Regardless of their chosen fields of study, all students who attend SJC are required to complete a series of introductory-level courses across a variety of disciplines. This is known as our "Core Curriculum." The Honors Program places higher-achieving students together on the same track throughout the portion of their "Inner Core" courses. These courses comprise 24 credits and consist of Western Civilization I and II (freshman year), Introduction to the Judeo-Christian Tradition (sophomore year), Human Nature and Ethics (sophomore year), Ecology and the Environmental Challenge (junior year), and the Capstone Seminar (senior year).
Honors courses allow faculty to present their information in more depth and breadth than is typically possible in the regular sections of their courses. Furthermore, the smaller class sizes enhance discussion, promote individualized instruction, and facilitate more mobility for field research and class trips.
That's a popular stereotype, but our experience demonstrates otherwise. One recent class, for instance, consists of members who earned their high school varsity letters in baseball, basketball, cross-country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, skiing, softball, soccer, swimming, tennis, track, and volleyball. They have been actively involved in theatre, music, student government, service groups, and international clubs. Several of them are members of their church youth groups or parish councils. One is a black-belt in karate, one an Eagle Scout, one a member of the Jr. Rescue First Response squad, and one a newspaper correspondent. One served as a translator in Nicaragua for a medical missionary team, and another has hiked over 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Although the students in this class collectively achieved a high school GPA of 3.8, and an average SAT score of 1200, they are simply too well-rounded to be thought of as "eggheads!"
The Honors Program offers participants a variety of unique opportunities both in and out of the classroom. In addition to the academic benefits noted above, the Honors Program offers access to a variety of cultural events, including concerts, plays, and special museum exhibits in the Greater Portland area. Honors students also have the opportunity to venture a little further from campus to participate in overnight trips to places like Harvard University and Quebec City.
The Honors Program even sponsors social and recreational activities, which offer participants fun, well-deserved, and memorable breaks from their collegiate responsibilities. In the end, of course, Honors students are duly recognized for their efforts. Honors graduates are awarded distinctive emblems which signify their accomplishments at graduation. Additionally, the Honors distinction will appear on their transcripts and their diplomas.
In consultation with the Directors of the Honors Program, the Admissions Office will consider all students applying to Saint Joseph's College for admission into the Honors Program. In order to ensure the smaller class sizes necessary for the type of instruction we offer, space is limited. The minimum requirements for invitation into the Honors Program will vary somewhat from year to year, depending on the overall profile of our incoming class. Typically, however, applicants with high school GPA's of 3.6 or better and minimum SAT scores of 1160 will receive an invitation to join the Honors Program. These invitations are usually mailed out each year around April 1.
Yes. In addition to invitation, it is also possible to be admitted into the Honors Program by special appeal. Appeals should be addressed (in writing) to the Directors of the Honors Program, and are typically made after a student has completed at least one semester of course work at SJC. The Honors committee will consider each appeal on an individual basis, placing particular emphasis on the student's college-level performance and faculty recommendations.
The Honors Program is compatible with every major, with the exception of some of the pre-professional programs. Concentrations such as pre-pharmacy, pre-optometry, and pre-engineering involve contractual arrangements with other colleges, so that students who begin their studies at Saint Joseph's finish elsewhere. Because these requirements preclude students from finishing their four year sequence of Honors courses at Saint Joe's, students who enroll in these programs will not be considered for the Honors Program.
Simply put, no. We recognize that, in addition to their strong academic credentials, most Honors students also tend to be heavily involved in a wide variety of extracurricular activities. It is not the intention of the Honors Program to additionally burden (and therefore penalize) our students simply because of their academic strengths. Therefore, Honors courses are differentiated from regular courses primarily by the type -rather than the quantity -of work required.
Honors students will be expected to maintain certain minimum standards to remain in the Honors Program. However, because the various disciplines vary somewhat with regard to curricular demands, external assessments, and departmental expectations, GPAs can fluctuate according to one's chosen field of study. To be fair, expectations for Honors students apply only to their performance in their Honors courses. All Honors students are expected to earn a final grade of at least a B- in their Honors courses.
If a student earns less than a B- in any of their Honors courses, they will be placed "on probation" (and officially notified of their status). If a student commits a second infraction of this standard, they will automatically forfeit their place in the Honors Program. Their subsequent readmission would then require a special appeal to the Directors.
In the past, certain merit-based scholarships were contingent upon participation in the Honors Program. However, this is no longer the case. While many of our Honors students do receive merit-based scholarships, these scholarships are not directly associated with the Honors Program. Therefore, students may be added to, or removed from, the Honors Program regardless of their financial aid packages.
If there's at least a good possibility that a student will enroll at Saint Joseph's, that student is encouraged to reserve their place in the Honors Program as soon as possible, since fewer spaces remain available as the admissions process progresses. Consenting to the program does not necessarily "lock" a student into attending Saint Joseph's. However, it may occupy a position that could otherwise be offered to someone else.
Incoming freshmen can direct their questions to Nik Ray (207-893-7670 or firstname.lastname@example.org) or Blake Edwards (207-893-7674 or email@example.com) in the Office of Admission. Additional inquiries can be addressed to Dr. Chris Callaway (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Dr. Katrina Hoop (email@example.com), Co-Directors of the Honors Program.