Why We Chose the Honors College

  • Chris:

    “The other school I was looking at was a private college. I figured out what it would cost me to go there, even after the scholarship they offered me. Because I came to IUP, I won’t have big loans to pay back, and it will be much easier financially for me to go to graduate school and start in my career. It was a good decision.”


    “For the longest time, I thought I was going to go to a small, Catholic women’s college. But I was a little intrigued by the Core curriculum and came out to IUP on a whim while I was visiting the other college. I was really impressed by the lack of pretension, that people could be this intelligent and not think of themselves as better than anyone else. That was really what brought me here, just the atmosphere.”


    “A friend of my family went to school here and got me interested. I visited in the fall of my junior year and was pretty anxious because I didn’t know if I would get in. I sat in on classes. The Honors College was my first choice out of eight schools. The thought of being in an eighty-person biology lecture at another school really scared me. I like having more personal attention, and here, with the small classes, the professors really take care of their students. They’ve helped me in my adjustment to college or with anything else.”


    “I’ve met some of the most humble and down-to-earth people here!”


    “Although I applied to Harvard and other ‘big-name’ schools with high price tags, I had no doubt about the quality of education I would receive at IUP. Not only were my expectations met regarding academics, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the reputation the Honors College is building for itself, not only regionally, but nationwide—for a fraction of the cost of those other schools. When I receive my diploma, it will represent four years of personalized attention and preparation that a ‘name’ school would be hard-pressed to match.”


    “It was October and the leaves had begun to change and I just had this sense that I belonged here. I could picture myself in the Oak Grove studying under a tree or riding my bike through campus. I liked what the Honors College offered. It was unlike the other programs I looked at. It reminded me of the schools that would be taught by Plato or Socrates, where thinking and discussion are at the forefront. Looking back, as a science major, I value the fact that I had such a good portion of my first two years of academics focus on building my intellectual, reasoning, and communication skills, so that when I eventually was immersed in my field of study I could apply what I had learned in Core to present myself and my ideas in a better light. I feel more confident in situations where I am surrounded by strangers who have more experience in an area than I do. I can speak on a level with adults and feel comfortable.”


    “You come here and people don’t ask, ‘So what is your father a doctor of?’ People here don’t care what your father’s occupation is.”


    “At first blush, it’s easy for students and parents to overemphasize the importance of an undergraduate school’s reputation. In reality, life prospects depend more on what happened while you were at that school. The Honors College gives individual attention, small classes, and guidance toward internships, study abroad, and independent research. The Achievement Fund makes those opportunities accessible to everyone. Our curriculum and the whole program orient us to consider the public good in our lives and careers, while our opportunities stretch and prepare us to reach the highest goals. Success in graduate school and life depends on your academic qualifications and experience, not some nebulous notion of your undergraduate school’s reputation. I wouldn’t trade my education here and law school prospects for any other school’s degree.”


    “I’ve taken science courses at three different types of universities: a large public-research-based university; a smaller private, state-related university; and IUP. IUP is the only one in which the professors were more interested in what you were doing than in what they were doing. There are profs who spend fifty hours a week preparing for a class just to make sure the information they teach us is up to date. If you put forth a real effort to succeed in your field, they will help make sure that you receive the maximum benefits of your work. You can stop in and chat with any of the professors when you happen to notice that they are in. To me, it feels like home.”


    “It’s not only about coming here and learning to think; it’s realizing that just because of where I came from, or just because my school wasn’t one of the top high schools in the country, doesn’t mean I can’t excel, that I can’t be...a leader of our country. I know it may sound really corny, but it made me realize that I honestly believe I can do anything.”