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COC honors courses offer students a competitive edge

Posted: May 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 11, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Increasing numbers of students with impressive GPAs are being turned away from four-year colleges and universities, as entrance standards now include criteria once optional. Today’s high school seniors and community-college-transfer students must demonstrate much more than academic prowess.

College of the Canyons Honors Program provides students from all disciplines with a competitive edge when seeking admittance into four-year colleges and universities.

As college-entrance requirements become more stringent, and as admission numbers dwindle, it is imperative for students to maximize their chances of acceptance.

“I cannot think of another time in my academic career,” said Dr. Patty Robinson, dean of social sciences and business division. “When a program has provided such an important addition to the transfer process.”

Fulfilling the requirements of COC Honors demonstrates the scholarly motivation and dedication of students to their desired transfer institutions.

Dr. Majid Mosleh, political-science professor said, “Honors students are very focused on their study program and know where they’re heading and why.” In addition, students who wish to transfer to UCLA with majors housed in the college of letters and science are eligible to receive the Transfer Alliance Program, or TAP, certification.

Students who qualify for TAP receive “priority admission consideration,” and are also able to state an alternative major within the college of letters and science. Additional transfer opportunities are also available to other campuses provided through the Honors Transfer Council of California, or HTCC.

Besides the academic advantage, COC Honors stresses the camaraderie and achievements of academically motivated students.

As professor Victoria Leonard of communication studies said, “Teaching honors courses has provided my students the opportunity to reach a higher level of both public speaking and critical thinking than they would in a traditional class.”

Honors students enjoy opportunities to participate in academic-enrichment activities, including guest lectures, performances and field trips, especially through the honors club and honor societies of Alpha Gamma Sigma and Phi Theta Kappa. 

According to one student, “My Phi Theta Kappa membership has given me the opportunity to commit to the responsibilities of scholarship, leadership, service and fellowship.”

COC Honors Program requirements include completing 15 units of Honors coursework with a “B” or better and maintaining a 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA by their semester of graduation.

The current honors program at COC had its inception more than 20 years ago through the High Intensity Transfer Enrichment student club.

The program was created by Dr. Bradley Reynolds of the history department, and was based on student projects.

Two years ago, the COC Honors Steering Committee, which consists of students, faculty and administrators, was formed and began to transition the program from a club to an academic program, as well as create honors courses.

In only two short years, the steering committee has helped to create almost 17 new honors courses — each emphasizes greater reading, writing, critical thinking, and research skills.

Currently, COC Honors Program is looking forward to hosting its annual honors banquet next month, and then to planning its Student Leadership Summit this fall.

For more information about the COC Honors Program, please visit the COC Honors homepage at www.canyons.edu/Offices/Honors, or contact Dr. Patty Robinson at patty.robinson@canyons.edu.
Maral Sakayan is a student at Canyon High School.

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