Conversation: Cook Honors Edge

  • Angelo:

    “I had planned for years to go to ______ University, and then I visited the school. Little did I know that tuition was $31,000 a year! This sent me looking at in-state [public] schools. A friend told me about the Honors College. I looked through the viewbook. I loved it and applied.”


    “I’ve been talking to people I graduated with who are at another school with a hundred people in a lecture class. They’re not even allowed to ask questions. They can’t learn. One had to transfer because he just couldn’t handle that volume of kids. IUP has small classes to start with, and then you come in here and have twenty people max in your class. It’s focused on discussion, so it gets you really involved and learning...I like that the professors push you. In high school, you could talk, and you didn’t have to back it up. But with people like Dr. Begres or Dr. Botelho or Dr. Goebel, as soon as you say something, they want you to give reasons and evidence. I would definitely say the relationships I have with the Core professors are unique.”


    “The Core professors that I had the first couple of semesters still know my name. We still talk on a regular basis about what I want to do with my life and what kind of person I want to be. And as much as you don’t want to say that you model your life after anybody, the Core professors set a good example, and they really look out for you and your future.”


    “My friends that are going to other schools are just going to class and getting their grades. I don’t think they are learning the social or people skills that I learned in Core. Things like consensus papers where you all come together to write a summary, a single answer. You all have a different opinion and do that without hurting each other or people saying, ‘You write it and I’ll just put my name on it.’ That’s something you can’t get from a lecture where you just sit there. In Core, you’re forced to take part and interact.”


    “The intellectual free spirit inside me had been carefully fed a bland diet in high school; I dialogued with my Newsweeks and novels and with my own head more than I ever did with others. Nothing I’d experienced before was like the first week here. I felt like I had been led to a buffet of wildly exciting new thoughts coming from some really passionate, diversely-minded people. The wonder of it was the unwritten code that you could casually or vigorously debate or discuss anything at any time, but that judging or insulting that person was utter bad form. Now I literally feel choked up when I’m in an environment with rigid, homogeneous thought.”


    “We are unique in that our residence hall was designed not only for Honors College housing but also to support the curriculum itself. Each detail was designed to have some effect on the students, on the very quality of life here. The stage, for example, was built so that Core presentations could be performed before an audience that could then present answers to the Core questions.

    “The setting has a powerful effect on daily life in the Honors College. It sets a tone and allows us to develop personal relationships with almost everyone—from peers to professors to even the custodial staff. We have a chance to be more than just a face. It’s all very personable. And that one-on-one interaction carries over to support for academic and career plans. Every honors student has the opportunity to study abroad and to do internships related to his or her major—and these activities are actually strongly encouraged and supported. You wouldn’t believe how much help you can get from the administrators here to reach these goals!”


    “Quite honestly, the Honors College has far surpassed any of my wildest dreams in terms of providing a fabulous education and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to be successful as an undergraduate. I view the Honors College as an incredible unfolding dream. It is so new that fresh ideas abound in terms of coursework, internship and study abroad opportunities, communal living, and any other thing that seems like it will help us succeed. That is especially true when compared to other state universities.”