Honors Program Challenges Students

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Honors Program Challenges Students

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Students who attend West Texas A&M University strive for a higher education that prepares them for the professional world. They go to WT to get an exceptional college experience from a school that, according to the Princeton Review, is considered to be one of the best in the west. There are those who strive for more. They are the ones that join the Attebury Honors Program at WT.


The Honors Program, according to the WTAMU website, was founded in 2001 and has grown to include more than 170 students, 50 faculty, 20 courses and its own residence hall, that being Conner Hall. An Honors space housing a smart classroom, offices and lounge space opened in 2008. The Honors Program was renamed the William H. and Joyce Attebury Honors Program in 2007 in recognition of the Atteburys’ continued support of the program. Many honors students are also in Gamma Beta Phi, which is a campus-wide and nationwide honor society.


Eligibility for the program requires exceptional grades in general and exceptional standardized test scores. According to Dr. Pam Lockwood, the faculty adviser for the Honors Program and Gamma Beta Phi, students must have a minimum SAT score of 1200 or a minimum ACT score of 26 to be considered for the program. Current WTAMU students must have at least four long semesters remaining in their degree program, along with a WT GPA of 3.5 or greater. Transfer students must also have at least four long semesters remaining in their degree program and a transfer GPA of 3.5 or greater.


Students then go through an application process before selection.


“Qualified students are then selected based on their application which asks them to respond to the following,” Lockwood said. “One: What activities in the last two years have been most meaningful to you and why? and two: Tell us about your goals, personally and academically. How may participation in the Attebury Honors Program enhance your ability to achieve these goals?”


When students are accepted into the program, they must take between seven and nine hours of Honors Core courses and must have six hours of Honors Seminars.


“Honors Seminars are ‘out of the box’ educational experiences taught by the university’s top faculty in a variety of disciplines. Dr. Elizabeth Clark in the Department of History is currently teaching a seminar on the Harry Potter book series,” Lockwood said.


Other examples of the seminar are ones similar to one Dr. Chuck Chase offered last fall, in which he taught a survival course, or the one that Dr. Bonnie Roos will be offering this spring over the literature and culture of Ireland. That seminar will then travel to Ireland in May, completing the experience.


“The honors program at WT provides great opportunities for travel and personal enrichment,” Katie Miller, freshman honors student and Psychology major, said. “It opens many doors for success and allows students an environment in which they can flourish.”


Other students find the program challenging, but extremely beneficial to their overall experience.


“The Honors Program had its tough spots, but overall it has been a benefit to me in preparation to what is to come in future classes,” Esdras Rodriguez, freshman Biology major, said. “Plus, being able to register early for classes is great.”


Lockwood also added that in order to complete the Honors experience, all honors students must complete a Senior Capstone, which involves an internship, undergraduate research or creative work in their senior year.


“All students are required to present their research in an appropriate venue, being a research conference, presentation, show or recital,” Lockwood said.


The honors program does not have its own scholarship program, Lockwood said. However, many honors students are supported by the university through the General Scholarship fund, departmental scholarships in their discipline or the Presidential Honors Scholarships. Presidential Honors Scholarships usually have donors that present the scholarship and exemplify WT, demonstrating excellence in academics, leadership, service and strength of mind.