Honors classes encourage critical thinking

OCCC’s Honors Program gives students the opportunity to grow academically, said Honors Program Coordinator and English Professor Nina Smith.

“In an (honors) class, you would do an extra project that gives you a deeper understand­ing of that course material,” Smith said.

According to the webpage, OCCC’s honors program of­fers the following:

• One-on-one academic interaction with instructors.

• Recognized academic distinction.

• Enhanced scholarship op­portunities.

• Honors stoles worn at com­mencement.

• Earned Hs on a transcript.

• “With Honors” printed on transcript and diploma.

• Tuition Waiver opportuni­ties for qualified applicants.

Smith said earning honors credit is more than gathering facts about a subject — it’s about going through with the next step: critical thinking.

“I think knowledge in itself has value, but we want to el­evate the students’ knowledge, which is hugely revolving around critical thinking,” she said.

Smith said professors who participate in the Honors Pro­gram with their students do it out of generosity.

“They do this and support the program because they love working with students who want to take that step up, who want to be challenged more, who want to go to that next step,” she said. “That’s what the Honors Program can provide … .”

Smith said one benefit of participating in the Honors Program is, it looks good on a résumé and sets students apart from their peers.

However, she said, the primary benefit is the joy of learning — the challenge of learning something new.

Being part of the program is a unique opportunity, Smith said, because of its design.

“It really gives any student who has the qualifications an opportunity,” she said.

Those include a 3.5 accu­mulative GPA and 12 or more completed credit hours, ac­cording to the OCCC Honors Program website.

Freshman who have com­pleted less than 12 credit hours must have an ACT score of at least 22.

Also, students who are in­terested must have at least 30 credit hours left to complete, because it will take about 15 credit hours to use in the Hon­ors Program, Smith said.

[It] doesn’t cost them any extra money.

“It’s a program that’s here for the student,” she said.

Smith said although honor students are not required to take classes only related to their majors, they are advised to take at least some of their honors classes within their field of study.

The application process includes an application form, an essay, and a personal inter­view with the Honors Program coordinator. Ideally, students should apply to the Honors Program before completing 30 credit hours.

Smith said new students can learn more about the Honors Program during student ori­entation, and all students can get information at the website at www.occc.edu/honors.

For more information about the Honors program, contact Smith at 405-682-1611, ext. 7141, or nsmith@occc.edu, or visit www.occc.edu/honors.

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