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FAQs (frequently asked questions)

What is honors?

·       Honors education is a general term that covers a wide variety of courses, teaching styles, and even educational objectives. While an introductory chemistry course may be basically the same everywhere, one Honors course may be very different from another equally distinguished Honors course, even if they have similar titles or subject matter. This is because Honors programs and Honors courses may attempt to fulfill diverse goals, utilize different teaching approaches, and employ a variety of ways of mastering subject matter.

·       Always, however the central goal of Honors education is academic enrichment; the ways to this goal are defined by the specific institutional context, the faculty teaching in the program, and the needs of the particular students. In general, Honors programs are based on the belief that superior students profit from close contact with faculty, small courses, seminars or one-on-one instruction, course work shared with other gifted students, individual research projects, internships, foreign study, and campus or community service.

 Why honors education?  What’s in it for me?

·       The Honors College will help you stay grounded and focused on your goals, particularly encouraging you to aim for graduate studies.  Students with common interests and a love of learning challenge and help each other, and will be challenged and encouraged to exceed their own expectations.

 Do I automatically get a scholarship?

·       No, being a member of the Honors College does not mean a scholarship.  It is true that the university’s Presidential Scholars are automatically members of the Honors College.  Those students who exhibit high academic achievement throughout the university are considered for awards and scholarships presented annually on Awards Day.  These are selected based on the criteria of each scholarship.  We also encourage and assist our students to apply for many scholarships, fellowships, and internships.

 If I “try” the honors colloquium this semester, do I automatically get in the Honors College? 

·       NO!  Admission to the Honors College will be through an application process.  We plan to admit no more than 30 students to the Honors College each year.

 If I don’t like the honors colloquium, do I have to stay?

·         No, you do not have to finish the honors colloquium.  The last day to add or drop a class is announced on the university calendar and Shaw website. 

  When is the honors colloquium?

·         A one-credit honors colloquium is required of all HC students each semester.  The colloquia, depending on level, meet once a week. The class locations are subject to change.  Students must have prerequisites or permission to take these classes.

 I think I have what it takes, but my grades don’t show it.  Can I still be considered for the Honors College?

·         Based upon your application and interview, we will consider students who may not display the specified qualifications, but who believe they can work hard to become scholars and leaders!

What kind of honors do you get at Shaw?

·         Typically, this question refers to “Latin” honors given to those receiving a bachelor’s degree.  Bachelor’s degrees with Latin honors are awarded to undergraduate students only who have earned 50 or more semester hours in residence at Shaw University.  The eligibility is strictly determined by the Registrar’s office, based on the candidate’s final grades.  The following scale is used:

  • 3.75-4.00, summa cum laude;  (with highest distinction, burgundy cord)

  • 3.50-3.74, magna cum laude; and (with great distinction, red cord)

  • 3.25-3.49, cum laude.  (with distinction, gold cord)

  • Graduates are presented with honor cords at the graduation rehearsal each May.

How do I get into the honor societies?

·         There are several honor societies here at Shaw. each has its own criteria and advisor.  Please see the information under “Honor Societies at Shaw” for more information.

What is Awards Day?

·         Each April, Shaw University recognizes students’ academic success with a university-wide Awards Day program. In addition to recognition of academic achievement, select students are presented endowed scholarships by the university based on the donor’s criteria. 

·         Shaw University students are eligible for academic awards if they are enrolled full-time in the fall semester (at least 12 hours), and have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 at the end of the fall semester.  Cumulative GPAs which qualify students for awards and the students’ names as listed in this program and on certificates or awards are officially verified by the Registrar’s office.

  • Gold pins are awarded to students whose cumulative GPA is 3.75 to 4.00.

  • Silver pins are awarded to students whose cumulative GPA is 3.50 to 3.74.

  • Bronze pins are awarded to students whose cumulative GPA is 3.25 to 3.49.

  • Honor pins are awarded to students whose cumulative GPA is 3.00 to 3.24.

  • Deans’ List distinction is awarded to students whose cumulative GPA is 3.00+

  • President’s List distinction is awarded to students whose cumulative GPA is 4.0

  • Academic Achievement Certificates are also awarded to students.