If you have heard about the Honors program at CSU, you might be wondering what it’s actually like. Well, wonder no more: As a student in Honors, I’m happy to answer all of your questions about our tight-knit community.
What are Honors seminars?
Arguably one of the best things about the Honors program is the seminars. You take five of these classes in total: two your freshman year and one each year after that. These are small classes with no more than 18 students in each, featuring topics that range from children’s bedtime stories to understanding the Mafia to dissecting the history of baseball. All of the professors are phenomenal and the classes are reading-and-discussion based, so there’s no rote memorization or tests. As an added bonus, these stand in place of most of your AUCCs (All University Core Credits), which are introductory classes the Colorado colleges would otherwise require you to take.
In your first semester, you will also have a seminar once a week that serves as a ‘How to College’ crash course. It’s another class with less than 20 people and it’s incredibly helpful—especially when you’re first getting settled at CSU.
What are Honors classes?
Honors classes are a little different than Honors seminars. Honors classes are classes that you’ll have to take for your major, like calculus, business, philosophy or biology. Instead of taking the class with everyone at CSU, you can opt to only take it with other Honors students. This means a smaller class size, better communication between you and your professor, and a more-personalized learning experience all around. You aren’t required to take the Honors version of a class, but I definitely recommend that you do.
What is it like to live in Academic Village?
Living in AV is the perfect complement to being an Honors student. You have nicely sized rooms, air conditioning, and an en-suite bathroom that you share with your roommate. But living in AV also means that you are a part of an incredible community of people that you share similar interests with. Open-door policy is a common practice in the dorms. I met most of my friends by wandering into my hallmates’ rooms and getting to know them.
Academic Village is just a few steps away from the Ram’s Horn Dining Center, which is extra nice in the winter. The food there is just as good as the location, with popular spots like the Mongolian Grill and breakfast burrito station in the main dining center. Right outside is Ram’s Horn Express, which has great coffee and even better muffins (my personal favorite is pumpkin chocolate chip).
One of the most-convenient things about Academic Village is that your Honors seminars are in the same building as your dorm room. During my freshman year, both my Honors seminars were in the morning and only two flights of stairs away, so there was many a day when I would show up to class in pajamas with a bowl of cereal. And I certainly wasn’t the only one.
Is it all just studying?
This is one of the questions that I get asked the most, and I understand why. There’s a connotation attached to the Honors program that we’re all super-studious individuals. And while I do care about my grades, I have other things that I’m passionate about as well. My friends and I would use the projectors in the classrooms to have movie nights or play board games. We would stay up late at night just talking. We learned to rock climb at the Rec Center and became really good at it. We played volleyball and we never improved. While we Honors students do study and take our classes seriously, it’s not the definition of our existence. If you have hobbies or interests other than academics, don’t worry—you won’t be the odd one out.
Allie Benz is a former CSU Ram who graduated in Spring 2020 with a B.S. in Psychology and a concentration in Mind, Brain, and Behavior. She was an Honors student and involved in several student orgs. She loves her dog and settling in for a marathon of Queer Eye. Allie is currently continuing her education with a master’s program.