current students accepted into the program must complete a transitional semester before being eligible for honors scholarships.

Honors students also get priority enrollment to ensure they can take the all the classes they need. Individual honors advisors are assigned to each student to help them meet the all of the honors requirements that most advisors may not know.

Currently, eligible students must have a 3.5 GPA and be in their first through fourth semester. The application deadline for the spring semester is November 15, 2016. To apply students must fill out an online application, write an essay, send in two letters of recommendation, have submitted a FAFSA by November 1, of the previous calendar year, and send in all official college or university transcripts. Select students will be invited for an interview before final decisions are made. 

“I would encourage anyone who has considered the honors program and passed it up to give us a call and stop by the office and chat. And see just how easy it could be for you to join the program and see that you could complete the program in the same timeline you have to graduate from Missouri Southern anyways,” said Stanley. Interested students can go to the website, mssu.edu/honors, or call 417-625-9748.