Honors Project at College of San Mateo - FAQs
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Honors Project

What is the Honors Project?
The Honors Project is an interdisciplinary learning community where exceptional and exceptionally motivated students are provided with the coursework, support, and guidance to develop their academic and intellectual autonomy, collaborative abilities, and research skills. Participating in the Honors Project, you will both deepen your learning in your regular courses and achieve recognition that will help you with your transfer ambitions.

How does it work?
If you are qualified and accepted to the Honors Project, you will pair a “foundation” course (any transfer-level course within either of two clusters, Math/Science or Humanities) AND the corresponding interdisciplinary Honors Seminar. In the Honors Seminar, you will explore broad themes in either the Sciences or the Humanities, and then develop an individual research project that grows out of the content of the transfer course, the intensive collaboration and discussion in the Seminar, and the advanced research skills you learn there. If you successfully complete three of these pairings, one per semester and meet the Project’s procedures and standards, you will be recognized as an “Honors Scholar,” and this will be noted on your transcript.

What will I learn?
With each Project, you will deepen and reinforce the content in your “foundation” course (the transfer-level course you have selected to earn Honors credit in) by pursuing you own lines of academic inquiry. You will also learn and practice advanced research skills, including developing an academic research proposal, following a research process, using library databases, creating an annotated bibliography, writing a research paper in a particular discipline, and presenting academic work at our end-of-term academic mini-conference.

May I choose ANY course to earn Honors credit in?
You may choose any transfer-level course as a “foundation” course in which to earn Honors credit as long as its instructor is a member of the Honors community (or agrees to join it).

Are there additional activities required for participation in the Honors Project?
Your extracurricular activity while at College of San Mateo can itself be an important educational experience and a powerful part of a competitive transfer application. For this reason, we have developed a point system to provide an incentive for students to demonstrate their abilities and expand their academic lives beyond the classroom. Honors Option Points (HOPs) may be earned in variety of ways, including club participation, campus leadership, conference participation, publication, success in designated core major classes, team sports, academic excellence, and many other examples of academically oriented activity. The Honors Scholar notation will be awarded to those students earning a minimum of 12 HOPs; those earning more may be eligible for additional scholarship opportunities.

Can I use Honors credit that I have earned at other colleges to help complete the Honors Project?
Because of the unique nature of the Honors Project, we do not allow Honors credit from other colleges to substitute for ours. We will, however, award HOPs for Honors earned elsewhere (up to three points).

As a concurrent enrollment student, may I apply?
Yes, you may apply, but you will not be able to use priority registration.

How much extra work will the Honors Project be?
You will earn two units for your work in the Honors Seminar and be required to complete all of the work your teachers, both the foundation instructor and the seminar instructor, ask you to do. You work on your Honors project may inspire you to use all your free time for research, but this is not required. Your earning of HOPs (Honors Option Points) will also take additional time, of course, but how much depends on how you choose to earn them.

I’m more of a math person. Can I take all three of the Seminars in the Science cluster?
Your must take two Seminars in one cluster and one in the other in order to earn the “Honors Scholar” notation, but you may take three consecutive Honors Seminars in one area if you choose to participate in the Honors Project without completing the Honors Scholar requirements.

How will participating in the Honors Project benefit me educationally?
The benefits to you as a student in the Honors Project are primarily educational. You will work in close collaboration with other highly motivated Honors students and receive special attention from Honors faculty. You will learn how to make connections between your courses, synthesizing your learning across disciplines. You will develop greater academic autonomy and responsibility. You will be better prepared for the higher-level work you will encounter at your eventual transfer institution. And, in the process of earning your HOPs, you will develop your strengths and make new discoveries in diverse areas related to your scholarship.

Will completing the Honors Project enhance my transfer opportunities?
As competition for scholarships and admission to transfer institutions gets more intense, the Honors Project will provide you with an important advantage. “Honors Scholars” demonstrate “excess capacity,” the ability to do more than is required of them while attending community college, and this is something admissions officers are looking for. You may also emphasize in your personal statements the challenges you accepted and how you met them, explaining how you benefited academically.

How long does it take to complete?
In order to earn the “Honors Scholar” designation, you must complete three Honors Projects while remaining in good standing in the program and complete at least 12 HOPs.  This will require you to participate for at least three (not necessarily consecutive) semesters.  

Are there financial costs associated with this project?
Beyond standard course fees, required texts and materials, there are no additional costs to you. What a deal!

How do I get started?
If you are interested, you should consult the Honors Project website and, after ensuring that you meet the minimum qualifications, you should complete the application, which is available there as a PDF. The application and all required supporting materials should be emailed or hand-delivered to Carol Ullrich in the Assessment Center (10-354). If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask the Honors Coordinator, Tim Maxwell (10-451).

What are the requirements to apply and be accepted?
We ask that you enter with a minimum 3.2 GPA in at least 12 academic college-level units or a 3.5 GPA (unweighted) in your high school courses. Applicants must be eligible for English 100, either by placement test or [“BY”] passing English 838 or 848. You must submit a completed application along with a reference from a previous or current instructor. Finally, you are required to write the personal statement that is part of the application where you must demonstrate writing proficiency.

When can I apply?
We accept applications year around. The deadlines for applicants hoping to receive priority registration are published on the website. In the first week of the semester, you may apply and be admitted to the Project if space in the seminars is available. If you are currently enrolled in pre-transfer level English or are lacking the minimum GPA, you may be accepted on a provisional basis, becoming eligible to enroll in the Seminars once your transcripts show you have met the minimum.  

How many students are accepted each semester?
The number of students admitted to the Project depends upon the enrollment in the Honors Seminars. Continuing students in the Honors Project will receive priority enrollment in these courses but any additional places will be open for any new students who apply and are admitted.

Can I reapply later if I'm not accepted?
Unsuccessful applicants are welcome to reapply the following semester once they have met the minimum qualifications and demonstrated adequate writing skills and sufficient academic improvement.

What support services are available to me while I am part of the Honors Project?
As member of the Honors Community, you will enjoy many levels of support. First, you will be joining a cohort of students who share your high motivation and proven academic success. Second, you will enjoy close contact and support from both our “foundation” instructors and the Honors Seminar instructor. Third, you will be able to seek Honors counseling, problem-solving help, and letters of recommendation from the Honors Coordinator. Fourth, our Honors Counselor, Eileen O’Brien will be able to provide you with priority counseling appointments, special help with Student Education Plans (SEPs), and help with identifying Honors-friendly transfer institutions. And fifth, Carol Ullrich will be able to help you with any administrative questions or needs you have as you participate in the Project.

We will also have a beautifully furnished lounge and meeting room in the College Center, just for Honors students to use for study sessions (opening in Spring 2013).

What happens if I start and am not able to finish? Can I restart?
You are expected to re-enroll in Honors each semester. If you don’t you will lose your priority registration for the following semester but you will remain part of the community. No new application is required. Also, your HOPs do not expire, and you may continue to accrue them as long as you are a CSM student.

Do I receive any special recognition on my transcript?
Your success in Honors each term will be reflected by “Honors” recognition for both your foundation class and the Honors Seminar. If you complete three Honors pairings while remaining in good academic standing and earn your HOPs minimum, you shall be recognized with the ‘Honors Scholar” notation on your transcript.

Where can I find out more information?
Please contact the Honors Co-coordinators David Laderman (15-156) with any additional questions at (650) 574-6302 or Tim Maxwell (10-451), (650) 574-6332.