Wilkes Honors Program

Prospective Students

Is the Honors Program open to all majors?
Yes! Honors cultivates an interdisciplinary community, joining students from a variety of backgrounds with a diversity of interests.

Why should I apply to the Honors Program?
Honors at Wilkes provides students with resources and opportunities that enhance their intellectual, personal and professional development; their participation in the Wilkes campus community; and their preparation for post-graduation success. These include:

  • enriched academic work; grant funding to support co-curricular experiences such as study abroad and internships;
  • Honors housing for first-year residential Honors students;
  • a community that builds student networks across a variety of backgrounds and interests;
  • preferential course selection;
  • no additional cost for course overload;
  • Farley Library book borrowing privileges for 90 days with one 90-day renewal period;
  • social events such as field trips and introductions to notable campus speakers;
  • a special notation on the transcript.

Is it hard? Will I be doing more work than other students?
We think of the program less in terms of “more” or “harder” work and more in terms of experiences tailored to the interests and abilities of highly motivated, intellectually curious students. Wilkes Honors students are academically able, self-directed and self-motivated, ambitious in welcoming challenges, curious, enjoy learning about the world around them, and open to encountering the unfamiliar, with all of its risks and rewards. The Honors community provides students with the resources and opportunities to develop these aptitudes more fully. While pursuing challenges, indulging your curiosity, and exploring the unfamiliar can involve more commitment, these efforts also yield significant rewards in terms of personal, intellectual and professional development. Certainly, students with a variety of substantial additional commitments—such as ROTC, athletics, creative performance, etc.—participate fully in Honors.

What are Honors students required to do?
We’ve posted information about requirements and expectations for current students here. Although some do so in fewer terms, Honors students have a maximum of eight semesters in which to complete these requirements.

How can I apply?
Upon acceptance to Wilkes University, students with distinctive academic, leadership and community service records are invited to apply to the Honors Program. At a minimum, students should be within the top 20% of their high school class with an SAT score of at least 1190 or an ACT score of at least 26. For optimum consideration, high school seniors should apply to the Honors Program by Jan. 15. Applications are due by no later than April 15. Decisions are communicated on a rolling basis through the end of April. More information about the application process.

May I apply to the Honors Program as a transfer student from another college or university?
Students transferring to Wilkes University are invited to the Honors Program if they meet the minimum criteria of a 3.5 cumulative collegiate grade-point average with an SAT score of at least 1190 or an ACT score of at least 26. They also must still have at least six remaining undergraduate semesters at Wilkes to ensure they have enough time to complete all Honors Program requirements. More information about the application process.

What is the Honors Program admissions committee looking for when it reviews applications?
The most important thing—with college generally, as well as with Honors—is finding a good match between the student and the school or program. When reviewing applications, Honors admissions committee members look for evidence of students’ academic achievement, independent motivation, curiosity about the world, and openness to what is new or unfamiliar. These are the aptitudes that the program is designed to more fully develop, and these are the qualities that prove common within an Honors community that includes students who are otherwise very different from one another in terms of majors, interests, backgrounds, aspirations, etc.

How many applicants are accepted each year?
There are approximately 200 students in the Honors Program, with approximately 50 students in each class (first-year, sophomore, junior and senior).

I missed the April 15 deadline for applying to the Honors Program. May I still apply?
Current Wilkes students who meet the minimum criteria of a 3.5 cumulative collegiate grade-point average and who still have at least six remaining undergraduate semesters at Wilkes (to ensure they have enough time to complete all Honors Program requirements) can become eligible for the program. Click here for more information about the application process.

May I change my mind about being in the Honors Program, as an applicant or as a current student?
Students are able to withdraw from the Honors Program at any time should they choose to pursue other priorities. While we will be sad to see anyone go, no one goes far, since Wilkes cultivates a close campus community.

What will my first year in Honors look like?
Even before your first year, all incoming Honors students are matched with a Peer Mentor, a current Wilkes Honors student who can share insights about Wilkes Honors from a personal perspective. All incoming residential Honors students live together in Honors housing for their first year on campus. This helps to create connections among students with varying majors, activities, interests, backgrounds, aspirations, etc. Additionally, all incoming Honors students—whether residential or commuter—take an Honors section of the First-Year Foundations course together. FYF 101 is a course that all Wilkes undergraduates take in their first semester on campus, introducing them to the fundamental principles and values of college work in general and life at Wilkes in particular. The Honors sections focus on a special creative-writing based class that develops collaborative community while cultivating skills in writing, speaking, problem-solving, and critical thinking as well as a comfort with encountering the ambiguous, uncertain, and/or unfamiliar.

Can I visit Honors classes and meet Honors students?
Yes! Please contact honors@wilkes.edu to learn more.

Can I study abroad as an Honors student?
Yes! You can learn more study abroad page and the honors program opportunities page.

Is there a space dedicated for Honors students to study?
Yes! Stark Learning Center rooms 120-122 include a study space.

Whom can I contact with questions?
Please feel free to reach out to our staff, Honors Program Advisory Council, Honors Program Student Committee, and our peer mentors at honors@wilkes.edu.

Current Students

What are my requirements as an Honors Student?
We’ve posted information about requirements and expectations for current students on our program page. Although some do so in fewer terms, Honors students have a maximum of eight semesters in which to complete these requirements.

How do I earn Honors credit?
We’ve posted information about Honors credits.

What’s the difference between an Honors course and an &H course?
An &H section is added to an existing course in which both Honors and non-Honors students are enrolled to signal that the Honors students have the opportunity to earn Honors course credit. To earn this credit, Honors students must be enrolled specifically in the &H section and they must satisfactorily complete work complementary to the existing syllabus. An Honors student is allowed only one grade of 2.5 in an Honors course to receive Honors credit. All other Honors course grades must be a minimum of 3.0.

An H section signals that all students enrolled in the course complete work that would yield Honors credit for that course. Non-Honors students could enroll in such a course with instructor permission, but while they would need to complete all of the same work as the Honors students, they would receive only non-Honors credit. An Honors student is allowed only one grade of 2.5 in an Honors course to receive Honors credit. All other Honors course grades must be a minimum of 3.0.

How do I find Honors/&H courses?
We’ve posted the Honors Program Course Guides. &H and H sections can also be found through the registrar’s course listings.

I’m not taking an Honors course this semester. Is that a problem?
Not at all! As long as a student makes progress toward completing all requirements, there is no need to take an Honors course every semester.

How do I use my Honors Enhancement Grant?
We’ve posted more information on Student Resources and Opportunities.

What happens if I sign up for a field trip, but now I can’t go?
It is completely understandable if exigent circumstances emerge at the last minute and prevent a student from attending an activity. Life events such as illness or family emergency cannot be predicted, so timely notification of the inability to participate in a commitment for these kinds of reasons will be accommodated. However, if a student claims a spot on a funded activity with limited seats—meaning that participation has been paid for, and also that someone else is not able to participate—and without reason or notification fails to appear, then that funding amount will be subtracted from the student’s available enhancement grant. For both funded and free activities, unexplained absence will result in the subtraction of a participation point.

What happens if my grade-point average is too low?
Should any student fall below the minimum required, the director will reach out with a reminder that any academic work completed over the summer, the fall term, and the winter intersession will contribute to the cumulative GPA. Following this probationary period, should that cumulative GPA by January reach the required minimum, the student will remain within the Honors Program. However, should the cumulative GPA by January remain below the required minimum, the student will become ineligible to continue in the program and will be withdrawn.

If I am removed from the program can I reapply to join again?
No. After the probationary period—which lasts from the beginning of summer through the following January—if a student remains below the minimum cumulative GPA requirement, the withdrawal from the program is final. This ensures that students redirect their energy toward the future, rather than focus on remediating past concerns, since the GPA requirement becomes higher each year, posing the potential risk of students feeling continually in the process of making up for a shortcoming rather than making progress toward new accomplishments.

Whom can I contact with questions?
Please feel free to reach out to our staff, our Honors Program Advisory Council, our Honors Program Student Committee, and our peer mentors at honors@wilkes.edu.

Faculty/Campus Colleagues

What’s the difference between an Honors course and an &H course?
An &H section is added to an existing course in which both Honors and non-Honors students are enrolled to signal that the Honors students have the opportunity to earn Honors course credit. To earn this credit, Honors students must be enrolled specifically in the &H section and they must satisfactorily complete work complementary to the existing syllabus. An Honors student is allowed only one grade of 2.5 in an Honors course to receive Honors credit. All other Honors course grades must be a minimum of 3.0. An H section signals that all students enrolled in the course complete work that would yield Honors credit for that course. Non-Honors students could enroll in such a course with instructor permission, but while they would need to complete all of the same work as the Honors students, they would receive only non-Honors credit. An Honors student is allowed only one grade of 2.5 in an Honors course to receive Honors credit. All other Honors course grades must be a minimum of 3.0.

What should I do if I am interested in teaching an Honors/&H course?
We value this possibility for our Honors students! We’ve posted the course proposal form and more information about the course proposal process.

Can I participate in or contribute to the program beyond teaching courses?
We value your interest in participating in our community! Formally, faculty can serve on the Honors Program Advisory Council following election to that body. Informally, we welcome everything from casual appearances at our social events to speaking at one of our Pizza Plus gatherings. One way to keep in touch is by following us on social media and joining our Honors Buzz weekly newsletter emailing list. I think a current Wilkes student could be a good fit for the Honors Program.

Can that student apply to the program?
Current Wilkes students who meet the minimum criteria of a 3.5 cumulative collegiate grade-point average and who still have at least six remaining undergraduate semesters at Wilkes (to ensure they have enough time to complete all Honors Program requirements) can become eligible for the program. More information about the application process.

Whom can I contact with questions?
Please feel free to reach out to our staff, our Honors Program Advisory Council, our Honors Program Student Committee, and our peer mentors at honors@wilkes.edu.

Alumni

Can I still be a part of the program?
Yes! Formally, alums can serve on the Honors Program Alum Group (HPAG). Informally, we welcome everything from casual appearances at our social events to speaking at one of our Pizza Plus gatherings. You can keep in touch by following us on social media and joining our Honors Buzz weekly newsletter emailing list.

Whom can I contact with questions?
Please feel free to reach out to our staff, our Honors Program Advisory Council, our Honors Program Student Committee, and our peer mentors at honors@wilkes.edu.

Contact

Jen McLaughlin

jennifer.mclaughlin1@wilkes.edu

570-408-7831