Exploring honors in higher education


Macy Moore

The sign outside of Chemisty teacher Ms. Kilpatrick’s room sports the Oregon State University emblem. Ms. Kilpatrick often implores her students to explore honors college opportunities, even close to home.

State schools are seemingly an obvious choice for students as the Wilsonville High School “college decision” Instagram page is flooded with images of ducks and beavers. 

Students who have challenged themselves in taking rigorous courses and keeping incredible grades throughout high school may have imagined more for their education than heading an hour down the highway. 

Regardless of being accepted into what is considered competitive or very competitive in terms of acceptance, many local students are deciding to stay that way. 

Finances can be important to college decision making, and many who seek rigorous higher education find themselves at state schools or community college due to financial roadblocks. In-state tuition and the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program can be helpful in making college more affordable–but it is sometimes difficult to find more challenging schools at a rational price. 

Makaila Hammond, senior, decided to apply for the honors program at Oregon State University after her initial acceptance to the school. 

“My AP Chemistry pushed me to apply because of all of the benefits. I am excited to be a part of the program because it definitely seems beneficial to learning,” Hammond claims. 

She will be attending Oregon State University’s Honors program in the fall and studying Chemistry. 

Students who would not have otherwise had the opportunity for an honors level education are offered the opportunity to continue their education at a more rigorous level through these programs. 

Programs such as Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University Honors allows students to experience smaller class sizes, mentorship, and like-minded peers throughout their higher education. 

Some students simply enjoy the proximity of these schools relative to home. Senior Kate Giese claims she decided on Oregon State pretty early, and was only between a couple of schools. 

“I wanted to stay pretty close to home, and the prices were similar between both of my choices,” Giese reflects. 

Whether or not students were attempting futures at top colleges, or already knew that they would be attending university relatively close to home, the honors program seems like one that allows students to benefit from their hard-work in high school, and continue cultivating their education in their undergraduate degrees. 

The honors program is definitely something that students should explore, and can provide benefits not only in academia, but also in expanding their knowledge, continuing rigor of learning, and improving experience– as well as doing so at a more reasonable price.